I have resolved that it is better to be late to work once in a while than to sustain bodily injury. In my endeavor to be a good and reliable employee, I did just that last September.
I was running errands on my lunch hour but somehow was delayed. I knew as I pulled into the parking lot at work that it was going to be very close if I made it on time at all, and since I was running behind, all of the spaces near the building were occupied, so I had to park in the back forty. I parked the car as quickly as I could, and I left the items I was going to take inside with me in the car so that the extra baggage wouldn’t slow me down. I walked as fast as I could without breaking into a run.
The door was in sight; all I had to do was clear the curb up onto the sidewalk and I would be inside in five seconds. And then that horrible sensation – you know the one – the feeling of falling, and for a split second you wonder if you can prevent it. But you can’t, and you don’t. And then there you are sliding ignominiously across the sidewalk.
In my characteristic style in such events, I bounced up as quickly as I went down. The purpose of that, of course, is to attract as little attention as possible. The hand and the knee that took the brunt of the fall were throbbing intensely, but that was not my main concern. Other than still trying to make it through the door on time, my greatest distress was that the contents of my purse were now scattered all over the ground. I clutched my purse, scanned my card to gain entry into the building, took a quick glance to see if anyone had witnessed the incident (miraculously, I spotted no one), and I limped inside. I was surprised that there also was no one inside to witness the spectacle. Everyone was already back to work.
I made three trips back outside to gather the objects from my purse with my injured hand as I had to keep my other hand clean. I placed the paraphernalia on the table inside the door beside my purse, and then I had to make an equal number of trips to transport everything to my desk. My lip gloss and tissues were hopelessly dirty and went directly into the garbage. The items that I couldn’t throw away were arranged carefully on napkins spread out on my desk. My phone, driver license, keys, and my mini alcohol spray bottle were among the objects waiting to be sanitized. And then came the spraying – a lot of spraying. I didn’t finish until shortly before five o’clock. In the meantime, I also had to spray my injured hand, which, of course, took priority and I did much more quickly.
As if that huge hassle was not enough to deter me from being late (or at least from walking recklessly), an hour after my fall, I had another unexpected episode. I decided to cross my legs to relieve the pressure on my wounded knee, and I felt a snap. It was excruciating – much worse than the initial injury. I was beside myself with pain, but I bit my lip until it eased up. So far everything had gone unnoticed, and I didn’t want to ruin that.
It didn’t register right away what had happened, and, no, I did not go to a doctor, but I am fairly confident in saying that a tendon or ligament ruptured when I crossed that leg over. My knee hurt for six months whenever I bent it too far or put any pressure on it. I was grateful that I could walk without a limp and relatively pain free after the first couple of days.
Now whenever I am running late, I walk briskly but deliberately. The consequences of not being careful are not worth being punctual to a fault.