That Time I Was Sprawled Out On an NYC Sidewalk…Again

This isn’t exactly the way I wanted to come back from my hiatus blogging. We moved, it’s summer, we went on vacation. Lots and lots and lots of reflection and introspection and fun things to share, new foods to try and new recipes to post. That was the plan. Until this weekend. The freedom was more than I could handle.

There is something about the concrete jungle of NYC sidewalks that my body is attracted to. Like a magnetic pull that just draws my body straight to the ground each time I visit. Back in February I tumbled out of my walker/wheelchair combo. We hit a bump in the sidewalk and it isn’t the most smooth-riding apparatus. Russ was laughing with friends, I was Facebooking on my phone. Neither of us had our eyes on the sidewalk. The wheels got jammed and boom, there I went. Sprawled out in NYC.

This weekend I tipped my scooter. My scooter didn’t tip me. I tipped it. The scooter rides perfectly smooth and handles the little bumps and uneven sections of the sidewalk just fine. Unless you’re full throttle and being silly. I was definitely full throttle and I was definitely being silly and boom, there I went. Sprawled out again in NYC.

The short story is I was acting foolishly, racing my able-footed friends down the sidewalk. I was going too fast, took a turn too hard. And then my head bounced off the sidewalk. Just writing that immediately signals a dull throbbing pain in my head. Let’s be honest: I was stupid. Say it with me. “You were stupid.” And I am reminded of my stupidity everyday with the myriad of rainbow bruises, the stiffness and aches in my hips and legs, the scabbed over scratches on my ankles and knees. Most of all, the distinct memory of my head bouncing off the sidewalk. That hurt.

The commotion of the scooter tipping, my falling and my head bouncing off the sidewalk was like watching a boxing movie where the fighter goes down in slow motion, their head hits the mat, their cheeks flutter and their jaw twists and turns, saliva spitting out and maybe some blood if you’re lucky. This is what I imagine I looked like. Lucky for me, there was no blood. Lucky for me.

The swelling was instantaneous. Like a bird literally laid an egg on my head. A big, fat goose egg. After the slow motion scene ended the NYC noise came flooding in, abruptly, people gasping and shouting. My husband and friends running over to scoop me up. I went boneless. My little guy used to go boneless before he could walk or talk when he was protesting me. If he didn’t want to go to bed, or eat dinner, or if his baby life in general was not going his way he would go boneless, floppy, instead of throwing a tantrum. He knew it would be hard for me to hold him or carry him on to the next activity. That was me. Instead of crying and throwing a tantrum, I went boneless. Protesting my stupidity. I went down in a blaze of glory and was lifted up as a boneless, humiliated fragment of my person. I was allowed to be dramatic. At least for a few seconds while the humility was all mine, until I announced that I was the (ir)responsible party. That is when humility turns into sheer embarrassment.

Oh right, and then there was blood. The road rash. My left ankle and knee were gushing.  Thankfully, the true reality of the scrapes weren’t as bad once they were all cleaned up.

Off to the pharmacy we went, in a blur and flurry of bandaids, alcohol wipes, Neosporin and ice packs. God, I was so stupid. Racing my scooter down the sidewalk, taking a turn too sharply and too fast, smiling over my shoulder until it all went wrong. Oof.

I’ve thought long and hard about this. What was I thinking? I am a 41 year old with significant mobility impairment. I have MS. I am 41 years old! Did I forget that I am a professional woman with two young children and a serious mobility impairment? I mean, I am already in a scooter! Was I subconsciously racing back to my twenties? Did I subconsciously believe I was still invincible? Or did my brain just shut down rational thought all together? I’ve thought long and hard about this. I was thinking something.

I was thinking: I am free. I am finally free. I was free-scooting in a free world. And the freedom was too much. I took advantage of it. And I got hurt.

My head bounced off the sidewalk. I have rainbow bruises for days. I feel like I’ve been hit by a car. But it didn’t dampen my fun. It was just a blunt reminder that I am a 41 year old professional woman, mother of two, who has a disability and who can still have tons of fun and be free. Maybe just on a wee bit slower pace, and way more carefully. More thoughtfully.

The show must go on and this show will be spending the rest of the summer relaxing. Writing those reflective and introspective posts, sharing my food and posting new recipes. Hopefully without the flair (flare?) of self-imposed drama. I don’t think I really needed another life lesson to demonstrate for my children, but this did make for a good teeny tiny laugh and a solid real life talk. Was it worth it? Absolutely, no. But it also didn’t dampen my fun. And I am still smiling.

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