From Gunslinger to Percocet.

by Joanna D.

For one day, I’m in the zone; feein’ the groove. Working with my body and my body responding in a positive, receptive way. Conjuring up images of gunslingers and action films. Badass. Excited about this feeling and the movability in my body, the breath, the flow. The next day I fall down some stairs and thrash up my leg. What would the gunslinger do? The action hero? My Dad would probably wrap it up in some duct tape. Actually gave that a good amount of thought… do we even have duct tape here?

This is how it went.
The cafe at which I am working, has a “trap” door leading to the kitchen in the basement. A common thing in Philly as it seems the entire city is built on stairs. It’s also where our stock is located so there are frequent trips up and down; opening and closing of the door/floor. Time to start getting it done… closing duties. Stocking the front of the house was number one on my list. Coming up with arms full of water bottles and soda cans left no hands for closing up the floor. Coming back around the counter with a plate and a couple other things, forgetting there was no floor there, I walked right into it. Like a scene from a Charlie Chaplin film. Everything I was holding crashing down into the basement. Including my phone. Fuck.

I caught myself with my arms rather than plummeting all the way to the base of the wooden stairs. OMG!? I’m thinking… everything ok? Quickly scanning my arms, hands, the broken dish and smashed phone at the base of the stairs, great. Curious about the slight stinging sensation and small trickle of blood coming out from under the cuff of my jeans… hmmm… must have scraped my shin a little on the way down. I roll up my pant leg and what do I see? Bone. Instant shock. That’s not real.

The chain of thoughts that came next…
OMG, OMG. That’s not real. Shit. That did not just happen. THIS IS SERIOUSLY GOING TO MESS WITH MY PRACTICE!! How am I going to practice with that? I hope it’s not broken. Am I going to the hospital? Do I need to go to the hospital? OMG, this did not just happen. I wish I had ridden a bike today. Could I make it on a bike? I don’t think I can make it walking. Maybe I don’t really need to go to the hospital. Shit. Call Liza (my friend and roommate). Maybe she can come get me. Do I really need to go? Looking down again at the gash exposing the bone. Yup.

After hobbling the rest of the way down the stairs, retrieving and reassembling my phone I call Liza:

Me: Hey Liza, how are you? What are you doing?
Liza: I’m at work.
Me: Are you busy?
Liza: Getting ready to head out here soon… what’s up?
Me: Well, I fell down the stairs at work and cut open my shin and can see the bone and… and…
Liza: Like a rockstar, totally calm and clear… Joanna, I think you should call an ambulance. Hang up the phone, call an ambulance, go to the hospital and keep us updated. It’s going to be ok.
Me: Ok. I will. I’m going to call them right now… I might need a ride later.

Of course they are awesome and have totally been there for me. That’s the plus of being around good people.

The ambulance came. At this point the pain was starting to set in. Attempting to keep my sense of humor in tact I asked the paramedics if it was a legit injury. They assured me it was. Between bursts of laughter and the explosions of tears, most of what happened after that is a bit of a blur. Especially once I was given the morphine. The cycle through absolute panic, anxiety and laughter kept things interesting. This is really the last thing I need to deal with right now. Or ever. All the work done to remove obstacles, clear the path for practice, and they keep coming! Is this what would have happened to the main character? To the gunslinger? Perhaps. It’s not like they dodge every bullet, right? Even they get hit once in a while; need a day or two to recover, heal, lay low. The rad part is I have the ability to write my own ending to this scene. The narrow escape, the mighty save. It could have been so much worse and I’m grateful it wasn’t. It’s going to heal. Not really looking forward to modified practice slowing the momentum for a while or the massive scar over what my mom says were once beautiful legs. Perhaps it will make me a quicker ninja, a faster gunslinger… a more patient yogi.