Okay, well, I have to admit, I’ve always been a bit clumsy.
It comes and goes, so when I’ve bumped into something and got a nasty bruise in return, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll probably hit it at least 3 times more within the next 48 hours or so. Just my subconscious self reminding my conscious self what they can do to one another, kinda like an internalised stand-off or something.
I remember sometime in my late teenage years, finding a report my own mother filled out when I was in Kindergarten, and feeling slightly hurt at the comments at first, then realising that she was absolutely right. For some reason or another, she was acting as a gym monitor for us, and what she wrote was that basically, I was a clumsy, uncoordinated child.
Something that I have learned from being a clumsy person is pretty good balance and how to shift my weight to catch myself when I am falling or whatever. One icy winter in DeKalb, I went to visit Yves at his house between classes, backpack slung over my shoulder. Approaching the little concrete porch in front of the front door, my feet hit some hidden ice, and I fell forward towards the porch. Somehow, I managed to get my backpack between me and the concrete, and the thing that was bruised most of all was my ego. From what I remember, Yves wasn’t home, so, unless one of his neighbours was spying at me from behind closed curtains, no one saw me do that. Phew.
A few Thursdays ago, I was home alone, doing my normal Thursday routine. I’d eaten my breakfast and read the Press online, checked my Facebook and email, and that was that; it was shower time.
The shower was fine. Sometimes it can get a little slippery in there when shampoo or liquid soap gets between your feet and the tiles in the shower, but normally it’s pretty good.
Now, our ensuite bathroom has a double walk-in shower. The shower heads are on opposite sides of the shower with a small shelf in between on the far wall. The shower wall facing the bathroom itself is glass up to about 6 feet / 1.8 meters tall in a metal frame. The full glass door fits neatly into this frame, but the frame surrounds the outer edge of the door on the top, bottom and side so water doesn’t leak out.
Noel and I never shower together or use the shower head closest to the door. We only use the far shower head. I think this is because it is enclosed so tends to be slightly warmer (even though it’s on the corner of the house).
I finished my shower and grabbed my towel. After drying myself down and squeegeeing the glass, I wrapped my towel around me and went to exit the shower. Bear in mind that the floor at the door-end of the shower was not wet.
I pushed the glass door open, but found myself slipping, with my head moving backwards and my feet slipping out towards the door. Somehow, my balance kicked in, I righted myself, but I slipped again, and started falling head-first and sideways out the shower door.
My hands grabbed the door, trying to steady myself, but I managed to rip the glass door clean off the hinges in the process. My body hit the floor, cushioned slightly by the floor towel, with my legs knocking over all the large shampoo and liquid soap bottles on the shower floor, and my midsection landing squarely on the metal frame around my right lower rib and right kidney areas. My right arm protected my head from hitting the tiled floor. In the process, the glass door came free from my hands, but I caught it before it hit the ground.
Normally, I would’ve panicked or been upset or really angry with myself, but I think years of earthquakes have drummed that level of emotional shock out of me.
Laying on my side, half in the shower, half out of the shower, holding a rather heavy glass door, my mind struggled on what to do next. It did know not to panic.
First, I looked at my lower rib / kidney area. Not bleeding. Good sign.
Second, I wiggled my toes and moved my legs. Not broken, not bleeding. Good sign.
Third, I looked at my arms. Not broken, not bleeding. Another good sign.
Fourth, I looked at the glass door. Slightly chipped with some small shards of glass on the floor, but it was amazingly in one piece, and even more, amazingly very heavy.
I laid there for about five minutes, or what seemed like five minutes, trying to figure out what exactly to do with the door. In the end, it was propped against one of the sinks with the bottom propped against the wall until I could stand up. (Unfortunately, I managed to scratch the mirror above the sink in the process.)
After I secured the door against the wall, I got upset and started to cry. It actually gave me a delayed fright, and I landed with quite a thud. My side was quite sore, and I wondered if I should seek help from Carolyn or Judith, one of neighbours home during the day, or should call an ambulance. Again, I knew I hadn’t broken anything, but I have to admit that I was analysing whether or not I might be bleeding internally. Having a look in the mirror, I saw my lower rib / kidney area was red but it didn’t look like it was bruising.
No, there wasn’t an earthquake. No, I wasn’t drunk. No, I didn’t have a seizure or dizzy spell. The only thing we could think of, analysing it a few days later, was I had some shampoo or soap on my foot and slipped.
Eventually, Noel made his way home (after I had called him and told him the story), and he helped me put the shower door back into the frame. The door’s hinges were fine; they only needed to be snapped back into place. The frame needed a little bending, but it too was okay.
He looked at my side where I landed and said a bruise was coming up. I had a look at it and the voice of Nurse-Mom came into my head, that, of course it was going to bruise and I’m fine.
We went out and bought anti-slip mats for the shower, with Noel asking me, “Are you sure you’re okay? Do you need to see the doctor?” with me being the stubborn German that I am, replying, “Nah, I’m fine.”
Over the next few days, I found myself moving slower than usual. Climbing stairs was quite the painful little chore. James and a few other people said they couldn’t believe I didn’t take the day after off from work to recover (and I did need that, I found out on the weekend, because I slept something like 12 hours each Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night, and I had a nap on Saturday).
And the bruise? It was magnificent.
So… now every time I get into the shower or bathroom, I move like a little old man. Seriously!