I like to think of myself as a rather robust individual. Excepting my migraines, of course, but that is hardly sporting. Beyond my faulty brain, I like to imagine myself as a man who can take a punch, stumble, and get back up and give them what for.The kind of fish that eats a bowl of nails for breakfast without any milk.
But then life happens and reminds me that I am not, in fact, a pinnacle of health.
It happened one day, yesterday in fact. I had come home from lunch, and as I do every time I leave the house, my puppy Little Sir Finn (he’ll cease being ‘little’ when he stops chewing on the furniture) was locked inside his kennel. So naturally I wanted to let him out, and I decided to do something that I had not done in an age.
I am not a runner, and have not been for a long time. I have not been a runner ever since a wayward migraine medication made me balloon up like a stuck pig (and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth).
Well, I ran that day, not wanting to leave Finn waiting. I had my eyes fixed on the prize—my dog in his crate, and he was watching me too with eagerness in his tiny frame.
I was on the ground, one leg forward, the other bent behind me. Then there was searing pain.
I had failed to see Finn’s mat on the ground before me, and I had paid the price. I had slipped and fallen, and done something heinous to my ankle.
I’d like to say I took it like a mountain man who had just clawed his way out of his own grave—silent, with a dour face and clenched fists.
But no. I was hysterical, nauseous, and crying. I think I was screaming God’s name and asking for strength. (As an aside, it is at the moment of pain that faith is most real, with the least amount of trumpets on corners and showiness)
Finn was upset, he was crying too, and I composed myself and reassured him that I was all right, even though I wasn’t sure myself. I scooted across the floor, and with a sound that was almost a laugh I twisted my leg to see my ankle. With the amount of messages that the little theoretical men who run my ankle’s branch of the Office of Nervous System Telecommunications were sending to my brain, I figured it at least had to be broken.
My ankle’s Office of Nervous System Telecommunications may need to fire a few key members down there, because it was decidedly not hanging limp, turned purple, or showing any of the other signs of a break.
I still was not comforted, so I called my dad, who despite being an engineer has an extensive first aid knowledge. He assured me that it was not broken, but that it needed ice.
Finn looked at me with concern as I grabbed a nearby walking stick—I fell merely a few feet from where I kept it leaned against the wall. I reassured him that I would be back, and he calmly laid down his head.
I am certain that he understands my words when I talk to him.
Anyways I inched my way to the kitchen, and appraised myself of ice and a plastic baggie, and began the work of trying to fix my hurt ankle. I am certain that it was a sprain.
This hurting ankle has made me feel quite unlike myself. I cannot move as I wish, and I cannot play with my dog. I barely slept last night because I could not get comfortable. It was a new pain of a sort I am wholly unused to (except the last time Finn indirectly caused me to fall).
It is a great lesson in humility, and a reminder that migraines are not the only pain in the world, and that people the world over all have similar or different troubles and pains. In being forced, quite against my will, to taste of a new sort of pain, I have been reminded of the great value of empathy.
It is also a grand start to the Christmas season as I hobble about like Tiny Tim.