The satisfaction of an obvious injury
This past November, I took a huge, embarrassing spill in front of a local restaurant.
I’d gone to a local BBQ spot to pick up a yummy meal for Jim and me. I was having such a great afternoon. First I went to the restaurant to place the order, and then I walked a few stores down to our local video store (side note #1: if you still have a local video store, please support it!). I browsed the shelves and picked up a DVD for us (side note #2: if you haven’t watched Orphan Black, may I recommend that you do? Save it for a migraine-free day, though, since there’s noise and flashing light). I strolled back to the restaurant just in time to see my order getting backed up. Perfect timing!
I put the movie into my purse and carried the food bag in my other hand. One of the managers of the restaurant happened to be leaving when I was, so he held the door and we wished each other a good day. I walked toward the parking lot and….BOOM!
I crashed. Hard. I was wearing cute boots without great tread (a rarity for me—you’ll usually find me in sneakers), and I’d walked down the handicapped ramp that would’ve been slippery on its own but was a million times more treacherous due to a custom paint job. It happened fast, and the next thing I knew, the manager guy was trying to help me up and was worriedly asking if I was okay. “I’m fine,” I said. “I’m fine. Wow, that was slippery!” I played it so cool.
My food exploded everywhere, so he went inside to get me some fresh meals and threw in some free stuff to boot. I sat on a bench outside with a smile on my face, trying to ignore the pain in my left hip and my left wrist. “You sure you’re okay?” the manager asked as he handed me a fresh bag. He and another employee took a look at the handicapped ramp and mentioned that it was more slippery than they’d like and that they were sorry. I know they were probably partly worried about my causing a ruckus and/or suing them, but I also think they were genuinely concerned.
I drove the mile home and walked into the back door of our kitchen, placing the bags on the counter. Jim said, “Hello?” And I, exploding into self-pitying tears, said, “I huuuurrrrt myselffff….!” He came to the rescue, was really sweet, and took me into the bathroom to wash out the bad scrape on my hand.
He took a pack of bandages out of the closet and said, “Which one will fit? is this one too small?”
“I want a really big one. I want it to be huge. I am feeling very dramatic about this,” I said through my tears, and he obliged, picking the hugest Band-Aid we had (even though a smaller one would’ve fit fine).
I started thinking about how great it felt to have a highly visible injury that would bring immediate attention to my pain. How validated I would feel to have someone see my gigantic bandage and say, “Oh, no! What happened? Are you okay?” When the vast majority of my pain and discomfort is invisible to most others, it felt really satisfying to have such an obvious injury.
Have you ever been in my shoes? As someone who suffers with the (mostly) invisible illnesses of migraine and arthritis, sometimes it feels strangely good to have such a visible injury. Does anyone out there know what I mean?
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