In an Instant, an essay by Dianne Moritz at
Rani George

In an Instant

In an Instant

written by: Dianne Moritz


On a Thursday morning in March, 2020, I slipped and went flying headfirst down the stairs of my apartment. Thus began my life of a series of unfortunate events.

I hobbled to the telephone, dialed 911, and was rushed to Southampton Hospital’s E.R. to get checked out head to toe. X-rays showed two fractures in my left tibia and ankle, plus a shattered left foot. Nearly twelve hours later I was sent to a room upstairs.

By the following Monday Covid-19 was raging and most doctors were dressed in full hazmat suits. Surgery was declared too risky, so I was bundled up and shipped off to Westhampton Care Center “to heal on my own.” By then, I was certain I would die there.

I spent the next ninety days in the rehab center, getting 20 minutes of occupational and physical therapy per day. I was to reside there until I was able to walk unassisted. Nonetheless, I was released using a walker and addicted to Oxycontin on July 1st. My sister drove down from Albany to take me home.

During the ensuing days I was able to acquire one Oxy refill from my primary doctor, but only. Then it was “cold turkey” and constant pain.

My sister returned to Albany after a few days. More troubles were on the horizon.

Once at home, I was supposed to get home health aid for six weeks or more, but the folks assigned to my case were extremely ineffective. I cut my finger one morning and asked the visiting nurse for a band-aid. She didn’t have any in her bag! I was so shocked I told her to leave. Then came the rehab woman. After informing her that I had no intention of ever sleeping upstairs again, she still insisted that I practice walking up and down the stairs. That same afternoon, I called the organization and fired both women.

Yet the worst was yet to come…..

Out of the blue, I got a phone call from a social worker, a complete stranger. “How are you?” she asked. I responded, “Not good. Sometimes I wonder what the point is.”

“Oh, no!” she screamed. “I’m dialing 911. You’re suicidal!”

“Please, don’t do that,” I urged. Minutes later 5 police officers knocked at my door.

“Come with us,” they demanded. “We’re here to escort you to the psych ward up in Stony Brook Hospital.”
“I am not suicidal,” I shouted. “That woman who called you is a complete stranger. I’ve never even met her. I just said something stupid. I’m not suicidal. I have a children’s book coming out soon. I write every day. I’m not going with you.”

“If you don’t come quietly, we will bodily force you,” the lead officer said.

After several minutes of repeating myself I believe they were convinced I was fine. Then the phone rang. It was my therapist. She refused to get involved.

“That was my real therapist. She knows me,” I said.

The cops were finally heading out the door when the phone rang again. The stranger again! Calling to check up on me!

“The police are just leaving,” I said.

She demanded to speak to one of them. Don’t ask me why I handed over the telephone.

Minutes later, I was hauled to the police car, driven to Stony Brook hospital, a forty-five minute drive from the comfort of my home, and ushered into a cold, noisy room full of cop killers and other scary psychos. Guards confiscated my personal belongings so I was left without books or magazines, forced to sit among the crazies with nothing to do.

While the police had repeatedly assured me I would be home that night, I was stuck there for two nights, evaluated by interns, who then recommended a prolonged stint in Greenport’s psychiatric hospital out on Long Island’s North Fork.

Luckily, the head staff nurse came into my room for a long chat. I told her the entire, horrible story as she listened intently.

“Obviously you don’t belong here. I will see that you are discharged ASAP.”

I am forever grateful for this wonderful, caring woman. Not only did she “see” the real me, an accomplished older woman, but that she took time and effort to free me from this awful situation.

And I learned a very important lesson that day. Be careful of what you say to strangers. One stupid comment can impact life in an instant.

I was sent reeling, but that was then, this is now.

While I was in rehab, I sold my fifth picture book. GOING ON A GHOST HUNT was published in July, 2022. It garnered good reviews and kids love it.

Sometime later I responded to a call from Chicken Soup for the Soul books, wrote, and submitted an essay for their consideration. It will be included in their upcoming compilation entitled “Just Say Yes” coming out mid-July.

Bad things happen to good people. Yet, most of us persevere and continue to work, doing the things we love most.

Time is precious. Value each moment.

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