by Ladee Caid
Was I spoiled or low-balled
September 11th looms on our calendar reminding us of the shocking and unbelievable tragedy that shook our country almost two decades ago. This year, while the bygone calamity of 2001 played at the forefront of everyone's mind, I sat in a sterile Urgent Care room mourning my fractured 5th metatarsal: a misstep at work that had caused my bone to snap.
As I had loaded the company vehicle with hot meals, milk, and cold sides; I stepped wrong off of a landscaping railroad tie, and my foot rolled. I sat where I fell holding my breath to the pain. I waited until the crushing blow subsided, but the hurt didn't leave. How could a twisted foot that I'd experienced before be so painful this time? Because the discomfort never eased and a queasiness wracked my stomach, I knew something broke.
After an examination and an x-ray, I left the emergency room with light duty work instructions, a boot, and crutches.
Such a small injury had forced me to change my life. The snapped bone no bigger than a straw determined my every move and weighed in on my thoughts of action. Okay, I may have been exaggerating about the 'every move.' I could lift my glass and swallow without asking my injury's permission. However, almost everything I wanted was over there, in the next room, at the store, everywhere but at the tips of my fingers.
My metatarsal's fissure reminded me of a newborn. I couldn't do anything or go anywhere without babying my foot and taking extra gear with me. On the good side of the situation, my injury was quiet. I had no pain unless a touch provoked the wound. However, minimal pressure was needed to send my consciousness a stabbing reminder. My breath hitched at a fat water drop landing on that critical spot.
I so wanted to slip my foot into a nice comfy tennis shoe and be the carefree I'd been before September 11th. I craved standing on both feet with equal pressure. I desired to take a walk around my block. I fancied peddling away on my bicycle. I coveted tromping to the store because I thought of something to buy.
Being clever and independent at work, I hung a bag around my neck to carry my wants and needs, but my bosses waggled their fingers. I'd been pinned to the corner of my office by doctor instructions, and the supervisors verbally tethered me to my chair.
Thoughts swirled in my head. Gah, I want coffee. Who will fill the java machine with water? Who will carry the H2O back to my office if I sneak a hobble to the kitchen on my crutches? Do my clunky, extra legs even permit stealth? Who will take my keys and grab the mail? Won't catering to my every need get old for my co-workers? "Excuse me, could you stop what you are doing and act as I bid?" Will people hide when they hear me coming or pretend not to be near when I call?
I've heard that every situation has an upside. I've expressed the blah; I suppose I should find the positive. Hmmm, on the plus side, I've gotten new apparel. I've been fitted with one massive, black boot that rivals the girth of Neil Armstrong's moon shoe, and I have two new legs that stick out from my armpits like buttresses. I receive a lot more attention than I ever thought I wanted, and I have an excuse for being lazy. However, the biggest, most positive change to have come from my set back is that I'd quit smoking.
Next year, when 9/11 comes around again, will I think of my foot? Would I have even remembered the date of my injury had my accident not happened on a pronounced day? What differences will have been rooted in my existence because of this change? Will I be happy about what I've become, or will I find regrets? The year will tell.