I fell down the stairs at the hospital

It’s 7:53 a.m.

A little less than an hour ago I left home to walk to the hospital for my head CT.

It was raining, with flurries mixed in, and I didn’t think to bring a hat, a hood or an umbrella. I don’t mind getting damp, and the moisture helps tame my curls.

The walk to the hospital was uneventful. I was confused where to find the radiology department so I looked up the address: 250 S. 21st Street.

Now, I always get 21st Street and 22nd Street mixed up in my head. So to be sure imaging wasn’t in a separate building, I walked down to 21st Street.

That was mistake number one.

Imaging and radiology is in the main hospital. The main hospital was built over 21st Street, so to get to the entrance I had to backtrack, and go up to hills will black ice, to 19th Street.

I walked in, waited in line, and was politely told I needed to go outside, to the left and to the left again.

In other words, imaging was next to the Emergency Room which was where I started backtracking.

Bit extra steps are good. Let’s stay positive.

I leave, go down the concrete stairs between the hospital and the parking garage, trying to confirm where I need to go. I suspected radiology was next to the ER but I had just been told “left and left again” and I get my left and right mixed up, especially when I’m nervous.

And now I’m nervous and hurrying. In winter weather.

I forgot the stairs by the hospital are built like speed bumps… one step… walk more than a side walk square… a staircase of about five steps… more single steps. All painters with yellow stripes.

I missed one. I did a lovely corkscrew spin and bounced along the sidewalk.

I got up, kept walking, fighting tears and trying not to hyperventilate.

Because physically I am not in my best shape today. (More detail here.)

I walk into radiology and I tell the admissions clerk, “I have a CT at 7:30 and I just fell down the stairs coming from the main registration desk, I’m fine but I’m a little shaken.”

She, of course, wanted to know if I needed to be examined. I said no.

Then she assumed it was icy. I said, “no, I have cerebral palsy and I just missed the step and once I go down I can’t stop it.”

Her next thought was, “why didn’t they have someone bring you through the hospital. Why did they make you go outside?”

I replied, “I just did what they told me.”

The next fun part of the journey was once again I was told that Medicaid denied my procedure. I told them I qualified for Medicaid for one month in 2020 and they have not paid for anything since that month.

“But you qualify,” they insisted. “Or it wouldn’t be there.”

Just let me have my CT scan, especially now that I’ve hurt myself.

They take me back, and I thought maybe I should go to the restroom and wash my scraped hands but the tech assures me it will be five minutes. So I figure it can wait.

The scan was very cool. I have never had a CT scan or an MRI. They stuck me in the tube and I noticed the sleek black ring inside the tube that had a bright ball in it, like a star. I was told to be still so I closed my eyes.

The machine roared like my clothing dryer, the table shifted, and I was done.

I then once again thought about the restroom but it was 7:30 and my teenager needed to be at work at 8, and I thought maybe I could catch her.

But the sidewalks were slick and now the snow was coming down. It was coating everything. So I didn’t get home in time to see her.

But, between the cold, my nerves, and the fall, I suddenly realized I needed to urinate. And as the greatest insult to my pride today, I started to pee myself five feet from the toilet.

When I removed my pants, and realized the “accident” wasn’t as bad as it felt, I saw my knee was now bleeding. I have a sore spot on my left thigh up by the hip, two scraped knees, two scraped off palms, a couple scraped knuckles and a sore spot on my left forearm.

My trainer and I agreed that maybe the gym isn’t a good idea today.

And I cracked the screen protector on my phone.

I really, really hope that when the neurologist calls to talk about my CT scan that she can needle the physiatrist about seeing me, because I need help.

I’m scared. And I need to understand what this body can do and what it can’t.

2 thoughts on “I fell down the stairs at the hospital

  1. I have always been so impressed by your willingness to _deal with_ your CP. You’ve never hidden from it, telling me how you needed to do this walking because it would be important for you later in life. You deserve to have help in coping with this. I am still proud of you for going for the CT and being so brave. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

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