People placed along the way
Friday February 02nd 2007, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Knit

Stitches West, the Disneyland of knitters, is coming up in a few weeks. This morning I was remembering the Stitches of two years ago, when I arrived at the Santa Clara Convention Center and was unloading my motorized wheelchair from my minivan. I don’t use it often, but for long days out and about, it’s essential. Unfortunately, the sticker on my ramp had been placed on the wrong side, and I set it up according to that rather than by simply seeing how the ramp was supposed to be, the way my hubby always did. So the hinge was upside down.

Which means I had 250 lbs collapse on my foot.

I had waited a year for Stitches and I was going to Stitches!!!

And then the supposedly newly-charged-up battery was about gone. Great. Now that I REALLY needed that chair. I had just enough juice to get it back up into my car with the help of a random passerby to whom I will always be grateful.

The end result is that the teenage son of a friend pushed me around for several hours in a manual belonging to the center–one very decent kid there, go, Sam–and then I drove home carefully with my left foot, got met at the door by my husband, and got hauled off to the Urgent Care Clinic for X-rays.

It was a fairly quiet day at the UCC, or else maybe the technician just made it seem so for me; he took all the time in the world to get that foot just so as comfortably as possible. He asked how I had done this, and was intrigued at the knitting I had with me and the idea of Stitches: all that creativity gathering together! He told me a little about his wife and four stepchildren, and his face just glowed as he described them. He was as gentle a soul as you could ask for at a time like that. It helped.

My sweet husband, as soon as we were done there, hauled off to the store where that chair could be repaired before their closing time so that I could go back to Stitches the next day and go see my friends.

Last summer, at the time the first round of my manuscript and my projects were due into the publishers, I caught pneumonia. I collapsed on the floor at the FedEx place with a raging fever, (my son drove, not me) but by golly, I got that thing off. I had misplaced a ball band or two on a project, but oh well. I did it. I did it!

A few days later, my hubby hauled me off to Urgent Care again. My fever was 103.2, and I couldn’t keep fluids down. They stuck an IV in me, sure that a little hydration would bring that fever right around. It shot upwards instead. I was sick enough to be feeling, please, someone, remind me why I wanted to live? Please? And I meant it.

It was a long wait lying in the clinic’s bed for the doctor on a very busy day; someone in the waiting room with a broken bone suddenly dropped with a heart attack, and–yeah. (He turned out okay, apparently. Right place to be.) Finally, they ordered me over to X-ray.

Imagine gray hair skewed all over the place as if I’d stuck it in the blender, a dishevelled hospital gown, a mask covering a lot of my face, and a very different appearance from that day with the foot. I was groaning, They want me to walk!?

But then I saw my old technician in the hallway. I exclaimed, “You’re the one that X-rayed my foot when I dropped my wheelchair on it!”

He smiled back, “Did you have a face then?”

Oh. Oops. I whipped the mask down to my neck a moment, and we both laughed a bit in recognition.

The power of laughter is intense. The power of a good person placed at just the right place at the right time is immeasurable. I do not remember that man’s name; I remember that he loved his family.

Enough to include me in his warmth. And that made all the difference. Again.

I promise to put the ramp right-side up this time.

8 Comments so far
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I wish very much that I could be there with you. 🙁 Next year? I’ll try for it.

Comment by Kristine 02.02.07 @ 6:13 pm

Hi –

I’m just a lurker who enjoys reading your blog.
I just finished your post about the wonderful x-ray tech. Even though you don’t know his name, writing a letter to the medical facility with information regarding the dates, times, descriptions and especially the great experience you had with this tech would be a really generous thing to do. They’ll be able to trace who did your x-rays. Often hospital workers do not get the recognition that they deserve – sometimes a bit of deserved recognition can even come with a small amount of monetary compensation, not to mention a record of the achievement in his personnel file. A letter takes all of 10 minutes – the gratification for both of you will last a lifetime. Take care.

Comment by patrice 02.02.07 @ 9:33 pm

I have never been to a Stitches. I imagine them like Sci Fi cons except with yarn. I imagine that fiber fests are like Ren Faires except with yarn and sheep… Lol, yes I have to put everything into “Geek” perspective. ONE day we will be able to travel more than once or twice a year, and I will get to see the “Yarn Faires”
P.S my word varification is “dogly” INTERESING

Comment by Teresa 02.02.07 @ 9:34 pm

I’ve been thinking since I posted that that I ought to print out a copy and send it to the clinic. You’re right, Patrice, and thank you for the nudge in that direction.

Kristine, if I had my way–and who knows, maybe!–I’d be at Stitches East signing books come September, and visiting my hometown of Bethesda on the side; can you make it to Baltimore? Or you could always move back here again (I wish!)

Teresa, you should have heard me guffawing at your last word there! Stitches West is absolutely huge. Before they wised up and set up an online pre-registration for the market, I was in a 90-minute-long line just to pay the door fee to get in. Stainless steel/wool blend yarn? Who thinks of these things? There’s everything yarnly there you could possibly imagine. The best, though, for me, is getting to see so many old friends. I’m easy to spot; y’all come say hi. (And be patient with me while my brain scrambles to put emails to faces and names.) If you ever get to go, don’t miss Lisa Souza’s booth ( for those who can’t go): the most gorgeous yarns you could ask for. Speaking of which: she got a call from a woman in NYC a few days ago asking about her Wild Things colorway. Lisa told her the name was inspired by how the colors matched Maurice Sendak’s book. The woman then told her she was Sendak’s editor, and wanted to knit him a scarf! How cool is that!

Comment by AlisonH 02.02.07 @ 11:57 pm

Damn those are two intense stories My Dear….No repeat this year ay? We want you there, healthy and strong and glowing…as you do!
However, I agree that life has a way of sending us Angels in the midst of any storm…I see them, as you do and always with gratitude.

Comment by Sheila E 02.03.07 @ 10:31 am

Oh, glow I will, Sheila, I love going to Stitches and getting to see all the people I only ever get to see there! It’s one giant happy reunion party all day Friday and Saturday. Angels of our lives all around. I can’t wait.

Comment by AlisonH 02.03.07 @ 5:33 pm

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