In late August of 2004 the son of our landlord called me and said, “I must move out of my rented apartment in four weeks,” he said. “I want to move into yours. So you must move out before the two weeks are up!”
As always, it is a shock when we have to move, but that’s part of being a renter. We prayed for God’s guidance in finding a new place.
The Turks have a saying, “Look for good neighbors, not a good apartment.” Ending up with bad neighbors can make life miserable, as one of our teammates had discovered recently. He and his family had moved into an apartment above an old woman and her son, both eccentrics. They would often bang on the radiators if they thought someone was making too much noise and would call the police to come and “straighten out” any neighbor who bothered them in some way. It got so bad that our teammates eventually had to move out.
In my search for a new apartment, I started with a price limit for the rent; that filtered out about 90% of what was available. And of those places within the price range, most were either unlivable or too far from public transportation.
We did find a reasonably nice one in a good place, with neighbors who seemed ok, but it was two flights down from the street level so was quite dark, and the view from the living room was of the roofs of the houses in front of us.
The next apartment we visited was just the opposite: two floors up, bright and sunny and airy with a nice view. In fact it was so bright with the afternoon sun shining in that Barbara put on her sunglasses. As we left the apartment, she went ahead of me toward the stairs, while I asked the real estate agent some more questions.
With her sunglasses still on, Barbara started down the dark stairwell but, unable to see well, she lost her balance on the top step and fell. I was too far behind her to help and watched in horror as she basically flew through the air all the way to the bottom of the stairs, landing on her face on the marble landing and then ramming her head into the marble covered wall!
I ran down the stairs to where she lay still, face down against the now blood-spattered wall. In my hurry to help her, I did everything wrong. I rolled her over, scooped her up in my arms and carried her out to the real estate agent’s car. If she had had a spinal injury, I could have made it much worse by doing this, but the Lord graciously overruled.
The real estate agent drove us to the nearest medical place, a private hospital in the cellar of a mosque in our neighborhood. He was so nervous that he almost had an accident on the way.
I lifted Barbara out of the car and carried her up the ramp. The guard at the door, seeing her blood-covered clothes, immediately brought a wheelchair for her and led me to the emergency room.
Within less than a minute of arrival, Barbara was on the table with a doctor and two nurses examining her. They worked quickly and compassionately.
Within an hour she had x-rays taken, a cat scan done, was tested by the eye doctor for her double vision and examined by the orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon gently held her right wrist, “You are fortunate not to have broken your neck in such a fall. And amazingly, you don’t seem to have any serious head injuries, considering that you fell about three meters vertically and landed on your face, then hit the wall with your head.
“But, you do have broken a bone here in your wrist and I need to operate on it. Have you had anything to drink since your fall?”
“Yes,” said Barbara, “I drank some water right after we got to the hospital.”
“Well, then you must wait four hours before I can give you anesthesia,” he said. “Be back here at 11 pm.”
I called a taxi and took Barbara home. We worked together to get her out of her bloody clothes. Even in her battered state, Barbara noticed how blood stained they were and expressed sadness that one of her favorite outfits was now ruined. We threw all her clothes into the water in the bathtub and carefully got her washed up. It was too difficult for her to do it alone, not being able to use her broken right hand.
We were back at the hospital by 10:30 pm. A nurse took her away in a wheelchair while another took her information from me.
“Would you like a room here for the night?” she asked. “Your wife will have to stay overnight after her operation.”
“How much will it cost?” I asked.
“Twenty Liras,” she replied, “and that includes breakfast.” That was about $10, so without hesitation I agreed.