It’s late, and this is the first time I’ve set foot in my home since 7:30 a.m. – 15 hours ago. That would sound unusual if it weren’t Christmastime.

I set out early so I could buy some package-sealing tape on my way to work, and spent the rest of the day limping around the office and, later, from one store to the next until I made it back home, a great deal poorer and happier, convinced I snagged some finds that just might put me back in the running for Mother of the Year.

But you probably want to know about that limp . . .

OK, this is embarrassing. I’m just thankful no one was around to see me, or hear me scream out in fear and pain.

The scene: A bowling alley near N.C. State’s campus, where we had a staff outing yesterday afternoon. I hate bowling, but I went to take photos for the monthly newsletter. A good time was had by all, and I left about a half-hour before the designated end, convinced I had a few usable shots among the dozen or so unflattering, rear-end photos I’d taken. (“Action” shots in bowling equals booty shots, unfortunately.)

So, I’m leaving, and there are about 10 steps that descend to the door. I made it down perhaps three before I somehow lost my footing, skidded, tripped and fell down the staircase and landed – hard – on the cement floor below.

At some point my knee crashed into a step and/or the floor, I don’t recall. All I know is, I was in a great deal of pain, and no one was around to help me. I was hurt, and then embarrassed, because I’m sure I looked ridiculous splayed out like that.

In Proverbs it states: Pride goeth before a fall. Um, not in my case.

Despite the throbbing pain in my left knee, and the blood trickling down my pants leg, I managed to get up, dust myself off, and creep out the door. Fortunately, I’d snagged a meter fairly close to the door. I crept to my car, fell in and just sat there for awhile, trying to collect myself. I then called the alley to let them know I’d fallen down the steps, and that they might want to clean up the Diet Coke spilled all over the steps and floor. I’d gotten a full cup right before leaving.

The guy who answered the phone was understandably concerned. I’d spent years writing and editing copy for law firm websites, and was well-versed in slip-and-fall/personal injury lawsuits. I assured him that the only reason I called was because of the spill. He offered to call an ambulance, and that only brought back some old fears: What if I was too heavy to lift? What if they had to get extra help to put me in the ambulance? What about the poor nurses at the hospital who have to struggle with moving and adjusting heavyweight patients every day?

It’s a warped way of thinking, yet I know I’m not alone.  I’d rather suffer in the quiet of my car than be checked out by an EMS team that’ll need to know my weight, take my blood pressure and who knows what else, all while concerned coworkers look on.

The ego knows no bounds.

So yes, another reason to get my weight in the normal range: No more being too embarrassed to ask for help.

No one ever choked to death swallowing his own pride.  ~ Unknown