So here I am, sitting halfway up the stairs. But unlike Kermit the Frog or the little mouse with clogs on, just now, I don't have a choice. I feel a little faint and sweat is rolling from my forehead and down my face. My impetus is to throw a fist at the wall but that would be stupid. I'm going to need my hand and arm any minute now.
After about ten minutes I give it another go. I wipe my perspiring palm on the leg of my shorts, and reaching up to the handrail I get a grip. The handrail creaks as I strain to drag myself up another step.
I'm suffering what could be called a shopping injury. Because I need new shoes at an alarming rate (this is not some kind of Candace Bushnell need of new shoes, this is the fact that my twisted and deformed feet need new shoes every six weeks or so. The strange way my weight and balance works means two things : I more or less require shoes in order to remain upright and even the strongest shoes cannot put up with the unusual loads they are asked to bear. They quickly become misshapen and as twisted as my feet. Once they start to go they are useless. They begin to look like they have been chewed by some monstrous jaw and even to put them on causes me excruciating pain) I had been shoe shopping.
Shoe shopping It's a drag. The taking on and off of different pairs of shoes over a short period of time is not my main idea of fun. One the whole I would rather be relaxing in a jacuzzi with the charming failed-Maria Siobhan, or something. To put my feet into even one pair of shoes that doesn't fit is a guarantee of what I call payback pain. Several pairs and I know the payback will become exponential. Yet it has to be done. A boy needs shoes.
What I did next was, admittedly, pretty stupid. I went to visit a friend to collect a heavy box she was saving for me. I insisted on carrying it down the stairs. With my year-long right ankle cartilage injury and my propensity for easy foot injuries this was not a good idea. Trying to carry the box and go downstairs whilst trying to remain standing proved a little too much for me. The payback pain was starting to kick in and my feet were not responding to messages from my brain. I slipped. Here it gets confusing. My right foot and ankle is traditionally my 'good side'. However, since the injury my left side is my good side. Neither is good really. I just have to walk on whichever foot is least painful that day. My left foot slid over the edge of the step and bumped down two more steps. This twisted my right foot and ankle and both my knees. All of which are pretty fragile even when I am doing something less strenuous than slipping on stairs (like laying down, or relaxing in a jacuzzi with Dr Cameron , or something).
After extricating myself from the precarious contortion I loaded the box into the car and went home. I took off my shoes and relaxed, watching TV. But then I need the toilet. Getting off the sofa....well, I couldn't really. Both my feet were dead. My ankles were screaming like someone was attacking them with a drill and my knees were howling their swollen, strained distress. Nothing worked. I ended up on the carpet from where I began my worm-like journey upstairs.
At the bottom of the stairs I endeavoured to sit on the third step and use the wall and handrail to hoist myself upright. This, I managed, but only for long enough to get me to the fourth step. Then I made for the fifth by trying to boost myself with my feet whilst hoisting myself with my arms. It's hard to describe the confluence of pain this caused. I broke out in a sweat and began to feel a little queasy. Again. I managed three more steps.
Which is where we came in.
These are the moments that people don't see. These are the moments that I don't allow people to see