31 August 2009

Reflections on Sustaining an Injury

I am not sporty. In fact, if pressed to claim a sport as my own, I always state "marching band is my sport." But given the fact I graduated from high school almost ten years ago and afterward only played two semesters in concert band my last year of college, the injuries I've sustained over the past ten years have been few.

A little over a week ago I strained my knee at work. Apparently standing on concrete eight hours a day five days a week for over six years will do that to you. As if I needed another reason to quit my college retail job that has overshadowed my graduation by three years. Luckily, since it happened at work my employer paid for the visit to the clinic resulting in a brace, crutches, and the admonition to "stay off your knee for a week."

I was not too concerned about following the doctor's orders. Looking like a dork for a week seemed fair enough considering my knee refused to bend on my command. I knew my co-workers and customers would want to hear all of the gory details (I was standing at self-checkout, shifted my weight from one leg to the other as we're taught to keep loose, and I felt my knee pop), but I did not realize what would follow.

When I left my job for lunch or the day, customers in the parking lot would make comments about my brace. Now, since at work I am a public worker, I figured the parking lot was still fair game. What I did not foresee was random people going out of their way to interact with me.

It was as if people felt compelled to be involved with my injury. People I had never seen before came up to me to comment, question, joke, and show sympathy about my knee. Many wanted an explanation of what happened, as if we were close friends. As an introvert, I am not used to getting so much attention; I would never go up to someone to ask such personal questions.

But what really floored me was the assumptions. Many people assumed it hurt (it didn't, my knee just didn't bend), I couldn't do anything myself (I am self-reliant; I'll ask if I need it), and the injury was either a. a break, or b. sport's related (a strain can be over time and not restricted to athletes).

By the end of my week on crutches, I was ready to be rid of them not because I looked ridiculous, but because I was ready to become invisible again.

1 comment:

  1. he he...I so get the wanted to go back to invisible.
    Hope it starts bending for you soon.