My left leg has been spasming for five days.
It’s always in the same place, the thigh. The spams aren’t painful, but strong. They last for a few seconds, the longest has been close to thirty. Normally, my spasms come on quick and then they’re gone, fleeting and forgotten.
It’s been five days now, which is new for me. I don’t know if it’s the Multiple Sclerosis or the Cerebral Palsy as they both share spasms as part of their symptoms but as the MS is more prominent on the left side, I’m going to assume it’s the MS.
The spasms are usually a warning sign that something is coming, that I have to be ready. This afternoon, while I was walking with a co-worker, that something came in a big way.
We were walking and talking about books we love when my left leg gave out on me. I tried to right it and it caught on the sidewalk and then I was falling. It felt as if I was swimming through the air, everything seemed to move so slowly, as if the air had become water. At the same time, though, it felt like everything was happening too fast.
I had both arms outstretched, knowing that the best thing I could do was to just fall and not fight it. I saw a bike rack in front of me full of bikes and I hoped that I wouldn’t fall into that, that I would be spared that kind of pain.
Thankfully, my body finally did fall. It’s like it folded in upon itself. I landed hard on my left knee and ended up on my back staring at the sky. I saw a cloud that looked like a face looking down at me. Then there was the sound of footsteps. A man held his hand out on my left side and my co-worker held out her hand on the right.
I put both my corresponding hands in theirs and they pulled me upright. The man had kindness in his eyes rather than derision. He was still holding my hand as if he was afraid to let me go in case I fell again.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
“Yes, I’m fine.” That’s my normal response, even when I’m in pain, but it surprised me that I actually meant it. I wasn’t trying to brush him off.
“Are you sure your okay?” He asked again.
“Yes I’m okay. Thank you very much, though. You’re very kind.”
He smiled and then slipped away into the crowd of people walking away. My co-worker stood close to me. “You’re sure you’re all right? I saw you falling but wasn’t fast enough to stop you. I would have reached out and grabbed your hand.”
“I’m fine.” It surprised me how much I meant it.
As we returned to work, I reflected on what had happened. Normally, I would have walked away from anyone that had shown concern. I would have felt compelled to offer an explanation about the CP and the MS, some reason about why I fell. I would have been embarrassed and would have beat myself up for the rest of the afternoon and evening over something I have no control over.
Instead, this afternoon marks a turning point for me.
I accepted that kindness and didn’t jump to the conclusion that people were looking down at me. I let myself fall because it’s what the body needed to do instead of fighting it. And when I said I was okay, I wasn’t lying. I was actually okay; I was all right. I got back up and kept walking and did it with a smile on my face.
Sure, I’ll hurt later. But tomorrow is another day.