Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The *Other* Time I broke My Neck

Seriously, this does happen to me multiple times. Being me is super dangerous.*

For a couple years I lived on the edge of DC in a group house (if you don't know what a group house is you are LUCKY). It was a really great house, huge, in a semi quiet but you still might get held up kind of neighborhood. Built in the 30s-ish it was all hard wood floors and paneled walls. Easy upkeep because no vacuum cleaner required...but hardwood floors + me = never a good thing. The stairs were a winding staircase. I've always admired the aesthetics of a winding staircase but have now learned that they are best avoided.

So-slippery wood floors, winding staircase, narrow narrow stairs, slightly unsturdy and flimsy handrail. Probably that's all you really need to know how this ends but let's keep going anyway.

For over two years I lived in dread of what I perceived to be my inevitable demise on those stairs. And one night it finally happened. It's all a blur so I cannot recall if I were hurrying down the stairs, wearing socks, moving-you know, any of those things that are dangerous-but just a couple steps down I lost my foot and began plummeting towards certain death.

Except I didn't die (or I did and am now the COOLEST BLOGGER EVER!!) because I managed to grab hold of the handrail with one hand. So instead of tumbling down the stairs, I fell down a few then jerked to a sudden halt and ended up twisted kind of around the inside of the staircase.

Two of my roommates came running (well one was on crutches at the time so she hobbled) to see my strange contortion and nodded sagely to indicated that they realized the stairs had finally had their way with me. I'm surprised people don't take bets on this; seriously.

Ok, no big deal, I'm still alive and nothing seems to be broken so that's great. I go to bed, get up stupidly early the next morning for a flight to Michigan to visit the family for some reason (honestly I have no idea why I was going to Michigan, it wasn't Christmas and it wasn't summer and those are usually the only times I go back). Spent a day in Michigan, all is fine and mid-westerny, go to bed.

And BAM! I'm a quadriplegic!

I woke up the next morning and I seriously, no exaggeration at all, could not move. I could not move. I honestly don't think I've ever been so scared (well except for the Wall but I think that actually came after this). I as lying on my back, which later I was thankful for because I often sleep on my stomach and that could have been very bad, with my head turned to the right. And nothing moved.  I could in fact wiggle my fingers and toes so I knew logically I was probably not actually a quadriplegic, but nothing bigger that would budge. So after calming myself (sort of but honestly not really) out of a panic, I did the only thing I could do. I started yelling for my mommy.

Poor woman rushed in still half asleep (I think it might have been pretty early) and looked at me blankly when I told her that I was now a quadriplegic. And who could blame her really. In the end we decided that  by grabbing the handrail when I fell and being jerked into a contorted stop I'd probably given myself whiplash and then exacerbated it by spending time on an uncomfortable plane.My mom toasted and liberally buttered cinnamon chip bread for me and then fed me and stayed in the room to talk to me. Which was really great because I couldn't hold a book while my body took it's time deciding that I really wasn't a quadriplegic and while there was a TV in the room my head was turned away from it.

Eventually I was able to start moving and get up and walk around and such. So that's good. My neck still hurt and I had to spend the whole weekend with my head stuck in that right-turned position which made walking, conversations, eating dinner...well everything really somewhat awkward.

So yeah. That was fun.

*A friend has convinced me to run a 10K with her. I just don't see that going well.