I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up: 5 Things I Obsessed About While Frozen In Pain On My Bathroom Floor

There I lay -- naked, alone in my apartment, as the Guy I Married was out doing something asinine like getting a PhD, and every attempt to stand up or even move was thwarted by shooting pain emanating from the right side of my back.
Publish date:
January 10, 2013
pain, injuries, falling, life alert

Accident-prone doesn't even begin to describe me.

If there's a precipice I can walk off of, or a shoe my toenail can get snagged on, I will promptly find it. So why was I surprised when I found myself lying naked on the floor of my bathroom frozen in pain?

I'm not entirely sure of what I did to myself this time. I think it is some sort of referred pain (I'm saying this like I fully know what it means) from an injury I sustained to my back and pelvis a couple years ago, when I fell off a horse. Essentially, the horse went one way, and I went another and I had to make a split second decision of whether to fall or be dragged. So I decided to fall. Onto my pelvis.

Ever since that fall, my hips, pelvis, back and left leg have never been the same. I joke that I have the body of a 70-year old and that "my next car will be a Rascal!" But when I found myself paralyzed in pain on my bathroom floor, I started to wonder if there is some truth to my hilarious joke.

I was getting ready to take a shower. I disrobed, turned on the water, went to the bathroom, and flushed the toilet. I approached my standard-issue apartment tub/shower unit and lifted my left leg (the one with all the nerve damage in it) to climb inside. About halfway up the side of the tub, something in my mid back tweaked. Screamed and stabbed is actually more accurate. My right leg crumpled and down I went.

There I lay -- naked, alone in my apartment, as the Guy I Married was out doing something asinine like getting a PhD, and every attempt to stand up or even move was thwarted by shooting pain emanating from the right side of my back.

I share with you, dear reader, my thoughts from the bath mat:

I really freakin' wish that I had washed this bath mat. Ever. I vacuum it, but I regularly fight phalanxes of roaches attempting to carry off my loved ones (cat, husband, TV) in the night and I'm sure they have pooped in this bath mat. I'm lying in roach poop and probably some cat vomit I only adequately cleaned up, and why the hell did I think that a yellow bath mat was a good idea?

A doctor once told me that I was too young to be this fragile. I went through a bone density test but never got the results because by the time the results were ready my insurance in LA had lapsed and I was already in Hawai'i. It was a whole debacle trying to find the test results via phone and email then. My current doctor requested the records but still no word. I need to raise a shit storm and get those records. I really really really need to be a grown up about this. They suspected that I had some early form of osteoporosis. Is that even possible? What if this is it?! IS THIS THE BIG ONE? Have my bones and nerves and cartilage and blood and guts been a ticking time bomb and I did one downward dog too many in yoga today which set off a chain reaction of spine crushing horror?

How long am I going to lie here? I need my legs to stand up but every time I move one of my legs, it sets off my back, which then makes me whimper in pain. I thought I had bucked the whole "dying alone in your apartment" thing when I got married. When I was living alone, I was so careful about chewing slowly so as not to choke and moving carefully so as not to slip in the bathtub. Have I gotten sloppy with my self-preservation? I always used to shower with my cell phone in reach, just in case. Currently my cell phone is in the living room with what sounds like the TV playing a rerun of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Is it possible for the bathroom to get so hot and foggy that I pass out and/or asphyxiate?

Shit nuts. I am genuinely afraid and a little irate. The very mature, "It's not fair!" is on rotation in my brain. A friend who is the same age as me recently told me how she was training for a marathon. I remember thinking, "Oh, that's so cool. I wish I could do that. But I can't." Pondering this now, I realize there's something screwy in that logic. I'm young, in relatively good shape and enjoy physical activity -- why not? Because I have this mental image of myself running in little shorts and a number on my back, slowly shaking apart with every pounding step on my frame. Running for any amount of time HURTS my hips and feet. I've broken all my toes and my left foot twice, so though I love my body, I'm not sure I trust it. I think my trepidation is half fear of pain and half fear of having to face the reality of my body's soundness head on. Is this a wake up call to stop avoiding things? (Yes).

I will never make a dumb joke about Life Alert ever again.

After what seemed like hours but was really only about 50 minutes (I know this because when I was mobile again I saw the tail end of that "Next Generation" episode, the one where Wesley sends Dr. Crusher into an alternate world where crew members keep disappearing), I was able to relax my back muscles enough to rock 'n' roll myself into a sitting, then standing position.

I was still in a lot of pain, and more than a little freaked out, but I did not die of asphyxiation or bath mat bacteria. I'm still hobbling around a little, and now and then I turn just so and my right leg crumples and I start to go down, but I can catch myself.

I actually have a doctor's appointment. I'm trying really hard to be an adult this and take care of my rickety body. Plus Life Alert seems like a pain to procure.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you been immobilized somewhere alone? Are you accident-prone, too? Do you have Life Alert?