Two cars screech to a stop in the middle of the street. I watch the drivers jump out and run in my direction. This is interesting.
"Are you okay?"
"We saw you fall."
I'm on the ground, looking up at them. I just fell down, no big deal. A third person appears from somewhere behind me. I should probably get up, but it's not so bad, down here on the sidewalk.
I touch my face, and look at my fingers. Hm, blood. Maybe my nose is bleeding.
"Do you need a ride to the hospital?"
I look at the woman. It must have been a spectacular fall, to make her stop her car. I remember starting to fall, trying to catch myself. Taking giant steps, arms windmilling, all flapping limbs like Stan Laurel. My glasses are a couple of feet away. I pick them up and put them on. They aren't broken. Not even scratched.
"I just live right here, thanks," I say, gesturing vaguely behind me.
"Do you need help up the street?"
They really want to help. I thank them again. I'm just three steps from my front door. What was it the hobbit said? "It is a dangerous business going out your front door."
I find my keys, my purse, my book bag. I stand up. No problem. I unlock the door I just locked and walk inside.
"You're back," Mr. Billy calls from upstairs. He's laid up with a mashed foot.
"I fell down," I say, heading up the stairs. I sit down on the couch beside him. I'm sweating, and my vision starts to tunnel in. I put my head between my knees. Maybe I'll be a little late for work.
With my head between my knees, it occurs to me. This was a "sudden fall," a "drop attack," an "otolithic crisis of Tumarkin." Curse you, Tumarkin!
Let me back up.
Several weeks ago, I was tentatively diagnosed with Meniere's Disease. Dig the picture of the guy falling down. That's what happened to me, only I landed on my face instead of my ass.
I've been dealing with the whole Meniere's thing like the bowl of mush I am. Whining a lot. Hey, it's just dizziness. I should be able to deal with that. Had to change my diet, my work schedule, my sleep schedule. I can't drive anymore. That's all okay. I'm lucky to be able to make those adjustments.
But reading is difficult during a dizzy spell. This is not fair. Reading is the thing I do when I can't do anything else. When I was grounded as a kid, when I was recovering from surgeries, when I rode the bus, when I had to sit in a waiting room, I could always read. I'm a writer, dammit. If I can't read, I sure as hell can't write.
But drugs help. Diet helps. Reducing stress, reducing my workload - all of that helps. I was getting past the whining. Just the meat suit reminding me that my flesh outfit is me and I am it and we're in this thing together. All in all, it's a pretty good ensemble. My face fits me: kind of goofy-looking and friendly. I'm a decent dancer. I'm not especially tall or short or fat or skinny. Most of my parts work the way they should.
And then I fell down, and things got a little more interesting.