Opinion: A sober memory of ‘The Fall’


Commentary by Danielle Wilson

As I wrapped up an emotional breakdown in a rather untoward McDonald’s bathroom stall off I-65 over the weekend, I reminded myself that even the strongest of women have to “let it out” from time to time. Doo thought it was hilarious, but given the night I’d had, I’m surprised I’d held it together for as long as I did.

The short of it is that my dad took a tumble and sustained a C-2 fracture, which, for those of you not up on your anatomical vocab, means quite literally that he broke his neck. Dad’s fine – he’s sporting a brace and a few stitches – but the hospital ordeal was extraordinarily stressful, in addition to occurring at a most inconvenient time, the middle of the night.

I’d have much rather been sleeping, but since I was in town, close by, and sober when it happened, I became an unwilling participant in what is now being called “The Fall.” I mention my sobriety only because several of my sisters were also “available” to handle the crisis, but only one didn’t have to Uber home from the bars when the SOS text went out.

So basically it was me, my mom, and one coherent sibling dealing with blood, dad’s protests, ER paperwork, and the inebriated baby of the family who not only insisted upon tagging along, but was also adamant about concocting an over-the-top story that would ensure dad’s immediate triage.

Emotionally weaker people might have lost their shtick at any point during the night, but I managed to stay calm and collected throughout, even when dad was categorized as a level-3 trauma and had to be ambulanced to a different hospital, one with a metal-detector entrance and homeless men sheltering in the waiting room.

Mom and sober sister kept their cool until dad was home, when a shared hug undid them both. Me? I got half way back to Indy before the smell of fried potato goodness and the enormity of what “might have been” hit. At least I had a relatively clean toilet to cry on. Thanks McDonald’s! Peace out.

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