...One must be so careful
re the disappearance of hope. A new illusion must present
iteslf immediately. When I pray now
this is what I pray for.

--Jorie Graham, "Praying (Attempt of April 19, 2004)"


Trip, stumble, fall

On Thursday afternoon, while walking to the Mission to meet Dana, I took Octavia, figuring that the newly paved sidewalk on the east side of the street would offer me a quick way to scoot down to Market. What I failed to take into account were the perplexing cement lips they've added to each sidewalk as it dips down to meet the road.

For some reason, though the contractors reworking the whole Octavia thing have added non-slip wheelchair ramps to the street edge of each sidewalk--ostensibly to make it easier to cross streets and access sidewalks safely--they've also added some kind of cement apron around each of these ramps, which means that if you *are* in a wheelchair, you must first surmount these ridges of pavement if you intend to make it onto the sidewalk. It all makes no sense to me, though perhaps there's some master plan at work here that will bring all of these weirdly disparate elements together as the boulevard project progresses.

At any rate, it was while approaching one of these yellow ramps and markedly not paying attention to the ground that I found myself taking a ridiculous tumble onto said ground at Haight and Octavia. It was truly a spectacular fall, landing me face-down on the sidewalk with everything splayed that could possibly be splayed.

I pushed myself up and, after a few moments of writhing in pain and assuring the young man who rushed up and offered to call me an ambulance that I was ok, managed to get back on my feet and limp down toward Market.

The fall left my knee wildly swollen, seriously and disgustingly bruised, and nastily scraped. It also gave me a decent raspberry on the palm of my right hand, which I'd used, evidently, to try to stop myself from meeting the pavement horizontally. So when I finally made it to Dana's office, I washed my cuts and iced my knee, and figured I'd be hobbling around for a day or two.

What I didn't expect, when I woke up on Friday, was that my right shoulder would be achy and tender. I guess I must've fallen on it somehow, or pulled a muscle in my failed attempt to maintain my balance--I really can't remember. But for a while, it hurt more than my knee.

Because I'm still (in fact, am always) on the quest to soothe the emotional bruises of Novemeber (which, even now, months gone, have resisted fading from purple to blue to yellow to nothing) through metaphor, I can't help thinking this: when you get injured, you can sort of prepare for the hurt that stems from the center of the wound, whether it's a wrecked knee or a cut finger or a broken arm.

But sometimes it's the stealth pain--the pain you don't anticipate, can't quite identify the cause of, aren't really ready for--that's much worse. It seems to take advantage of the fact that your attention and healing efforts are focused elsewhere, sneaking up to knock you backwards again just when you think the end of your malady is in sight.

So I woke up with a plan for my slightly mangled knee--ice, elevation, no runs for a few days--but had really no idea of what to do with my weirdly painful shoulder, and spent the day trying to work around it.

All of which frustratingly mirrors what it's like to wake up each morning prepared to stave off the thoughts and memories and disappointments I know are waiting for me throughout the day but fully unprepared to do battle with the new ones, the buried ones, the ones that seem to have come from nowhere. And it's these that keep me achy and stiff and too often fragile, despite my best and most wishful efforts at full rehabilitation.