I fell on my butt.
I was coming down the stairs with a Coke in my hand when my feet started to slip. And it’s funny how these things happen in slow motion. One foot might gain purchase, maybe I can right myself, this could be near-miss, a close call discussed for an hour or two and then forgotten or…
I could fall.
And if I did, where would I land? On my fragile back? Or would I twist and turn and break some heretofore uncontemplated bone?
And this is not the way it’s supposed to be, I’m supposed to be doing something dangerous, skiing in the trees, testing limits, it’s not supposed to happen in regular life. Am I now a statistic? One of the old people who falls in the shower or spontaneously collapses with a broken hip, like my mother?
But I’m going to make it through. I treasure my agility, honed by years of slipping on ice in ski country.
Only I don’t.
I fall squarely on my ass, and then bounce a step or two.
Meanwhile, I’ve got Caffeine Free Diet Coke all over me.
And I exclaimed. Utilized profanity. But no one was in the condo to hear me, to run to my aid. If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one there to hear it does it make a sound?
I’ve broken a few bones. And the worst thing is you know it’s happened. Even though each time the accident was not especially traumatic. Falling from ten feet in the air onto the ski slope when my binding pre-released during a jump and landing with one foot in the snow and twisting and turning and there was very little pain, but I knew my leg was broken. Or when that volleyball hit me square on the tip of my index finger, cracking it. Or when that hood in gym tripped me playing soccer and I went down and the bone in my hand popped right up. The orthopedist just snapped it back into place. Excruciating pain, but it only lasted a minute.
And the worst thing about getting older is you know the worst is yet to come. I was pretty convinced I’d broken no bones. But swelling isn’t instant, pain is delayed, and you wonder just how bad it’s going to get. Which may be why I now travel with a cornucopia of pills, I want to be ready for every occasion.
And the occasion is Ginny’s 90th birthday. This is not about me.
So the first thing I thought necessary was to clean up the mess. I wanted to make like it didn’t happen.
But after mopping up the liquid with a towel, the pain started to kick in and I went back upstairs to lay down, holding on to the railing all the while.
And I picked up my phone and started Googling.
Turned out it was my coccyx. It’s not an uncommon injury. But was it fractured or just bruised?
I decided to test it. That’s part of my OCD, my fear, my desire to head off the worst possible outcome.
I sat down and I felt movement, but was that bones moving or a soft seat?
Right now I’m sitting in a soft seat, on top of an inflatable donut.
But first came the most important query, should I go to see a doctor?
That’s illegal in my house. As illegal as it is to write all this. We’re supposed to have stiff upper lips, we’re supposed to suck it up. I’m the kind of guy who’ll die of a heart attack at home, debating if it’s real. But there’s another part of me that is paranoid and wants a physician attending to me 24/7.
But when my brain cleared just a bit, I was in shock, I remembered that ice is the first line of defense, the key is to keep the swelling down.
And most Googling told me not to go to the emergency room.
But most said to go to the doctor. But I’m out of town. And there’s the issue of insurance reimbursement, they always look not to pay, and paramount is the potential embarrassment, you came to the emergency room for THIS?
I texted my physical therapist and she said to ice and swallow NSAIDs. But I’ve reduced the amount of NSAIDs I imbibe, and I’m gonna run out of the prescription ones.
And then Felice returned and I guiltily told her my story.
That’s me, guilt personified. And full of shame too. For the number one response I’m going to get to this screed is WHO CARES!
I always wonder about these people, are they really that together or are their lives so painful that if they see anyone else suffering and complaining they clamp right down upon them.
Finally I decided to e-mail my doctor. Who said x-rays wouldn’t definitively declare a fracture, that you needed an MRI, and that the treatment for a fracture and a bruise is the same, ice, rest and NSAIDs, so…
I’m not really that bad right now.
Well, that’s not true. I am sitting on a donut. Getting myself up from the prone position is difficult.
But I’ll be fine eventually. In a couple of days? A couple of weeks? What will I have to sacrifice in the interim? I don’t want to sacrifice anything, I want to voraciously consume life.
But the older you get, the longer it takes to heal, to recover.
And the older you get…do we all just experience further pain and then succumb?
So I alternately want to live in denial and crawl up in a ball and ask for sympathy.
Although I rarely ask. I want you to read the signals. I’m speaking in code. For fear that someone will excoriate me.
The shame runs deep.