Lessons Learned From My Trip Down the Stairs

I’m so happy that 2015 and 2016 are over! So far 2017 has been okay. Not great and yet not sucky. Just okay. And okay is A-okay in my book because for me 2015 and 2016 were soul sucking years that I still need to fully recover from. Actually 2015 started off pretty good, but then my cat got very sick, very fast, and it was all downhill from there. One particular low point of 2015 started Thanksgiving night. We just have dinner with us, our family of 5. No one comes over and we don’t go visiting. We’ve done those ways in the past and we prefer it to be just us. This low point happened late at night, after dinner was done and I had taken my daughter to work so she could do her Black Friday shift (she volunteered so someone else could stay home and be with their family).

My daughter working on Black Friday threw off our plans a bit. We usually head out and do Black Friday shopping once everyone goes to bed. Please don’t judge. Stores have the most amazing deals, you can get the bulk of your shopping done and save a HUGE amount of money. And, it’s my understanding that many of the people working Black Fridays shifts have volunteered to work. Not all, but most. My daughter works at Target, so a few hours after I dropped her off I went over to Target around midnight or so, when all of those crazy crowds have subsided a bit. I didn’t go into Target for their door buster deals or anything like that. No, my lame ass went in to pick up groceries and dog food.

I wasn’t there long, just until after 1:00 a.m. maybe. I got home, watched the rest of Shallow Hal that happened to be playing on HBO, then I went to bed. I had one of those moments in bed where you get all nice and comfy and you’re just about to fall asleep and suddenly your bladder kicks into gear and you have to get up and go. I usually put the hall light on when it’s that late because our bathroom is right at the top of the staircase and I’m a mega klutz. That had been a deep-rooted fear of mine since the day we moved into our house back in the summer of 2000, that I was going to fall down those stairs. And it would happen either while I was carrying a laundry basket or our infant son in my arms.

But, on this particular night I didn’t turn on the hall light. My husband had been having some restless and sleepless nights for the past month, he was sound asleep and I didn’t want to take the chance of waking him up. I felt my way in the dark by touching the wall but that didn’t matter. Somehow I over shot the bathroom by just a step, I felt my foot bend down the top stair, I lost my balance and I went head first down those 7 remaining carpeted bastards.

Hey look! Deep-rooted fears can come true…

Hey, I really try my best to look for the positive in any situation. It’s been almost 2 years since this so very me moment happened and I’d like to share with you the lessons I took away from this little incident.

Lessons Learned From My Trip Down The Stairs:

