11th November 2002: Ow, plus being bitten by baggage

I hurt my arm. I fell over and landed badly, bruising my elbow and I must have really jarred my whole arm because my shoulder really hurts. Tiger Balm helped, and a hot bath helped, and sitting with a hot water bottle on it is helping, if making me a little Quasimodo as I sit at the computer, but essentially, it hurts. I haven’t done anything too terrible to it, because I still have full motion, and it isn’t swollen, but all the same, ow.

There’s snow and ice here — 25cm of snow in the last few days — but I am an idiot and fell getting off an inclined moving walkway. The bottom of it was just incredibly slippery, and I went down. I didn’t even have the choice I usually have when falling of putting my right foot down hard, thus hurting my leg, or going with the fall, which is usually the better option. This time I was sliding and landing before I knew it, which is probably why I landed badly, thinking about it.

I also felt like an idiot, down on the ground, not less because people immediately started fussing around and trying to help. My instinctive response to having fallen is to say “I’m OK, I’m OK, please don’t try to help me!” which is in some ways crazy — I was saying this while wondering if I’d broken my arm! But so many times I’ve gone over and people have been utterly well meaning but ended up hurting me more than the fall, that I have well developed reflexes. People trying to help want to grab my arms and heave, which forces weight onto my right leg when I’m not expecting it, or not centred, or not in balance. The best thing is for me to get up in my own time, using the cane and my left arm, and turning to push up. Someone holding my left hand and staying steady is a help, if I can trust them not to pull. Random strangers in the metro, well, experience tells me they’re likely to pull, not to listen to what I’m saying.

I had a problem getting up, with my left arm refusing to co-operate, but I did get up, and I am fine.

But maybe saying I’m fine as a reflex when I might not be isn’t such a good idea. In fact, it’s plainly stupid. I shouldn’t be so defensive about this stuff — even if I have the defenses for good reason, and even if the good reason still exists? I don’t know. Shields that have worked are far harder to put down than any other hang-ups, in my experience. I am really bad about asking for help and accepting help generally.

Then this was rubbed in again. I came home on the metro, standing up, holding on with my arm hurting, until some kind person (with absolutely gorgeous golden tight-braid hair extensions that really suited her) gave me a seat. This reminded me of a conversation I was having on rasseff with Rivka a while ago, about asking for seats on public transport, in which I said I could more easily imagine killing someone for a seat than asking for it. Indeed, I was standing there imagining killing the specific people sitting down, but utterly unable to contemplate asking them to get up.

The more I think about this as a problem, the more the solution is clear — I should be less defensive about asking for what I need. But the solution is also horrifying — good grief, I can manage! I’m not helpless! I can cope! I got home, didn’t I? No need to bother other people… This is the sort of baggage that doesn’t just come running after you when you try to check it, this is the kind that has teeth.

To prove I can ask for things, I just asked Zorinth if he’d help me put the clean sheet on the bed, because I don’t think I can manage it with my arm like this. He said of course he would.

Posted in Life as it blossoms out in a jar or a face