Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Falling down the stairs

is how I started my first day of summer.

Scene: Living room, 9:30 am.

"Mijo, do you wanna go outside?"

Dog perks up his ears and trots over to me.

"Getcha leash!" I reach for my shoes, and pull my prescription out of my backpack. First on my list of business to take care of now that school is out: fill my scrip and take my much neglected dog to the dog park.

The dog is now panting and wagging his tail, as I snap his leash into place around his neck. Before heading out the door, I grab my to-go coffee and, since I'm feeling a little woozy from the last few days, a piece of cheese to fill my stomach.

We start out the door, the coffee and scrip in one hand, and my snack cheese in the other, the dog's leash looped around my forearm.

Normally, I let him charge down the stairs, not holding on to him. We live in a 3rd floor walk-up with one straight, steep staircase leading up to our front door. The 2nd floor neighbors have a dog too. My dog and their dog have a kind of Maggie Simpson-Unibrow Baby relationship. They bark at each other through the door, digging at the floor and making mean noises, even though if they were to actually see each other, they'd probably play all day.

So, for some reason, I am attached to Mijo's lease when we start down the stairs, and I'm still attached when he bounds down the staircase, literally leaping 3 steps at a time, to get to the 2nd floor landing where his arch-nemesis is waiting. I go tumbling down the stairs in slow motion, watching my coffee cup fly through dead air and land nearly at the bottom of the stairwell, and wondering whether I was going to end up there too.

But I landed, ironically, on the landing, screaming in pain because somehow I really hurt my knee in the whole process. Arch-nemesis dog is barking non-stop now and trying to dig his way to me from the crack under the door. My phone is upstairs on the charger, exactly where I left it, not having imagined I would need it for an emergency on my quick errand run. And Mijo has become suddenly stoic, perching himself on the edge of the landing, facing toward the bottom of the stairs and watching the legs of people walking by through the little window in the front door.

I laid there for about 10 minutes. First the pain was almost unbearable. But eventually, it subsided enough that I could think of other things, like whether I should try to call someone, or if I should go up or down. Finally, I stood up, prompting my dog to also stand up, tail tucked between his legs. He instinctively walked back up the stairs, knowing he had ruined our walk. And I followed him, slowly. We got back inside, and I crashed on the couch to sleep for 2 hours.

Now I'm sitting here icing my knee, wishing I had bought the health insurance and feeling sorry for myself. It could be worse. As T said, think of the kid who fell out of a tree on the first day of summer break and had his arm in a cast all summer and couldn't go swimming.

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