Saturday, April 15, 2006

...there was this kitten, in a tree...

Back in the late 80's, or maybe it was the early 90's (who cares?) I was busily trying to be a mom and also help out at church. One particular evening I had taught a class for what was then called "Homemaking Night". I don't remember the class, or even what I taught, what I do remember is a television commercial.

Our church building was fairly new, still very fresh and pretty, and the parking lot was still smooth and with brightly painted white lines between the spaces. We had parking lot lamps to illuminate the area during the dark, but they had been installed incorrectly somehow and didn't work. We also had large convenient spaces with a ramp for the handicapped near the door to the kitchen. The ramp was located between the spaces that had been marked with the familiar blue lines and the wheel chair icon at the base. Two signs were installed at the curbside indicating the special spaces. The ramp, however, remained the same deep fresh black of the asphalt parking lot. The long slope from the curb to the lot also had both its' side edges sloping sharply down, also unpainted and remaining black.

I was the last of the women that night to leave. I had assure the other women that I had only to finish packing up my boxes and bags and I would also be gone. I made several trips back and forth from the building unloading my things at the curbside. I locked the building and went to my car which was parked on the far side of the building. I drove it around to the handicap space and carefully backed it to the curb. I popped the trunk door up and began to pack in the boxes.

By then the hour was late, the night was dark, everyone had gone and I was pooped. I was glad to shut the latch on the trunk. I took my keys out of my pocket and began to walk to the front seat and go home. WOAH! I stepped on a rock and began to lose my balance. I felt the pain of the twisting and tearing of the tendons as I rolled my right foot on the rock. I quickly put all my weight on my left foot to try to not fall when, again I stepped on a rock of some kind, snapped the innards of my left foot and with the pain fell completely to the ground.

It only occurred to me as I laid there crying and laughing at the same time that I hadn't stepped on rocks at all. I had stepped onto the side of the unpainted handicap ramp; and with the angle being so sharp and, with my carelessness and tired thinking, I had not only broke my right foot with the angled pressure, but did the same thing to my left foot immediately afterward.

"I'VE FALLEN, AND I CAN'T GET UP!!!" I started to laugh to myself. I bet this looked hilarious. I am a visual person, I could see myself going down inside my head. This is hysterical! I have turned into that crazed old lady in the commercial! There weren't cell phones back then I was STUCK! I was truly wondering, "what the heck?" and "how am I going to get home?" I did a commando crawl to the front of the car. I rolled over onto my ample backside and reached to unlock and open the door. There in the dark I found the steering wheel and pulled myself up into the floorboard and eventually into the seat. (I have to tell you, if this happened today...well they would find my bleached bones laying there until someone came to my rescue. I was fat back then also, but I was in much better shape! 5 kids will do that to you!) By this time my legs, ankles and feet began to swell and throb. I could feel my feet tighten within my shoes and my pant legs beginning to shrink around the base of my calves.

I took a few minutes to breathe (and go to my happy place) and tried to start the car. The pain of stepping on the gas was incredible. Normally, the drive home would have been about three minutes. Because the pain was so intense I was only able to tap the breaks and gas pedal. I didn't want to go to fast because the thought of stopping made me cringe. It took me fourty five minutes to get home and I just rolled slowly through the lights, red, green or yellow; I didn't care if I got hit by a semi truck...the pain would at least go away during my coma.

Thor was waiting for me as I drove up. I honked on the horn until he came out of the house. I burst into tears as I tried to move my legs. (Why is it we do that? We can handle things until someone we trust can help is there and then we just fall apart and say "FEEL SORRY FOR ME!") Thor literally drug me out of the car and half carried me in to the house. I was so swollen he had to cut my pants off. Needless to say I am glad the kids were asleep by now! I decided nothing was broken and it was not worth waking up the kids and driving the hour + to the doctors, I could wait until morning.

I crawled around the house on my hands and knees and had to have Thor pick me up to use the potty and to help get me back down on my knees. Going to bed was another story, the sheet on my ankles was too much pressure, it hurt like the dickens, and I knew I was in trouble. I didn't get too much sleep that night.

The next morning Thor packed up all the kids and then I began the crawl out to the car. I got about half way down the front walk to the driveway when the neighbor drove by, slowed down for a good look, waved and drove on. (yes it's me, I am on the ground and crawling. It's a new thing in our house.) That same neighbor is our current Bishop's wife, and yes she brings this story up on occasion, ah good times!

The doctors and nurses couldn't believe that I had actually done this to myself and that it had been via a handicap ramp! The x-rays showed that I had torn all the ligaments and tendons in both ankles. The doctor asked me which leg hurt worse, "my left", "ok., we'll cast that one up. The other one will get a walking cast boot." So there I was with a hard cast on one foot and a gigantic boot thing-y on the other; plus crutches. Very attractive. I looked like the walking wounded. All I need was my head wrapped in gauze, a drummer on one side and a flag waver on the other. I could have been the piper in the middle. E-freaking-gads.

Sunday came and I was at church. The questions began, and for six weeks, everyone I met took one look at me and asked "WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?" After about week one, I began to make up stories. "I fell out of a plane and my 'shute didn't open." "I was trying to save a baby in a burning building. The only way was to jump out of the third story window." "Skiing the five black diamond coarse." "My repelling rope broke half way through my decent." It got to be fun, and I actually had some people going. Other people, the ones who know me, figured it was probably something like trying to commit harikari on a handicap ramp... that's something I would do.

By the way, just last year about this time, they finally got around to painting the blue stripes on the edges of the ramp and outlining the top surface. Oh, and the lamps are finally working also.

add to sk*rt


Mary A said...

Poor s'mee! You lead such an exciting life. :D

Happy Easter!

s'mee said...

Mary, I am not sure that it is exciting... but it sure is embarrassing! I just thought that I would put one of these experiences in my blog from time to time to help people relize their lives aren't so wierd afterall!

Susan M said...

That is really funny! (Sorry!) I know how bad that hurts. I tore a ligament or a tendon or something in one of my ankles at the beach in Oregon, then had to drive a stick shift home--a what, 4 or 5 hour drive? Sooo miserable.

Oh, and I have a friend who was in a really bad motorcycle accident, and one leg is all scar tissue from knee to ankle, on his shin. He gets asked all the time what happened (he actually wears shorts a lot). He tells people he was a conjoined twin.

s'mee said...

Susan, Oh my heck! I know, I was laughing then, and still laugh about it now! I can't imagine what it was like to have to use a stick FOR 5 HOURS!!! (mommy!)

I was laughing about myself while reading the first part of your comment, then I got to the part about the conjoined twin and just about lost my spline! Now, *thats* funny!