Artist’s Lane: When the wake-up call comes


    By Betty Slade
    PREVIEW Columnist

    You never know when you might receive a wake-up call. It can come from a family member, an acquaintance or a passer-by. Whether it be frank or subtle, quiet or loud, one thing is for certain — the call always comes. 

    I woke up one Saturday morning to a beautiful spring dawn. Coffee in hand, I headed up to my computer to check in with the world. An unexpected Web search made me sit up in my chair. Some of my weekly writings had been picked up by two other newspapers. 

    Not long in to the day and I had already been in contact with a handful of high-caliber writers. To my delight, all had committed and was scheduled to speak at upcoming writers’ meetings. 

    As noon turned to evening, I headed back up to my loft office. Certainly, nothing could trip up my incredible day. But, as I turned to head across the room, my foot got caught in a power cord and down I went. 

    I hit my knee so hard that I saw stars. I was yet to discover just how ill-prepared I was for this unexpected moment. 

    I called one of my daughters and sons-in-law. “I can’t walk, I can’t move and I’m not sure what to do. My knee is as hard as a rock, turning black and blue, and growing to the size of a basketball.”

    My Sweet Al ran to the bedroom to retrieve one of his canes. If there had been a hidden camera, you would swear you were watching a comedy show. 

    “I’ll pull you while you jump up on one leg.”

    “Al, I haven’t jumped up on one leg since I was at a sock hop.”

    “Betty, this is a wake-up call.”

    About that time, my daughter came into the house. Her first comment, “You’re going to be a head without a body if you don’t get away from your computer.”

    “I’ve got a lot of business on my computer. I have deadlines. I have a book series to finish.”

    If my son were there, he would have said, “It’s not the writing that is the issue, it’s all the junk in your office. 

    Anyone with a home office knows “junk” gives comfort and inspiration. Then again, from the carpet point of view, I wasn’t comfortable nor feeling inspired. 

    I spent the rest of the evening in the emergency room as the on-call doctor had concerns of internal bleeding. An attentive hospital staff took X-rays and performed scans. The end results? I received a bill, a pain-killing prescription and was told to stay off my feet. 

    Back at home and pill fed, I was ready to be pampered and consoled. But, that would not be my reality. You would have thought Nurse Ratchet, not Mother Theresa, had been at my bedside. 

    “Why this?” “How come that?” One by one, each of my children took turns reprimanding me. 

    What I chose to hear was my Sweet Al’s voice, “This is a wake-up call.”

    Final brushstroke: Wake-up calls come when we least expect them, and are not always pleasant. Even still, and whether desired or not, the opinions of others can be less than thoughtful when all you want to hear is pity and fluff. Whether or not I like where I found myself, there was one important question that I had to ask: Have I become so involved in my own world that I failed to notice the hazards that lay at my feet?