I was in a perfectly straight line, flat on my back, half in, half out of our powder room, with my head and shoulders resting on the seat cushion of my wheelchair. The cushion had slid with me and I’m sure it had protected my head and neck from hitting the hardwood floor of the hallway. This mishap occurred on election night. My husband Michael came in the front door, saw me, dropped his briefcase and computer in the kitchen, and rushed over. My husband helped me get back into my wheelchair, pushed me into the powder room where I had been headed for my pre-vote pit stop, and before I even got up I was down on the floor again.
I started to cry while Michael stood over me and pronounced that he could not get me up and was dialing 911. He told me to get a grip. I did not appear injured and at least I had all my clothes on! As I laid there, my daughter Hannah appeared, with an “oh there’s mom on the floor again" look. At least she inquired about my wellbeing and from my prone position I reassured her I was OK. Then, without skipping a beat, she inquired if I thought she had too much eye shadow on. She leaned over me so I could get a closer view and we briefly discussed the concept of how less is sometimes better than more.
As we waited for reinforcements to arrive, I remembered a summer when I had found myself in a similar situation. At the time I had a substitute aide, a woman of great proportion with tattooed eye brows. With the help of my petulant daughter, she dragged me out of the very same powder room and deposited me back in my chair. I was unhurt, but badly shaken. Hannah, sporting the same exact mom-on-the-floor look she had tonight, announced that she was going swimming. Then the aide asked if I knew that she worked in a strip club when she wasn’t doing home care. The timing was perfect: My mind immediately switched from self-pity to bizarre fascination.
As I remembered this fond memory, the EMTs arrived and quickly had me back in my chair. God bless them! They even told me to never hesitate to call. I pulled myself together; Michael and I voted; we grabbed a bite to eat and returned home to watch the returns. Hannah came in and joined us. It was as if the evening’s earlier events had never happened. I don’t know about you, but falling to me is one of the most frightening aspects of having MS. Injury, embarrassment, loss of control and that nagging little thought that a fall could happen any time, any where even on a good day. But, on the other hand, my family’s ability to take such mishaps in stride reminds me that life does not stop for MS. Maybe it pauses sometimes, but it does not stop. And even from the floor, life can be interesting. A strip club?