Of Falling... And Landing. And Stoic Limping.

Friday, January 9, 2009

About eight days ago I fell on the icy snowy driveway.

The story:

I fell in split second; no fantasy slow-mo. I was up, then I was down, laying on my left side with my arm and hip screaming in pain. My body may have screamed, but I was silent. I thought to myself, "I will not be my mother."

My mother, you see, has the pain tolerance of, well, nothing else I know of. She screams so loud when she stubs a toe that you can hear her miles away. And she doesn't stop complaining about how badly it hurts. You might think I exaggerate; all moms give birth, so they know real pain. But my mom is proof & product of yesteryear's birthing methods. Then, as my mom herself describes, you came into the hospital in labor, they gave you drugs which were the equivalent of a whack on the head with a mallet, and you woke up later with some nurse asking you if you wanted to hold your baby. While some days I use this to console myself with the possibility that I am not her daughter (hey, she wasn't really 'there' at the time... So, maybe...?), the point is that my mom doesn't know real pain.

Mom's pain threshold is so low that it's more than a family joke; it's a legend. Once, my mom hurt her finger reaching into my sister's SUV and pulled back screaming -- without the baby bag she was reaching for. It was too painful to proceed. So my brother-in-law reached in to retrieve the bag, and he stopped mid-action and said, "Who left a finger in here?"

My sister and I thought right then and there that she would be a widow. But mom just clenched her jaw and said her usual, "No one understands how bad this hurts!" And then talked about just how bad that hurt the rest of the day.

Anyway, I lay there in pain on the icy ground, unable to get up & unwilling to be my mother by screaming. Quietly I dropped the F-bomb.

The family was in the car (I had just ran back in for the usual "one more thing"), and I wondered why I lay there and no one was arriving to help. I told myself that while my agony seemed like minutes, and my mom-monologue was long, I had likely only been on the ground a few seconds. I began to ponder upon their experience... What I must have looked like, there one second and gone the next. I bet they were all laughing. I might have even laughed at such a (non) sight-gag. I quelled my pain-turned-to-anger and tried to plan my escape from the hard frozen ground.

Hubby had been on the phone. He had seen me walking towards the van, but when I didn't open the door, he guessed I'd fallen and got off the phone. He arrived at my side, asking if I was alright.

I replied sharply, "No."

He asked me if I had hit my head. I moaned, "No."

He offered his hand to help me up, but I figured I'd just leverage his help into his own fall on the ice. Instead, I left what I had been carrying on the ground for him to grab and scuttled like a one-legged crab to reach for the handle on the door.

One more F-bomb and I got into the van. I couldn't turn to see their faces, but I could hear their wide open eyes in the silence and so assured the kids I was alright.

But then the pain grew worse. I moaned a bit and dug in my purse for some generic ibuprofen, trying not to cry. Sometimes being the mom means suffering in silence.

Unless you're my mom.

Anyway, to put the kids at ease, I laughed about how funny I must have looked, about how I needed one of those medical alert buttons because I'd fallen and I couldn't get up, about how one day a fall like that might mean a broken hip. The jokes eased the children's worry (though that broken hip joke I made sobered me a bit), and we went on our way.

Consoling myself that I am not my mother made me feel better and so every time I felt the throbbing pain was becoming really really bad, instead of moaning or complaining about it I distracted myself making a joke about something or other.

I may have joked too much, because soon hubby asked me if I had, in fact, hit my head.

***



Update:

As I said, it's been eight days since I fell. But I've been hobbling ever since. My walk is best described as "a lurching snail's pace," and watching me navigate the stairs must be like watching paint dry (with the possibility of me falling similar to the color-snob's anticipation of the paint's color when dry).

Hubby has suggested I go to the doctor, perhaps because he just wants me to be able to get to the basement to do the laundry, but I figure I must not have any broken bones (or I wouldn't be able to walk period) and the best they'll do is dope me up -- which will only render me more useless in terms of writing & picking kids up from school, etc. Maybe if this continues into week three... Or four. Then I might reconsider the expense of medical attention. (My luck, they'll tell me something was broken but is healing wrong and they'll need to re-break it.)

My mom, however, is unfazed. She doesn't want to hear that I'm still limping about, but rather counters with stories of when she hurt herself.

***



Postscript:

The one thing my mother believes in are bruises; they are the proof of pain & torture, the exquisite colored badges with which to garner attention. But I have yet to have any real bruises.

I was hoping that given the layers of fat on my hip and thigh that the colors would appear a few days later and I could show them to her, at least in a photograph, and get a bit of sympathy from her. But now, as the time passes, I fear such a delay means I am too fat and I no longer wish to see them & be forced to ponder the fat-math.

***



I console myself with a laugh:

Once, my mom fell while gardening in the yard. She was backing up the wheelbarrow and tripped on something unseen behind her. Dad came over to help her up (he surely could hear her scream over the lawnmower).

Once he helped her to her feet, she turned about, rubbing her aching behind, to see what she had tripped on. It was some of the rocks she'd been moving to make a border around a flowerbed. Only...

One of the rocks was now cracked in half.

My mother had split a rock in half with her ass.

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