  • As it’s happening, it feels like forever. It felt like I was falling for 10 minutes, not 10 seconds. And trying to grab onto air on the way down doesn’t work. At all.
  • Is that a freight train barreling through my house? Nope, it’s you. That’s what it sounds like as your body collides with the stairs and takes a very bumpy ride down them.
  • Really strange thoughts will race through your mind. There was a split second, out of the 10 it took to fall, where I actually thought This is it! This is how I’m going to die and they’ll find me at the bottom of the stairs in a broken pile of flesh and bones! I tend to get just a tad dramatic when I’m in the process of getting injured.
  • Husbands can be so damn judgmental. Well, so much for not waking him! I think at one point, maybe way back when we were dating and I was only 18, my husband found my clumsiness a little bit endearing. Maybe… That’s not so much the case nowadays. About 7 years earlier I tripped on my own foot while stepping out of the front door, fell, threw my hand out to break my fall and I wound up breaking my wrist in 3 places. He shook his head with that. Now, he finds me at the bottom of the stairs, holding my foot and whimpering. Once he knew I was okay and he helped me hobble back upstairs so I could tend to my wounds I swear I saw him do a face palm. The next day he installed a nightlight in the bathroom and still, to this day, he turns it on every night before he goes to bed. It’s sole purpose is to guide me safely to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Yes, it seems like a sweet gesture, I give you that but I can’t help but feel it’s a slight dig. Like here you go, just for you my clumsy wife… so you don’t fall down the stairs and break your foot again, here’s a lovely nightlight so you can see where the f*ck you”re going. 
  • Rug burns are a pain. Literally. My left foot got the worst of it. Torn ligaments, broken bones and bleeding (slightly infected) rug burns. Did you know that a rug burn is actually a first degree burn and needs to be treated as such? I can’t tell you how many arguments I had with the husband over wound care. I work in healthcare, I listen to wound care notes at least 15 times a week – I think I know how to take care of them. I don’t know what was worse – the initial pain from the burns or the intense itching that started up when they were healing. Thank goodness for Vicodin, Naproxen, and lidocaine spray.
  • Emergency physicians can be just as judgmental as your spouse.  After 2 full days of trying to care for my foot on my own, I thought it was time to see a doctor. We went to one of those urgent care places because the emergency room probably would’ve taken too long. The doctor who took care of me was very nice and polite, but he couldn’t help telling me how much I really tore up my foot. You really did some damage to yourself! Um… duh! That’s why I sought the help of a doctor. Oh, it’s totally broken. We’re going to x-ray it to be 100% sure, but just by looking at it I can tell. Ugh! Just piece me back together, give me some pain medication, and let me go home and sulk. I’d bet anything that I was that doctor’s story of the day. He went home to his loved ones and probably said, “You’ll never believe what this patient I saw today did to herself…” and then he proceeded to tell them all how I fell down the stairs and opened up a can of whoop ass on my foot.
  • Walking boots are great, for the first day.  After that, they make everything on that particular side of your body HURT. After the first day I had agonizing pain in my back, butt, legs, heels, the soles of my feet and my hips. The pain is actually normal and is a side effect from wearing the boot.  It makes you walk with an awkward gait and it throws off your body’s alignment and that can leave you feeling quite achy all over. I was supposed to wear it for 4 weeks. I think I stopped wearing it all the time at 2 weeks, then just wore it when my foot throbbed. The Vicodin and Naproxen helped, and when I ran out of those, well there’s always wine.
  • I have a new healthy, yet somewhat fearful, respect for the stairs. Wouldn’t you? One little misstep can be your undoing. I feel so bad for all the times I laughed at that commercial with the little old lady who fell and couldn’t get up. If my husband hadn’t woken up to come to my rescue that could’ve been me!
  • My cat got all judgey-wudgey, but at least my dog cared. When it happened my cat freaked out. Can’t say I blamed her, after all it did sound like a freight train barreling through the house at 4:30 in the morning. But did she have to stay in the corner hissing at me with her tail fluffed up? She was fine once I hobbled over to her and pet her head. My dog, on the other hand, tried to lick my foot and wouldn’t leave my side. Weeks later the dog was still being super protective of me. The cat just wanted to make sure I could still wait on her hand and (broken) foot. She could be a bit of a prick but I still miss her.
  • It could’ve been worse. I broke my foot and did some serious soft tissue damage to my foot and ankle. Could’ve been worse. SO much worse. I could’ve broken my ankle and needed surgery to fix it. I was in a walking boot that I got to take off when I’m wasn’t walking and most of the damage was confined to my foot. I could’ve smashed my face, broken my nose, my teeth, broken an arm or my wrist (again). After about 45 minutes of holding my foot and whimpering I was able to, with assistance, walk/hobble away from that fall. I was, and still am, obsessively grateful that I only broke my foot. It really truly could’ve been a lot worse.
  • You quickly learn that your family can’t survive without you.  When mama bear goes down (literally) and gets back up with a significant injury if your family is anything like mine utter chaos is going to make itself right at home in your lives for the next few weeks. And it doesn’t take long for this to happen. It was less than 24 hours before I realized I was screwed for the next few weeks. My kids, who I do SO much for, when I had this busted foot and couldn’t get around very well (comfortably at least) wouldn’t even help me decorate the damn Christmas tree! Our 7.5 foot tall tree. I had to hobble around it all by myself and hang each ornament all by my lonesome. Wait, my teenage boy child placed 2 of those ornaments on himself and declared that he did indeed help. I threatened to never put the tree up again and for Christmas 2016 I kept that promise and only put up an itty-bitty 3 foot tree and my kiddos were not happy at all. So, we’ll see if they’re more willing to help me this year. If they are, the bigger tree can go up. If not, screw ’em, the little tree will be back for a return engagement.

My foot did heal up nicely. I was back to taking outside walks by Christmas Day (remember back in 2015 it was like 70 degrees here in NJ on Christmas Day?). It took those rug burns a little more than a month to clear up completely. My ankle was tight for a bit too but I knew from a previous fall (see the trend?) where I messed up my other foot with just soft tissue damage, no broken bones, that it could take a couple of months for that to heal. I was as good as new and back to normal by spring time 2016.

I truly hope this got you to giggle a bit. It’s okay, giggle and laugh away. I do when I think back on it.

Is anyone else a certified klutz, or is it just me?

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Trish

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