A Brief Adventure

PG apologizes for not posting yesterday.

PG and Mrs. PG planned to go to Carmel, California. to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Carmel was one of the destinations they visited during their honeymoon.

For those who have not visited Carmel, it is a charming seaside town in Northern California, a bit south of San Francisco. Carmel has many attractions.

Carmel was founded in 1771 when Spanish monks built a mission there. In addition to its ecclesiastical purposes, Carmel was built as a place for a weary traveler to stop for the night while traveling along the Pacific coast. The mission still stands and conducts daily masses.

Carmel is one of a series of twenty-one missions built about a day’s travel apart, beginning with San Diego on the south, first claimed for the Spanish Empire in 1542, and ending with the mission of Mission San Francisco Solano, founded in 1823 in a city now called Sonoma, part of California’s wine country about an hour north (by car) of San Francisco, another former mission location.

PG has only visited a handful of these missions, but the Carmel mission is only one of the city’s attractions. It has a long (by English-speaking California standards) history as an art colony and still has many art galleries and gallery/studios together with a picturesque beach.

Unfortunately, however, the PGs’ first flight to Northern California was cancelled. PG scrambled and booked another flight to San Francisco, leaving from a different airport about an hour away from Casa PG. They drove to the second airport, arriving there in plenty of time for the flight.

As PG and Mrs. PG were using a busy escalator in the airport a woman at the front of the line of passengers lost her balance and fell backwards. Like a row of dominoes collapses after one is tipped, Mrs. PG tipped back into PG (who was lugging their carry-on baggage) and he tipped into the person behind him, etc. PG never got a count, but thinks about 8-9 people were piled up on the escalator.

Of course, the escalator didn’t realize what had happened and kept trying to move its load upwards. The PG’s discovered that lying approximately on their backs in a small crowd on a moving escalator is a very uncomfortable experience. The pointy steps just keep coming, one after another, but nobody on the escalator is standing or moving so the steps drag along whatever part of one’s body is in contact with them. Everyone in the pileup is highly incented to regain their feet at the same time which is not conducive to anyone regaining their feet.

For PG the general experience was like being worked on by a very powerful and over-enthusiastic masseuse who had extremely sharp nails.

Someone finally hit the emergency stop button for the escalator. Airport officials and paramedics converged and a variety of sore travelers were slowly helped down the stairs. The paramedics determined that Mrs. PG needed to be transported to a local hospital’s emergency room. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance arrived, Mrs. PG was made as comfortable as possible and hauled away on a gurney. One of the airport personnel volunteered to cancel their flight reservations.

With the help of several very kind strangers, PG was helped to collect all of the PG’s luggage, transport it to the location where the car was parked and redeposit it into the trunk. He thereafter, with the assistance of Google Maps drove to the very large hospital and was directed to one of the private rooms in the Emergency room complex. Mrs. PG was thereafter seen by a number of doctors and nurses. A head-to-toe CAT scan was ordered for her.

After about an hour and a half, the doctor determined that (amazingly) nothing was broken and released her. PG picked her up as she was transported in a wheel chair to their car.

They arrived home and Mrs. PG, assisted by the painkillers she had received at the hospital, fell asleep. Despite his own gouges and scrapes, PG took some ordinary painkillers, and dropped off to sleep after texting a very nice woman to cancel their reservations in Carmel.

This morning, each of the PG’s discovered various parts of their bodies which had been gouged. We’ve been slowly recovering, but not getting much done. Very kind friends are bringing dinner over shortly.

PG expects to feel a bit better in the morning and will likely resume normal posting at that time.

16 thoughts on “A Brief Adventure”

  1. Sorry to hear of your involuntary misadventure.
    Hopefully you can reschedule and enjoy your delayed trip.

  2. Oh, my! Rest, recover. Ensure that Mrs. PG rests and recovers. Watch for any delayed problems.

    No matter what the writing/publishing world gets up to in the meantime, it can wait.

  3. What an experience! Hope both of you are recovering – and there are no lingering effects. Sounds as if it could have resulted in far more injuries.

    Why didn’t an automatic something stop the escalator? That would be my next question – you can’t always count on a human to find and push the right button quickly. Very dangerous.

  4. Sounds like PG needs a PI person… or better armor, which is probably a good idea at airports anyway. At least once you’re through security.

  5. Oh lordie… what a day. Glad to hear you’re both now safe. Carmel will still be there for when you’re able to face traveling again. Take care, and remember, as one gets older it takes longer for ones body to heal from the insults and injuries that life throws at one.

  6. A likely story, I say! You folks just wanted to sleep in…

    Seriously, sorry to hear about your misadventure, though cheered to see the black humor (over-enthusiastic masseuse, indeed!) winning out. As you both move about a little stiffly and slowly for a while, think of it as a preview of old(-er) age. That’s what I do… 🙂

  7. First, NEVER apologize for taking time for family and a personal life. Blogging can wait for those more important things.
    Second, thank God it wasn’t worse! My line in the sand for calling something a disaster is: did anyone die or become seriously injured?
    If the answer is no, then recovery is possible.

  8. While I don’t depend on PV to have some minimum number of posts each day, your misadventures sound as Mr. Stanbrough said, unbelievable for a couple headed to a anniversary vacation.
    Glad to hear that no lasting damage (for some value of lasting) was done, and that Mrs. PG escaped the hospital quickly.
    As several have said and I can attest, recovery time is extended as years increase.
    Best wishes! We’ll be here when you’re ready.
    Edit to correct typos.

    • Hmm. To add to that – I looked up how many people travel the Underground in a year. 1.35 billion. Multiply that by (approximately) two, and then by six… 16.2 billion people up and down, with only 17 injuries.

      Fantastic safety record. I wonder how it would compare to the number of people injured by falling when getting into or out of a hansom cab in the old days.

      • A broader look at the 33,000+ escalators in the US isn’t as kind:


        “In 1998, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sought incident data on escalator injuries and deaths. Using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) and other incident information culled from news accounts, the commission found that an average of 5,800 escalator-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms from 1994-1997. In the last year of the study, the injury level rose to 7,000; three-quarter of those injuries were caused by falls. In addition, The CPSC found escalators implicated in 27 deaths – 21 of which were caused by falls. A subsequent CPSC study found 24 escalator passenger deaths in incident data covering 1992-2003, of which 16 were caused by falls.

        “Escalator mishaps are disproportionally represented by two age groups: children five years old and under, and adults 65 years and older. In 2010, the Hong Kong Journal of Medicine published research regarding escalator injuries among 104 patients. The Korean researchers found that nearly 60 percent of their sample were 65 years or older, all were injured by a slip or fall. The most common harm was a head injury. The researchers concluded: “Escalator-related injuries are not as rare as previously believed and the aged population 65 years old or above is the highest risk group. In particular, walking on a moving escalator was the main cause of injury in people under age 65.”

        “A 2006 study of escalator injuries involving children younger than 19, also used CPSC data to determine that 26,000 escalator injuries involving children were treated in emergency rooms between 1990 and 2002. Falls accounted for more than half of all the injuries, but more than 67 percent of injuries in the 15-19 year age-range.

        “In 2008, researchers from the University of Indiana reported that escalator mishaps among the elderly had surged. From 1991 to 2005, 40,000 older adults were injured; slips, trips and falls were the most frequent causes. Some 3,000 injuries were seen by emergency room staff.”

        More at the source.

        Still low, less than 2 per year per escalator, but non-trivial given the total installed base.

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