June 1st, 2002
Written by: Irwin, Linda
Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis
OUR SUNDAY MORNING ride to church held anticipation of enjoying the warm and sunny day with an afternoon stroll. At church, I rode the elevator down to the choir room, put on my robe, picked up my music, and headed up to enter the church with the choir. The new shoes I was wearing seemed quite comfortable and I was pleased with my purchase. I turned left, navigated two steps, and walked the short distance to my place in the choir pew.
Suddenly, my right foot slid off the edge of the riser, twisted, and down I went-in front of God and everybody!
There I was, a klutz in a dress..unable to get myself up. I tried to cover whatever might have become uncovered in the fall. I didn't know whether to smile or take a bow! Was it the shoes? Was the carpet slippery? Did I feel rather foolish? No, no, and yes! My ankle swelled up quickly. It was obvious that a professional opinion was necessary, so we headed for the emergency department at the hospital.
The Waiting Game
First, we had to complete the paperwork; then came the waiting. After my necessary information was entered into the computer, I then received X-rays. Then we were sent to an examination room and waited some more. From behind the curtain, a nurse appeared.
She looked at us, said "Oh," and left. We wondered what "Oh" meant! Then the doctor arrived. He pronounced my ankle sprained and my ligaments torn. I was told I had done "a good job." I took that to mean I had accomplished an above par, top-notch sprain.
Next on the agenda, the nurse fitted my ankle and leg with a splint. Then came one pill for swelling and another for pain. I turned down the pain pill. "But the doctor ordered it," said the nurse. "Thankfully," I said, "I'm not in pain." I smiled. She huffed and disappeared. We waited.
Twenty minutes later she reappeared carrying crutches. "These will help you move around by taking the place of your injured ankle," she said. She was already flustered by the pain pill conversation, so I felt that listening politely and offering a sincere "thank you" would be the quickest way out of there. Yeah, right!
She proceeded. "I will demonstrate the correct method of crutch walking." I had never used them and thought her idea had some merit. After all, it couldn't be that difficult. It's not as if I was in a pass or fail situation.
After her presentation, it was my turn. I tried. First the nurse said, "Oh, dear." I tried harder. Then it became, "Oh, my!" I was putting forth as much effort as I could. She then stated, "You must balance as you walk." I felt compelled to define my version of the "The Fine Art of MS Navigation."
"It has been my experience that 'balance' and MS are not synonyms," I quipped. The nurse's next huff had an irritated ring to it.
She turned to my husband. "Will you be nearby to assist her?" Trying to reassure her and inject some humor into the situation, he said with a smile, "I promise to follow her day and night, in the cold, rain, and snow, wherever she goes!" She looked at him, issued a final huff, and left. We waited. Ten minutes passed.
No one appeared.
We left. The crutches would permanently reside in the dark recesses
of our storage closet. I had not passed "crutch walking" and had no desire
to retake the test. A klutz in a dress and on crutches is yet another accident
waiting to happen!
© 2002 Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis