October 9, 2017

On the Significance of Three Steps

Three steps is both more and less than you’d think. It’s only about three feet forward and two feet downward, by most standards step sizes. Less distance than you’d pay much attention to while you walk. You probably took at least three times that many steps today and didn’t give it a second thought. However, it’s more distance than you’d ever, ever want to fall.

Even then, it’s not really that far to fall, right? That’s just a small tumble, not enough to cause lasting damage, right? ….right?

I wish both my legs agreed with this.

I was just congratulating myself last week on having gone five years without a major accident. Which is a terrible idea and should be mentally squashed as soon as you think it because it’s just inviting trouble. It’s like playing the Game (congrats, you have all lost with me today), because you’re can’t stop thinking about the thingy when you’re not supposed to think about the thingy.

Anyway, I fell down three steps and messed up both my legs.

This is actually a new thing, since I’ve never hurt both legs at the same time before. Restraint in injury is a good policy, I find. You need the other leg to be solid so you can support the injured leg. I sprained the left ankle pretty bad, so I needed my right leg to hobble…but I sprained the right foot and knee, so I needed my left leg to hobble.

The braces are all black for fashionable coordination

The urgent care people offered me a wheelchair, and I was all, “Naw, how bad can it be? I’ll just use crutches.” Insight: Crutches only allow you to take the weight off one foot at a time. If you try to use them for both and are not a Cirque du Soleil trained stilt-walker, you will fall. You will fall down a lot. This will be mildly amusing the first time it happens, less funny the fourth time it happens, and then rage-inducing madness the 20th time it happens.

My lovely sister-in-law attempted to help by bringing me a walker with one of those fold-down seats built in. I used this for a couple of days, by which time I knew exactly what I was going to be like as a hunched 70-year-old woman. Hint: Angry back. Fire and demons and noises-like-you’re-lifting-a-car-when-you-stand-up back. So I’ve defaulted to giant thonking boot on the left leg, tiny shoofing boot on the right foot, and squeaky-hinged brace on the left knee, with no outside support.  The compromise solution, and we’ll just attempt to limit distance as much as possible.

Behold the author in the wild, trying not to fall over sideways

Fun fact, I walk like a cross between Quasimodo and Frankenstein’s Monster right now–there’s a lot of lurching. Arms are enthusiastically swung as counterweights. My back has tightened up like a rod of tungsten from all the little balancer muscles going, “What is happening? Are we at sea in a hurricane? Quickly, we must defend the squishy organs!”

One week later, I’m sitting with both legs propped up at my desk at work, popping ibuprofen, and contemplating creative solutions for getting up to get things. Both the bathroom and the kitchen are out of comfortable hobbling distance, so I’m trying to pack in my lunches and limit liquid intake. People are really nice and trying to help, and I have to explain that they cannot empty my bladder for me (although I have enough holes in me that I should have a convenient side door in my abdomen to pop it out and pass it along for someone else to empty. Time to invent this!). I use my long umbrella to pole my chair over to the copy machine like a tiny office gondola. I fly paper airplanes across the cubicles to pass memos for signing.

Finding the positives here: I’m saving money by not eating out! I’m saving calories by not eating a bunch of junk, which is great because I’m not getting as much exercise via walking. And I’m being super-efficient at work because I can’t walk away from my desk.

Sliiiight negatives: my coworker brought cookies. Like, a BIN of cookies. And helpfully placed it in front of my desk so I wouldn’t have to walk far to get at them. They’re gingerbread shortbread, and they’ve been staring at me all morning. I’ve had five six. Dammit, Janni.

Non-work-related positives: since I can’t really travel or go places, I’m getting a bunch of writing and reading done! Which is great, because I did an audit of my ebook collection on my Kindle and discovered I have a backlog of about 50 books to read. This is a drawback of digital media I had not previously considered. I never let the to-read pile get higher than five or six books when they were staring me in the face, but I apparently will just buy ebooks and then promptly forget that I have them. Having way too much stuff to read is a great problem to have, really, unless you’re like me an go all draconian “NO MORE BOOKS UNTIL YOU FINISH THE ONES YOU HAVE, YOUNG LADY.”

Oathbringer comes out next month. Must read all things. Must HURRY.