Saturday, April 2, 2011


Fifteen or sixteen years ago, while working at Yale University Press, I sprained both ankles sliding down some steps at work. I was wearing jeans and leather Keds and was hurrying down to give something to somebody--papers, a book, I don't remember. Humiliating enough on its own, right? But add to that humiliation the fact that I landed at the feet of (a) the director and (b) the chief editor of the press. They helped me back to a standing, head-hanging position, and I swore to them I was okay, limped to my destination, and then returned to my desk, where the chief editor met me with an ice pack and lots of advice from his doctor wife about how to treat myself for the rest of the day.

I ignored the advice and went to the movies with my husband that night: "Jefferson in Paris." I don't remember much about the film, only about my ankles throbbing so badly throughout that I was nearly sweating. But I didn't want to leave the movie. We were on a tight budget, and leaving for any reason would've been wasteful.

I had to miss work the next day because I couldn't walk. Five days later, I finally went to the health center to get an x-ray. My right foot was swollen and purple and hideous. But it was "just " sprained.

A week later I re-sprained it going down the same stupid steps.

Two years ago, I sprained the same foot going down the steps of my house while carrying my youngest son. I went to the ER the next day, sure this time it was broken, but it wasn't. I did learn through that x-ray, however, that I had broken my foot at some point in the past and the bones on top had healed on their own.

Yesterday, heading down the back porch steps, wet from an afternoon of rain, I slipped and fell again. My foot isn't sprained this time, but it has a glorious lump and bruise on top and a scrape along the side.

I have a weak foot. It's time to admit that and act accordingly. I have to be more careful, more aware of what I'm doing.

A couple of days ago, an ex contacted me to ask why I'd unfriended him on Facebook. We had a non-completely-unpleasant exchange in which I explained why, we wished each other well, and then both went on our merry ways.

We all have weaknesses--weak parts--that we have to take into consideration in our daily routines. We can try to strengthen them through exercise, but sometimes exercise isn't the 'cure' and avoidance is. A fall down the steps might not result in a sprained or twisted ankle, but it can remind us of that sprain or twist through a bruise or a scrape or just embarrassment at our clumsiness and carelessness. We don't need to avoid the steps, but we can always watch our footing.

1 comment:

Brigid Kemmerer said...

I love when you write posts like this, and make a life lesson out of something simple. Because you're so right, every time. It kind of makes me teary. *sniff*