(Image description: Figure skater Sasha Cohen on the ice, caught in mid-fall.)

It’s kind of appropriate to post on this, since this blog owes its life, I think, to the nasty fall I took a few months back. I think at the time I blamed my shoes, or the street for being slippery, or the moon, or something. The fact is, I fell down somewhere on Second Avenue and broke one of the small bones in my left elbow. It would have to be the left side, naturally, which has been working overtime in an attempt to compensate for my right side, which has apparently decided to give in and be the MS’s bitch.

In the ER later that day, the broken elbow almost passed unnoticed since (used to the fun of chronic dysesthetic pain) I rated my current elbow crisis as “maybe a 5 or 6?” on the pain scale. This led to a whole saga of diagnosis, mis-diagnosis, a too-tight splint, a trip to an orthopedist, and the resolution that we were going to treat the elbow “as a sports injury” IE no cast but lots of mobility exercises, heat, cold, and other things I can’t remember because I didn’t do any of them.

What I did do, of course, was decide to hide in the house. Since I couldn’t be trusted not to fall on my ass, I obviously couldn’t attend class, see friends, shop alone, or go for a little wander in my beloved Woodlawn Cemetery. What I did was become more active with blogging, reading, and a lot of general home-bound pregnant-woman stuff. Getting the car helped a bit… but I still tend not to get out of the car if I can help it. As recent posts can attest, I’m a little preoccupied with all this walking stuff. I window-lust after various mobility aids but won’t even consider a cane; I use my husband’s arm as camouflage–maybe he’s not dragging me along, maybe I’m just really affectionate.

The Great Big One-Year Neurologist Progress Report Appointment brought all this out into the open. Mostly because the doctor–the younger one at the MS Center, who I’ve decided I really like a great deal–knew exactly what questions to ask. It wasn’t are you having weakness when extending your arms? but rather can you brush your hair? I brought my husband with me so I couldn’t lie this time–so I couldn’t say fine, fine, I’m fine on the assumption that they couldn’t do anything for my pregnant ass anyway but would be forced, under his watchful eye, to admit the point to which things have gotten.

On that note, I found myself explaining the fear of falling to my neurologist. I fell down and broke my elbow a few months ago, I told him. And since then I’ve been afraid of falling, so I haven’t really been leaving the house. It was the first time I’d admitted that–that my hermit-like introspection had a very simple explanation. I fell down, and now I’m scared.

Somewhere in there was some Freudian idea, I think, that ferretting out and acknowledging the trauma would spark the catharsis, that the problem would immediately go away. So, since that last fateful neuro appointment, I’ve been making a point of running around in full-on exhausting social mode. Since, after all, knowing is half the battle, and it’s wrong to let the fear keep me trapped inside these four walls, and all that. Is there some idea in here that I’ll be able to bring on my labor with lots of walking? Probably. Have I got something to prove? Hells yeah. So, have I been overdoing it? A bit, a bit. With predictable vicious-cycle results, e.g. overdoing it yesterday to the point of having to patiently wait for my husband to get home and help me out of a chair, or today’s little display.

I had a lovely time today walking around upper Manhattan with a previously-online aquaintance. Given my current state of pregnancy it was sort of a walking tour of the ladies’ rooms of various Harlem eateries, but in general very fun. I was social, more or less un-weird, and did not have to claw at my companion’s arm to stay upright even once. Talk even went into the area of “mobility issues” a few times, and I flatter myself I was pleasantly light and matter-of-fact about the gifts of MS. Really not a downer.

Which might in itself have constituted “overdoing things” and might have something to do with why, after ignoring my body’s warnings that the legs weren’t working any too well after such a day, I collapsed on the way home and spent a good twenty minutes trying to get myself up. Real quiet suburban street, too, so there wasn’t anyone to ask for help even if I wanted to, which I really don’t think I would have given the nasty shoulder-wrenching “help” strangers are prone to inflict on people who’ve fallen. In the end I had a nice little crawl towards a dwarf Japanese maple in someone’s yard, which I used to haul myself into some zombie-like semblance of the “walking” position and shuffle (brains, must eat brains…) the two blocks to home.

So, I’m blogging this stupid, stupid fall immediately, in the hopes that this will not lead to another several months worth of shut-in-dom and walking-terror. More scared than hurt? That’s me, at least for now.

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