"Trust me, I'm fine."

The blustery and biting cold evening made it confusing enough without the added effects of a few drinks in us. My friends and I were heading back to our dorms one night, yapping away in that loud obnoxious way that drunk college students tend to do (but don't really mean to). And we were also bundled up from head to toe: hats, scarves, mittens, layers of shirts, and then a hoodie, and then a winter jacket over all of that mess -- honestly if I had fallen out of my wheelchair I'm pretty sure I would have been fine. Actually I probably would have just bounced from all of the fluff and cotton I had padded around me. But don't worry, I didn't fall out of my  wheelchair that night and this post isn't about "the dangers of drinking for someone with O.I." (that'll be for a different post..)

Campus lamp posts were lit that night and I remember it was that awkward yet miserable time for New England; the time of year when we are teetering on the coldest-months-ever because despite the alcohol in our system we all felt the cold. Or should I say, the prequel to Winter in Boston. My friend who was walking a few feet behind me felt the cold,
"Ugh you guys wait-up! I can't really see."
"What do you mean you can't really see? What are you doing? There are lights on!"
"I'm trying to wrap my scarf around my head and face, you know? So that just my eyes are showing but it's like half covering my eyes too.."  
The bunch of us stopped and turned around to see our friend drunkenly struggling with the scarf. One end was held above his head and the other awkwardly forming a bulge somewhere beneath the layers of his jacket, the folds of the scarf covering his eyes and the next few minutes were a blur in my memory. 
Suddenly his towering legs were flying over my head, and then I saw his hand brace himself for the fall by rolling off the side of my wheelchair and onto the pavement. 
The whole lot of us, including myself, burst out laughing. To this day I would like to think that if it were daylight out, and our ass-clown selves were sober we would not have laughed... but then I remember who my friends are and I think nah, we woulda still have laughed at him
"Sandy!! Why did you stop like that in front of me?? I told you I couldn't see!"
"I wanted to see how you could possibly be struggling with a scarf, I mean it's a scarf." 
There he lay on the pavement, arms and legs splayed out like a turtle who had been flipped on its back. 
"Oh my god, Sandy I'm definitely bleeding." Somehow he had managed to roll up his pant leg and felt that there was blood trickling down his shin. After assessing whether or not he was okay to get up and walk, we continued on our way and went back to our dorms. 

Later on the next day my friend came up to me and told me he shared with one of our advisers that he tripped and fell over my wheelchair,
"She totally ignored the fact that I was bleeding and lost skin on my leg and just asked if you were okay!" I couldn't help but burst out laughing at him again. 
"I tried to tell her that you were totally fine but I was the one.. you know... on the ground and losing blood. But you were just sitting in your wheelchair, normal as ever. Apparently though my well-being just doesn't matter in comparison to yours!" He told me in disbelief. 

To this day it's still a story that we like to remember because (it's hilarious to watch someone struggle with a scarf while drunk..) it's ridiculous, yet a very good representation of how overly concerned people can be about me. I suppose it could have been far more disastrous and good fortune that I was not injured in the process of being tripped over, but literally - no one - cared that my friend was bleeding. Everyone's reaction was always "OMG SANDY!" It used to drive me a little nuts and for awhile I felt a bit suffocated by the over-caring, but now I either just blow it off or turn it into an opportunity to poke fun of it. 
It can be difficult to manage just how much people should care, and over the years I have learned that I really have no control over how much people care -- and most importantly it's not something I should complain about! But having O.I. means that the first thing a person knows about you is probably that our bones are brittle. It may be one thing for that individual to have a mental understanding of an O.I.ers' physical capabilities, but growing up with O.I. means that I have also learned to teach others just how fragile or not fragile my body is. This is definitely something that I still struggle with today, and something tells me I don't think I'll ever be able to get it just right!  

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