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The satisfaction of an obvious injury

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?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Macbeck
    3 years ago

    I can SO relate!!! And bless your husband for not scoffing at you <3

  • bluebird
    5 years ago

    How much simpler for everyone when an injury can be seen. People can feel compfortable knowing that it is not contagious and does not cause confusion. It doesn’t excite major unconscious fears. A conversation can focus on healing, an expected time frame for repair and however painful, it is easy to put oneself in someone else’s shoes. Migraine Syndrome is confoundidng to those of us who experience it and who study it.

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    I loved what you wrote, especially “A conversation can focus on healing, an expected time frame for repair and however painful, it is easy to put oneself in someone else’s shoes.”

    Thank you for your wise words–I couldn’t agree more!

    -Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

  • bluebird
    5 years ago

    Oops- Forgot to say -confounding to even well intentioned Others. Most people have been kind to me, even curious about migraine syndrome. But it was so much easier with crutches or surgery etc.
    Easier to relate.

  • Vicki H
    5 years ago

    Im so totally right there with you! I really HATE calling in to work with yet another migraine. Two weeks ago, I actually had to call off because of a severe fibro flare. Apparently, the secretary’s sister has fibro, so she was instantly sympathetic… Not at all like when I have a “headache.”

    Long story short, it’s absolutely wonderful having something to validate my pain – whether it’s a bandaid, a black eye, or a droopy face (which I NEVER get!). It’s just nice to have my discomfort recognized.

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Yes, this: “Long story short, it’s absolutely wonderful having something to validate my pain – whether it’s a bandaid, a black eye, or a droopy face (which I NEVER get!). It’s just nice to have my discomfort recognized.”

    Thanks for your thoughtful and smart feedback!

    -Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

  • bluebird
    5 years ago

    My droopy face is mostly helpful for me to know when to set limits on what I can expect from myself . But now I realize how helpful it might be for others to express compassion and acknowledge my courage and fortitude. Thanks Janet.

  • shine4him
    5 years ago

    I had surgery on both feet, so I spent about a year total on crutches. It was nice to be able to take things slowly and have people not get impatient with me, like they do when I’m slow because of migraine. I also gained some empathy for handicapped people as well, when I discovered how many “handicap accessible” things were really not.

  • Julie
    5 years ago

    As a chronic migraineur with a very freshly broken wrist I relate 100% to your post. in some ways I am finding people’s public empathy almost overwhelming. I think because I’m so used to being in migraine pain (which is more painful then my current visible injury) and getting nothing but strange looks for my seemingly odd behavior. I am trying to actually take people up on their offers of help but after years of sucking up my migraine symptoms I’m pretty bad at it. I am really making an effort though to let people help me this time and just be grateful for it. who knows? Maybe I will even get better at asking for help when my invisible illness requires it in future.

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Your post has unintended meaning for me, Julie. You see, I recently had surgery and made a point to let all my coworkers/employees know about the surgery and my limitations following the surgery. Like you, I had (and continue to have) a hard time accepting their help because I’m so used to trying to just forge ahead. If I had migraines only once in a blue moon, I think it might be easier to ask for assistance–but when they happen often, I just get tired of talking about them and don’t want people to get sympathy fatigue!

    In any case, I’m sorry about your wrist and am grateful for your perspective.

    -Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

  • AngelinaB79
    5 years ago

    Yes, two years ago I had depth perception issues with my migraines and opened a car door badly and dislocated my left thumb. I was in plaster for 8 weeks. I chose the brightest pink and it was good to have comments on my visible disability as not many people can tell when I’ve got a migraine (every day :(…). So it was nice.

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Nice choice re. the pink cast! I appreciate your reading this and your comments. I hope you’re feeling okay today.

    -Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

  • Hemiplegicgirl
    5 years ago

    I did somewhat the same thing, but I was just walking down the street and in some shoes that was 1-2″ high fell from a crack in the concrete. Ended up in the street with traffic. I have hemiplegic and other issues and the shoes were not the proper for my illness. Sprang my ankle so bad that I had a migraine coming on, but I knew what to do. My husband was useless. He tries but he does not understand hemiplegic migraines.

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Oh goodness, that sounds so rough! I sometimes just want to wear whatever I damn well please, but I need to remember that I have migraine and arthritis so probably can’t pull off some of the shoe looks that other friends can.

    I am sorry to hear that you fell but am grateful you weren’t hit by a car on top of everything else. Still, how frightening.

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you’re feeling okay today.

    -Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

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