April 20th, 2002

3kitties

ramblings after hurting my arm


I've got a nasty very painful scrape on my left arm (which happens to be my Meghan-working arm). Mom fixed me up with good bandages, and I'm just lying low for a while. I don't know how cold it's going to be tomorrow--maybe cold enough for me to wear long sleeves, and if so I'll make it to church. I'm admitting to not wanting to be seen with this huge bandage outfit, mostly because I am really having a problem with people assuming I can't take care of myself and I don't want to reinforce perceptions that blind people are fragile. Anderson is not known for its vast population of blind people, and when I'm hurting is not the time to educate people. So I may do cyberchurch and see if a new friend will come sit with me for a while. The main part of my house is in relatively good shape--I can shut off the bedrooms.



A few weeks ago someone suggested that I look into hooking up with a Stephen minister. Stephen ministers are people who volunteer to be available to people during times of crisis, and someone must have picked up on my crisis signals. At the time I reacted to it like I reacted to the idea of seeing a counselor when I was a teenager. "Oh, great! An assigned friend." I got brave and talked with the Stephen Ministries coordinator (also the pastor's wife), and she encouraged me to try it and if it didn't work out I could drop out and nobody's feelings would be hurt.



So I swallowed hard and decided at least this might be a way I could get out and have a bite to eat with someone once in a while. It's turning out to be a very good thing. The lady is a wonderful person who knows how to be truly encouraging and get me to examine things without making me feel condemned, and she's very good about emailing and calling just to see how I'm doing and letting me know I can call her anytime I need anything. So maybe that's what I need to do right now. I just keep having visions of the first time I went to this church when I was assailed by an elderly greeter who didn't greet me but gave me a barrage of blindness questions. My mom said I should use it as a ministry opportunity. I didn't want to minister. I was new and scared and timid, and her job was to greet! And I should have the right to not want to talk about something. I'm thinking of Jesus going away to avoid the crowds when he needed his time with God--when he needed to be ministered to. If Jesus can go away, I should be able to seek solace in the church without having to always be exhibit A on blindness.



My first reaction to falling like that yesterday was thinking how often I've been losing my balance, tripping, etc., lately and how I don't know other blind people who fall over things all the time. In fact, I used to have fantastic balance, and on a lot of days I still do. I can start falling over something, do a little happy dance, and never miss a beat. But give me a migraine or a virus or "med head" and watch me lose it all. And I was scared because I fell in such a weird position and initially hurt so bad in so many places that I didn't know if I could get up. That's happened to me before, and I've always managed to get out of the situation. So I decided to just be there for a minute and think about what I was going to do. Worst of all no one was home downstairs. I could have yelled till I lost my voice, but nobody was going to hear, and that's a scary thought. And all this about falling over a sleeping dog!



Poor Meghan got through the ordeal with no problem, and she came around and started sniffing me and sort of hovering. I've noticed she hasn't slept in the hall anymore. I finally got up and migrated to the bed in the office, where the sheets are a bit softer, to wait and see which pain would subside and which would not. Then I discovered there was a lot of blood on my arm. So I went in and washed up and tried to find the place where I was bleeding. I couldn't, so I made a make-shift bandage (because I didn't have the real thing in the right size) and made sure the entire pain area was covered. Later (much much later), I took it off and there was still blood there. I went downstairs, and Mom had gone to bed by this time. I woke her up, and she had some disinfectant stuff and the kind of bandage I needed. I actually needed two of the big gauze things that you tape on. So I'm bandaged up to about two inches from my watchband. Yippee. And to top it off, my favorite way of getting out of bed is to roll over, lean on my left arm, stick my feet on the floor, and push up. Funny how I don't think about something like that until I suddenly can't do it.

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3kitties

more about my arm


Why don't I want people to see my arm? I think it's something about the fact that my fall happened because of my lack of reflexes more than because I was blind, but people will assume it was because I didn't see Meghan. I knew she was there, and I was even trying to avoid tripping over her. My parents have done similar things--my dad fractured his ankle when he tripped over one of the dogs while getting out of the recliner. In fact, I was sitting right there and he took the same sort of sprawling fall that I did. One of my pet peeves is when people assume that an injury I have is related to blindness when it often is not. This happens a lot, and I think it's this that I'm trying to avoid. Usually I'm not this sensitive about it, and I'm not sure why I'm being so withdrawn. I went out in public with patches on my eye after surgery. I've gone out with my front tooth shattered after I knocked it out while bending over to pick up something. It's not too uncommon for me to go out with wraps on my ankles if the old injuries flare up. So what's the big deal about my arm? Maybe I'm feeling unusually vulnerable right now? To be honest, I'm disturbed by my own reaction. I'm thinking about most of the people I know at church, and they would be nice andsympathetic (and I use sympathy as a positive term). But there are a few who would see it as something to back up their pity, and that's what I can't deal with right now. For some reason that is really really turning me off right now. I'm thinking of some specific people and some specific incidents, and I'll write about them later. (Going to go lay down right now.) I think it's not so much that I don't want to be seen as it is that I need to be uplifted and comforted when I'm seen right now.

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