It recently came to my attention that March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, in addition to Women’s History Month. So as a tribute, I fell down the stairs leaving work on March 1. Seven cement stairs.
I have a massive bruise on my thigh, a knot of a bruise on my left calf, a swollen pinky that looks like a dog bit it, and wounded pride. As many injuries do, my finger throbbed and ached most of the night.
At work, I was frustrated, cranky and tired and moving so slow. By my calculations, I did 110% on Wednesday and now 88% on Thursday. WTF? I asked myself. Meanwhile I hear my blind friend Nancy Scott’s voice in my head, “Angel, you did too much.”
Several managers came over to ask how I was, I said I was okay but my finger was swollen and would not bend. They all mentioned I might see the safety manager later in the day. I didn’t. The person checking in on me most was my process lead, who also has a disability, and I told him I knew I wouldn’t finish at 100%. But apparently he didn’t know I had thrown myself down the steps.
The conversation went something like this:
“What happened? Did you miss a step?”
“I was on the landing and I lost my footing, and I had that split second to regain my footing but there wasn’t enough room on the landing so I thought I could gain my balance by kind of trotting down the steps but I missed the first step.”
“So where did you end up?”
“At the bottom.”
“So you fell down ALL the steps.”
I think I had 24 boxes of refix yesterday so that meant I dealt with a lot of carts, which slowed me down further. And my neurologist warned me that any injury might short circuit the relationship between my mind and my body. My brain and my legs don’t have many communication skills as it is and anything going on with another part of my body will muddy up the whole situation.
My leader assured me that we could come up with a plan, but that still frustrated me, because I’m already on a probation of sorts (which stemmed from a work-related cerebral palsy “flare-up”) and I see this as an endless cycle of me doing my job and then falling behind and getting in trouble. And the more they push me, the more rapidly the situation will repeat. Another friend who used to work for a big local employer in administration said she’s glad this happened because it might make my disability more real for them.
But anyway, after work, I had a lovely conversation with Thurston, our Parisian Phoenix author who has a devotional coming out this month when a certain publisher gets herself sorted, about his book and the future.
When I got home, I removed my final band-aid of the day and had a weird gut feeling something was wrong. Like this needs a doctor wrong. So, bribing The Teenager with a pizza from one of our favorite pizza places that she forgot existed, we went to Urgent Care. Between her ear infections and my injuries, we spent a lot of time there.
The doctor seemed a little perplexed that I broke my “middle phalanx” of my pinky falling down seven cement steps. They expected more damage. What can I say? I have skills. And that friend I mentioned above? She broke several ribs falling down the stairs in her house and ended up as an inpatient in the hospital so she’s jealous right now.
So, once I get a tetanus shot and a splint, we head out. We stopped at Antonios Pizza and Ice Cream at the 25th Street Shopping Center and order a pesto pizza. We haven’t been there in 2-3 years because… Covid… life crazy… lazy… Dominos is cheap and easy and there is an app.
They recognized us! They recognized us, our order, and to prove it they pointed to the booth we used to sit in as a family.
And they love Stitch Fix! The Teenager opened the box and ate a slice in the pizzeria while we pointed out what Stitch Fix clothes we had on our body. And then I had to show off and fold my sweater into a 9×9 square.
It was the kind of small town encounter I love about our urban corner of the universe.