Before I got sick in January, I had a fall down the back steps in my apartment building. I was taking out the trash and was coming back inside. It’s a relatively small flight of nine steps but the stairs are narrow. I took a step down and another and then I fell down the rest of them. I landed hard enough to cry out and I bruised my backside. For days, I had trouble walking and alcohol made it worse. My left leg became heavy when I drank.
My hands were numb for days and I kept dropping everything. I was taking Ibuprofen for the pain but the numbness wouldn’t go away. I thought the fall happened due to my Cerebral Palsy. However, two weeks later, on December 31st, I woke up with MS. It took a while for the actual diagnosis, but the fall preceded the moment my life changed and became what it is now.
Yesterday, I thought I’d be active while I had the energy and take out the garbage and recycling. Stairs are still a problem for me but I’m especially careful on these stairs. I don’t trust them. I know that I should probably wait for someone else to take the garbage out, but none of my other neighbours ever empty anything. Someone has to do it.
I was coming back in with the empty garbage can and took a step down. I was trying to be careful but my foot slipped out from under me, exactly as it had done last year. Several thoughts ran through my head at once: This was the exact same place I had fallen, I was doing the same thing, wearing the same boots, everything was the same.
The garbage can flew out of my hands and I reached out wildly for the railing and was able to grab hold of it. My fall was more of a gentle slide this time and I only went down a few steps. I sat there on the steps wondering if it was all happening again.
The fact that it had happened the same way caused me to flashback to last year. I forced myself to take deep breaths and to stay calm. I got up and took out the recycling, going around the front of the building this time to avoid those stairs.
All though out the day, I waited. I don’t know what I waited for, be it numbness, pain, but there was nothing. When nothing happened, the flashbacks that filled my head went away. I was able to carry on with the day, to go to class and get out, to not be afraid.
Through out today, I’ve waited again for a sign of something going wrong or something waiting to happen but I’ve been spared this time. I think the thing to remember is that I can’t wait for something to happen, or I will shut myself away again.
The fall wasn’t the same, flashback or not. I’m a different person, a stronger one.
Every time I fall, I have to get back up, I have to keep going because there is still so much life left to be lived.