You all know by now that I’m hard on myself. I hate being sick, I hate not being able to do things…I am the Modern Super Human Earth Mother after all; obstacles be damned!

Well, sometimes it just isn’t that simple.

My knee collapsed as I was walking into the grocery store last Thursday. It hurt a little but I didn’t fall or anything, so kept it moving. The next day I was walking with a limp and my knee was definitely swollen. Saturday morning, I put my feet on the floor to take my morning pee and nearly fell; something was definitely wrong with my knee.

I spent the next couple of days laid up in the bed and on Monday I went to the Dr, where I was told that my joints looked good, there were no broken bones…my knee was just swollen and inflamed because it wanted to be. Oh, that’s just lovely. rolls eyes

The next day I was scheduled to work a conference. In hind sight, I probably should have asked if I could be excused from the conference and just gone into the office. Being the super woman I am, I was determined that I could handle this event.

And I probably could have if Murphy hadn’t been so set on kicking my ass.

When I arrived at the venue, the parking directly underneath was blocked off and I was directed to a structure nearly three blocks away. I parked and slowly began walking to back towards the entrance, all the while racking my brain trying to remember if the Long Beach Convention Center had elevators. I had been to the convention center many, many times and couldn’t for the life of me remember ever seeing an elevator, so I began working my way up the first set of stairs I could find.

I made it up the first and second flights triumphantly, only to be daunted by two more; one with at least 15 steps. I sat at the bottom of the third set and took a couple deep breaths before painstakingly inching my way up. Going up stairs had never been so hard…I was sweating and exhausted and still had one more flight of stairs to conquer.

Panting I stood there looking at the final set of stairs, my brain fighting itself…

You can do this…Shit I’m tired…Just one more flight and you’re there…This shit is so hard…You can do it!

I stood there for a few minutes trying to hold back the tears but I was feeling broken and the dam had reached its limit. The tears mixed with the sweat as I looked up the stairs feeling defeated. Folks began offering empathetic comments as they passed me on their way up the stairs.

“Well that hardly seems fair,” on guy remarked noting that the venue should have had an elevator.

“Do you need help,” said one woman, stopping to rub my back. I was simultaneously comforted and embarrassed.

“I think I’ll make it,” I said avoiding her eyes. “Its just so hard…”

She found my gaze, looking for some assurance that I was ok.

“I’ll be ok,” I said lying through my tears and pained expression. “I’m sorry.”

She rubbed my back a couple more seconds. “Don’t apologize, just take your time.” And then she was off.

Just as I worked up enough energy to make my way to the top of the final flight of stairs, another editor from the magazine showed up. It pained me to see the sympathy in her eyes, but I was glad for the company. She cheered me on all the way to the top and stayed with me as we walked into the venue, only to find we had to go up some more. At least this time there was an escalator…

When we arrived at the registration table, I was sweating profusely and unsuccessfully trying to put on a happy face.

“You shouldn’t have come,” said the guy running the event. “You look like you’re in an incredible amount of pain.”

I looked at the ground. “I would have been fine if I hadn’t had to climb the stairs,” I said with an uncomfortable giggle. My face flushed with heat as I felt the sympathetic stares of the staff on me.

He put his hand on my arm lightly, “Are you ok?”

“It was really hard…” and I turned away feeling naked as the tears fell once again. I dried them away quickly and took a seat, half hoping he would send me home, half wanting to be useful.

The rest of the day was spent sitting in the back of a ballroom watching presentations with my leg propped up on a chair. After the last session, I looked for someone to give me a ride to my car. Since everyone was still busy with conference duties, I made my way, resolved that I wouldn’t cry again. It took me nearly 30 minutes make a five minute walk, but I made it. Once I got into the car, I allowed myself a 30 second release, dried my face, started the engine and drove home where I locked myself away for the rest of the night.

Yesterday will go down in my mental history as one of the hardest days of my life.