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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Times I Fell Down: Part Ouch

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 By

When I was pregnant with Emmie, we lived in the top floor of an old house in the Hill area. The back stairs sprouted from a wooden deck. And when it rained, despite the non-skid strips I'd adhered to them and the bleach I'd poured on them to get rid of any algae, those suckers were slippery. Seven months into the pregnancy, I slipped. And I slid all the way down those steps to the bottom.

Luckily, I landed mostly on my ass. So there was plenty of padding. I might even have bounced a little. But that time, I wrenched my right shoulder while trying to catch myself.

There was this past January, when I slipped in the middle of the night and ended up half-naked, cold, and with a broken toe that will never be the same.

Then, two weekends ago, I was visiting my daughter's favorite store: Learning Express Toys. I bribed her to help me clean up with promises of a new toy. She picked out this "candy science kit," which has been AWESOME, by the way. "Loot, mama! You jus' add science, an' it mates candy! But, mama? Where do we buy da science?"

She had laughed me into complacency by the time we exited the store and saw the HD 98.5 remote, complete with bounce house. Emmie jumped in, but she was the only one there, and called for me to join her.

"Would that be okay?" I asked them, and they motioned me to go on.

I hot-footed it across the parking lot - why did I take my shoes off so far away? What am I, an idiot? Well, the universe chose that moment to answer what was largely - for future reference, universe - a rhetorical question. I put one foot on the ramp that lead up into the bounce house and instantly hit the ground. What happened? I don't know! But I didn't just fall over - I was hurled to the ground, five feet away from the ramp! Hello, sky. I've seen this view before.

My elbow and knee were all scraped up, but Emmie and I got a great laugh out of it. She clambered down and peered at me, her nose an inch from mine: "You okay, mama?" she giggled, as I lay there, back burning on the boiling asphalt, and chuckled: "I'm fine."

One of the guys working the remote noticed me lying there and sprinted over. "Are you okay?! Let me help you up!"

"She's otay," Emmie waved him away. She's used to me falling down. I grinned up at him: "Just let me lie here and gather the shattered remains of my ego." He gave me a weird look and trotted back to the table.

I made it into the bounce house, but almost immediately lost my balance again and scraped my face along one of the razor-sharp seams. Luckily, two other girls joined Emmie in the inflatable, and I stayed down so they could use me as an obstacle course.

Last Friday, we were leaving to go to Atlanta. I tottered down the back stairs of our house, still in my work clothes, when my boot heel caught on a broken brick and I went airborne.

This time, something in my right ankle popped. And, whoa, did it hurt something sick! But my face landed a half-inch off a big, flat rock, so I just narrowly missed a concussion. I was so thankful that it was only my ankle, and not a head injury, that I laid my head down on the rock like it was a pillow and said a silent "thank you" to the universe.

Then an ant bit my face.


Scott was out the back door immediately, gently unzipping and removing my boots as I lay on my stomach and plotted the doom of all Earth-bound insects. The ankle was already starting to swell.

"Call it off," Scott said.

But I thought about my 12-year-old nephew, Jacob, who won't think I'm fun to hang out with much longer. I'd miss going to Whitewater with him. I thought about how Emmie would cry if we didn't go see my 6-year-old nephew, Jackson. She'd been looking forward to it for two weeks. And I thought about my sister and my parents, who planned a big family dinner of Low Country Boil. They were so excited to just sit around and talk to me. I can never figure that one out. Clearly, these folks need a hobby.

We were going.

So Scott shoved a bag of ice in my sock and Emmie and I drove on. With three hours of ice and about 10 Advil over the course of the next 18 hours, the ankle was manageable. We made it six hours and two bee stings at Whitewater. And three days later, it is just a dull ache and a twinge every now and then. But I'm wearing flats for a while.

I don't know why I fall down and hurt myself so much. Maybe I need new glasses. Maybe I need to pay more attention to my surroundings. Maybe I'm too scatterbrained.

"Maybe you have brain tumor," Scott said.
"You need one of those white helmets," said my friend, Amber.

Thanks, guys.

If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Until I can figure out what's going on, I'll be the one wearing the ballet flats and wrap dress... the BUBBLE wrap dress.


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