The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Michele Bender

December 5, 2009

MICHELE M. BENDER | I can laugh about it now ...

I have a category of stories I call “Someday I’ll laugh about this.” I think I’m ready for this one now.

It’s no secret that I’m handicapped. To function in my house, I use a cane or walker. Away from home, I’m usually in my wheelchair.

I awakened one night at 4 a.m. and went in my bathroom. As I stood at the sink, suddenly my less-than-cooperative legs simply went out from under me. One minute I’m standing; the next I’m like a turtle up-dumped on his shell.

You get a whole new perspective lying on your bathroom linoleum at 4 a.m.

A quick inventory left me pretty certain that I hadn’t broken anything.

My best chance to get myself up, I thought, was to flip over on my stomach and slide to one of the grab bars on the wall.

My plan didn’t work. I couldn’t pull myself up.

At this point, I DID laugh. What a predicament!

The closest phone was in the family room. A long journey loomed ahead.

Picture swimming without water, and you’ll get the image of me inching my way over the linoleum to the hallway. The wool rug there is not “skin friendly” and I had approximately 8 feet to go to reach the family room doorway.

The family room was no better. Berber carpeting, while durable, also totally lacks “crawl-ability.”

I could read the clock by the night light: 5:15 a.m.

It had taken me over an hour to slither about 20 feet. I developed a new respect for snakes.

Six feet remained to reach the Tracfone on my work table. As I passed the magazine rack, I grabbed my bamboo back scratcher and used it to fish the Tracfone down.

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Michele Bender
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