so i fell down

i tripped and fell on my long run today. i was on a dirt path in a garden area, must have been a root or a bit of stone. tripped, one knee went down, then the hand, then the other knee, the hand, then flat on my chest taking the worst of it on my breastbone.  stunned, i rolled onto my back and just hung there for a second. then sat up. now fully covered in dirt, front and back. sat for a bit to determine that i hadn’t broken anything. that i was “OK”. in a touristy area of the city, billion people around. no one came to help. no one said “are you ok?” maybe no one speaks the language, and really if someone falls and they’re not granny, if they’re a runner and they seem to be getting up, maybe you just leave them to it, figuring they’re embarrassed enough already.

i’m covered in dust front and back. my left hand is cut open in 5 places, both knees skinned but i don’t want to look down, just don’t need to see it. i have no money and i’m not unwell enough to get a taxi and pay once i get home. i walk home, 18 minutes, first feeling gigantically sorry for myself — nearly teary — i check that my engagement ring on my left isn’t also mangled as my fingers are. my ring is fine. i think i might cry about how my ring could have gotten damaged. i don’t cry. i keep walking. after about 5 minutes of walking the shock has worn off. i realize i’m lucky that it’s not cold outside cuz i’m sweaty and that shit would get cold quickly. i’m lucky it’s not raining. i’m lucky that nothing is broken, that i’m not ‘hurt’ just scraped.

and i try to figure out ‘why’ this has happened.  If everything happens for a reason, or if a lesson can come from everything, then why did this happen. OK, perhaps 7 minutes after the event isn’t the time to try to figure that out.  i keep walking. i put the ipod shuffle earphones back in my ears, listening to an NPR podcast about Mormon missionaries.

my husband is really terribly squeamish, so i open the front door and say “i fell down. don’t look.” i lie on the spare bed, which can get dirty (versus the couch), and i wait to feel like getting undressed, into the tub. the tub is raised a bit, is in fact hard to get into and out of without good use of both hands. the water stings. i clean myself as much as i feel like, and then decide that absent gravel or glass in these cuts, they’re just going to be a bit dirty, too bad. i pour mercurochrome-equivalent on both knees, one hand, husband uses bandaids to stick make-up remover pads to my knees. that’s the extent of our first aid kit. i get into my pyjamas, he helps me put on my socks.  he makes me lunch, he goes to the bakery to get me cake. i prop myself on the spare bed and watch a cooking show on the computer screen.

and i think:

‘god i’m tired. what is it about getting hurt that makes you want to sleep. i think it’s the wanting to hide. and you know without booze, which used to be my favorite place to hide, i now don’t have many ways of hiding. running is one place i can hide, usually, get into a zen state, lose track of real life. unless i fall down, and then i’m jolted back into real life kind of abruptly. i think sleep is where i hide now. well good. i’m ok with that. it’s restorative, productive, and safe. there are no side effects from sleeping. so what if i’m hiding, i fell down for fuck’s sake.’

i also think the sudden onset of fatigue is a physiological response to a spike in adrenaline, it’s the other side of the spike, the crash of adrenaline. of course, what the fuck do i know, i’m not a doctor. i didn’t even google it. i just make that shit up.

so why did i fall? no good reason. what did i learn? that i’m surprisingly tough, that our bodies are quite tough, that we can take scrapes, breaks, bruises, bangs, and we can heal ourselves.  that it takes cake, cooking shows on tv, and sleep to solve problems (at least for me, at least for now).

i learned that in no way, shape, or form would having a drink aide me now. it would be like taking my swollen baby finger and then slamming it in a car door.  drinking right now would be like slamming my LIFE in a car door. so instead i am going to roll over in the dirt, check that i’m ok, and i’m going to get up and keep going.  i may go slowly at first, but then i’ll go more quickly. yes it stings. parts are swollen. it’s not all-right. but what are the alternatives? lie in the dirt forever?


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • I tripped and fell while running 2 days ago! Aaand I ended up biting the dust right as a double decker bus of tourists drove by, surely getting a good laugh at my expense. I got a skinned knee and elbow, but I finished my run. Previously I may have told myself that I “deserved” a drink for enduring the embarrassing fall but instead texted my mom, turning the whole thing into a joke to make her laugh.

  • i’m here, asking if you’re OK! Sure, a day late and more than a dollar short but i’m glad to hear you’re out of the woods and out of the dirt. Sometimes we have to pick ourselves up to remind ourselves we don’t need others to do it for us. ;- )

    • you are adorable, thank you I’m doing ok. I’m improving a bit each day. thankfully there’s a big difference between Hurt and Sick. Hurt means i am steadily improving. today I will put on pants for the first time. and I will go outside! (we need groceries!) And yes, sometimes we do pick ourselves up … good reminder : )

  • I’m sorry you fell down and equally sorry no one asked if you were okay. I felt like I was there with you – you did a fantastic job with the details and feelings and thoughts that were going through your mind. You’re a tough one, and I especially like how you went home and took it easy and let your husband take care of you too. This kind of strength feels harder to tap into at times, but it seems the best kind. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    • thank you for your kindness. and i’m lucky that my husband, while squeamish, is a good caretaker if the requests are simple enough. go buy me cake. make lunch please. help me put on my socks : )

  • Falling bangs and jars everything and hurts for days after in ways that we don’t expect it to. Good for you for keeping it together and making it home clearly and safely. Gotta love a hubby that comes thru like yours just did. The finger analogy rocks the house.

    • thankfully today I feel about 50% better. Though I just took a shower and then had to rest a bit! a weird bit of random good luck. one of my catering clients has asked if she can come and be my unpaid sous chef on Wednesday for this week’s catering… gotta love when help arrives out of nowhere! : )

    • a great perception on life might be the only gift from yesterday. well, that and a rest, and cake, and the discovery of a new cooking show in Australia with LOTS of episodes to keep me entertained for awhile. today is better. it’s just a ‘bump in the road’ (hahaha so not funny). all is well.

  • Sorry you fell and are hurt. My pop always told me to “rub some dirt in it” when I got a scrape. Course, he was an alcoholic too, so….I guess cake is just as good. :- )
    Get better soon and get back on that horse and ride it.

  • Oh Belle…sorry to hear.. ouch sounds hard. Love how you dug deep and managed.. love that you felt the grit and strength that you had to deal with that… sending love xxx

  • ouch, if there was an unlike button I’d click it… Hope you’re not feeling too bruised and battered. Just eat cake and sleep now! I liked the comparison between drinking and slamming your fingers in a door – it made a lot of sense to me.