I was talking with my nursing assistant at the hospital the other night, and she was remarking to me what a procrastinator she had become. She is studying to become a nurse, and she brought some assignments to work on in case the night was slow. She was more focused, however, on checking in with her friends on Facebook, than doing homework. She assured me, “I will do it later. I still have two weeks left.” It brought back memories of when I was a student, and the one time I really regretted putting my homework off.
I was taking classes part-time at a community college. Being a stay-at-home mother, I was lucky enough to have the option of completing many of my classes online. One class in particular, a speech class, required me to submit my work on videotape. I had three speeches to turn in, and I had already done the first two. Let’s just say life got busy, and I put off recording the final speech until the very last day I could turn it in. I didn’t see any problem with that, after all, I had all day to get that done, and I was getting an early start.
I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., planning to get a shower and fix myself up before the rest of the family woke up. I quickly grabbed my robe and started trotting down the stairs to my bathroom in the basement. Suddenly, my socks slipped on the stairs and my legs went out from under me. Maybe I should rephrase that. One leg went up and out in front of me, while the other tried to land underneath; only it ended up in a very awkward, bent position next to me with me heel against my hip…ouch! I landed hard, halfway down the stairs, and I couldn’t move my right leg for the pain I was in.I called for CF; he was on the other side of the house, still sleeping in bed. He came running when he heard my scream for help; he thought I was being attacked. His “attack mode” quickly changed to concern when he saw me laying on the stairs, pale white and clammy. At first glance, he thought I’d broken my back. When I reassured him the pain was in my leg, his fireman assessment skills kicked in and took over. He proceeded to straighten my leg, that I was certain was broken, as I nearly passed out from the pain. He told me I couldn’t pass out, because I didn’t hit my head. What? Huh? What the BLEEP does that matter? He told me my leg was fine, and I would surely feel better after a shower. He helped me get in there, only to have me slide down to the shower floor and “sit” my way through it, I was so dizzy.
I managed to do my makeup and my hair that morning, on the floor, holding a little 4-inch round mirror. I couldn’t bear weight on my right leg, and I was too dizzy to stand. How was I ever going to do a speech and get it turned in on time?
Determination kept me going. I had to get that speech done, and turned in that day! I picked out a pretty top with a long skirt, knowing I’d be standing on only one leg while I videotaped my speech. I sent the kids off to school, and CF to work. I pasted my little notes to the wall in front of me so I wouldn’t lose my focus while the camera was taping. Normally, I would have videotaped my speech several times, and used the one that turned out the best (that was the advantage of taking this class online). Unfortunately, I could not stand that long, so I had to get it right the first time.
I was satisfied with my speech, and I had just one more thing to do before whisking it off to the college, an hour away. I needed to copy the speech onto a VHS tape (I know, this is dating me now). When I connected the video camera to the VCR and put the new tape in, I heard the sound of mangled VHS tape. And after a loud “clunk”, the VCR lost all signs of life. Even the little blue “On” light went out. Without missing a beat, I called my mother-in-law and told her what had happened; and this is what I’d need:
a.) to borrow her VCR to copy my tape
b.) a ride to the college, as I couldn’t drive, and
c.) to borrow her crutches, if she still had any.
She said CF’s dad could take me in, and he could bring me the crutches, but her VCR played its last tape long ago and she never replaced it. Sooooo, I packed up my video camera and a new VHS tape in my backpack, hobbled out to the pickup on crutches, and hitched a ride with my father-in-law.
Never having used crutches in my life, I can’t say I was the most coordinated. I threw on the old backpack, and managed my way into the college. I received numerous sympathetic stares as I made my way to the media room, all the way across campus. I managed to copy the speech over to the tape, and promptly turned it in to my instructor. When he saw me on crutches, he asked, “What happened to YOU?” I explained my lack of gracefulness, preceded by poorly chosen path of procrastination. All he could say was, “Well, I think that would make for a mighty fine persuasive speech… why one shouldn’t procrastinate.” He was smiling, and joking, of course.
My knee and ankle were both sprained. I was confined to crutches for the better part of my Christmas vacation. And, I missed out on the traditional “walk-through” of my favorite Christmas festival. I did, however, receive an “A” on my speech, and I learned a good lesson about procrastination.