People use a variety of words to describe me: blunt, funny, liberal, sarcastic. Graceful is not one of them. I am clumsy, incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time. I’ve hidden it well throughout the years, but people who know me have witnessed the damage I’ve done to myself. Whether it is falling while stepping off an escalator, hitting my shoulder on a door frame that has been in the same place for 14 years, totally missing the chair behind my desk or running my bike into a tree, it has and does happen. I could lie and say it’s infrequent, but I have ‘mishaps’ daily and at least one major accident annually.

Knowing my hypochondriac tendencies, you might assume my mind went directly to suspicions of a neurological disorder, but this is one time I didn’t need to let my imagination run wild. The diagnosis was clear: I am a career klutz. It’s like having freckles, part of my DNA.

So, this September when I tripped and fell over my own two feet, ripping my very expensive blue jeans (in a flattering smaller size), I just assumed it was karma telling me not to spend so much money on clothing and to pay attention on uneven sidewalks. Most of the time, the embarrassment of these little events overshadows any real injury. Not this time. I actually hurt myself. You would assume with my love of everything medical, I would have seen a doctor pronto to fix what ailed me. Nah, not my style. Why would I use a medical professional when I actually need them? I’d much rather use them for something like Dengue Fever, even though I haven’t traveled outside the United States in ages.

So, I continued as if nothing had happened, even though every time I tried to take a deep breath, I struggled, and I couldn’t even lift my arms above my head. I was a very disagreeable person until my husband (I should add long-suffering) handed me the phone and said, “Call the doctor, I am taking you to see her.” A couple of dislocated ribs and a referral to an orthopedist later, it was clear I was not going to just bounce back from this injury. Wishing it away wasn’t going to work, either. (Adding insult to injury, I didn’t have a ‘better story’ than tripping in the middle of the day on a Kirkwood sidewalk. Lame.)

After an MRI and appointment with the orthopedist determined I needed surgery to fix the damage to my shoulder, I felt relief. Finally there was an end in sight for the pain—the physical pain, anyway. That was until I actually had the surgery and felt real pain. To give you an idea of what that felt like, well, like this: #$&*#!! So is there anything happy in this column? Absolutely! I have the funniest anecdotes to share with you in the future about surgery and rehab, including my doctor, Doogie Howser. And more important, I had plenty of time to come up with a better injury story: I hurt my shoulder while skiing in Gstaad. Haven’t been? You really must go. It is beautiful this time of year.

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