Paralyzed

On the way home from work one day 10 years or so ago, I decided to pick up a burger for supper, so I drove through the new Dairy Queen and grabbed a cheeseburger value meal with a root beer. I’m a fan of DQ’s cheeseburgers because they’re super cheesy, and they don’t force me to pick off a salad’s worth of soggy vegetables before I take my first bite. (I get all the vegetables I need with the ketchup.) After taking a long pull on the root beer, I headed home to get comfortable and gobble down my heart attack starter kit before it got cold.

 

A few minutes later, I pulled into my garage and let the door down behind me. I gathered my food and went inside, anxious to plop down in my recliner and watch 56 high definition inches of Andy Griffith as I shoveled the nutritional garbage into my face. As I passed my kitchen table, I sat everything down before turning to go to the fridge for the ketchup because there was no point in fumbling with those little packets when there’s a gallon of the red stuff in the fridge. I took one step away from the table, and I suppose the gravitational pull of the burger tugged me backward just a touch because I lost my balance and fell backward like a sequoia.

 

I fell for what seemed like a week, but thankfully the ceramic tile was there to break my fall. You’d probably think that a fall on something as hard as tile would hurt, but you’d be right. When my head whipped back and slammed down onto the hard floor it reminded me of an instance right after my parents built our house in Louisville. Their electrician wired the outside outlets wrong and when I opened the cover on one of them, for some reason I couldn’t let go of it or speak or control my bladder until mom pulled me off of it.

 

I laid there on the kitchen floor on my back looking at the ceiling wondering where I was and if I was alive. As my systems came back online one by one, I started looking around surveying the situation. At first, I couldn’t feel my legs. Then, I looked to my left and right and couldn’t see my arms. If I’d had enough sense, I’d have started yelling that I knocked my arms and legs off. However, a few seconds later I saw my arms coming from over my head back down by my sides, and I calmed down, relieved that they were still attached. I still couldn’t feel them or make them move when and where I wanted them to go, but at least they were there.

 

Once I was about 80% cognizant of my current situation, I started wondering who I was going to call to come help me up and how I was going to make the call. For reasons only Jesus knows, my Bluetooth earpiece was laying right beside my head and I called a friend that lived just a couple streets over to come peel me off the floor and give me an I-saw-this-on-ER-one-time concussion test. He concluded I was fine and I should just rub some dirt on it. I figured he knew what he was talking about, so I decided to eat my cold, greasy food and take a nap to try to get rid of my splitting headache.

 

The next week was awful. My headache wouldn’t go away, so I finally went to the doctor and had a cat scan which cleared me from having any inner-noggin boo boos. With no signs of damage to treat, the doctor just gave me some really groovy narcotics and told me to take it easy for a week or so. I took his advice to the nth. If a man of medicine tells me to lay around the house for a week and be sure to take all my painkillers, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

 

After that week was up, I was ready to get back to real life, but not because I felt much better. There’s just only so much Playstation and Beverly Hillbillies a guy can take before needing a change of venue. So, after a little over a week, I went back to work. By about 8:30 that first morning I started wondering if I’d made a mistake, though. I almost fell out of my desk chair for no reason other than my sense of balance had apparently been doing shots of tequila with a two-toothed hooker somewhere behind a dumpster in Juarez. Despite that near disaster, I pushed on trying to overcome my wonkyheadedness by sheer force of will and made it through the rest of the day.

 

My dizzy spells continued for about 6 years after the fall, but my headache went away a little quicker. A few days after returning to work–I can’t remember why–I took a sinus pill and my week long headache went away as my sinuses started draining. After all the suffering and narcotic-based constipation and insomnia, the last several days of headaches were apparently sinus based. When I fall, I don’t crack my skull; I get the sniffles.

 

I’m just glad I didn’t knock my arms off when I fell.

 

 

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