The bathroom floor imprinted on my face

Yes, on my face.

Couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Or so I thought. Right there on a break from my class, Dan was helping me to pivot in the Anspach Hall bathroom and SMACK!

Profanity! Profanity! Profanity! And Tears … tears … tears.

And that wasn’t just me. I heard profanity and tears coming from Dan too.

It was frightening, fast and so sudden. I couldn’t even lift my head off the tile. I didn’t want to even move and I was face down on a public bathroom floor. That’s how bad it hurt.

This was supposed to be a standard trip to the bathroom. Same as we had done for each Tuesday evening over the past nine weeks of the semester. I have a regularly scheduled break during my Anthropology 590 graduate class, “Gender, Culture & Society.” During this time Dan comes to the CMU campus building to help me go to the bathroom.

And it normally runs like clockwork. We get a break. We go to the bathroom. I ask if any of the women there minds if my husband comes in to help me – which they never do because women rule! –and he helps me with pivoting and transferring on and off the toilet and back into my chair.

But this night, the night before our largest speaking presentation ever, a rare miscommunication in the transfer back into my chair had me simultaneously thinking, “Timber!” and “This is going to hurt,” as I fell shoulder first into the bathroom stall and then flat on my face. Thus the imprint. For real. You can see the tile lines on my cheek!

I’m lucky that there was no blood, I didn’t break any teeth, and we were able to get help (thanks, Sarah, Dr. Brown and Josh!).

I was fine once I calmed down. Dan was too. I think I took a couple ibuprofen and sat on the couch after my professor let me go home from class early (Thanks again, Dr. Brown!).

And I geared up for the next day’s presentations with the Women’s Initiative at noon in Mt. Pleasant and the Shiawasee County MS Self-help Group later that evening in Owosso.

Speaking with Dan in front of 300 people at the Women's Initiative event (thanks for the photo, Peggy!)

Speaking with Dan in front of 300 people at the Women's Initiative event (thanks for the photo, Peggy!)

Marked with the sign of the bathroom tile floor, Dan and I delivered two of our best speaking engagements the next day. We were fortunate enough to share our story and increase MS awareness, all while I was rockin’ my first-ever black eye : -)

And to be frankly honest, I sported that black eye with pride because it symbolized both the reality of my Multiple Sclerosis and my determination to not let this disease hold me down.

7 Responses to “The bathroom floor imprinted on my face”

  1. Matt says:


    It’s great that you share these experiences. I have looked a lot closer at public bathrooms and have thought about the risk of falling. There was another post on another blog recently about falling in one’s own bathroom.

    I think every time I go into public bathroom now about whether they are really keeping it clean and functional enough for disabled use.

    I hope you heal quickly, mentally and physically.

  2. Lisa Emrich says:

    Oh NO!! Hope that you heal quickly and glad that you were both able to attend the events the following day. Thank you for continuing to tell your stories and put yourselves in front of increasingly large audiences. Good for you!!

    BTW, on a related subject, check out my blog <a href=””Brass and Ivory today. Someone else recently had a spill in a bathroom, although I don’t think any black eyes were involved.

    Be well soon.

  3. Karen says:

    Oh dear…so sorry this happened to you.

  4. Webster says:


    But you tell the story well. It’s nice your prof let you leave early. And congrats for completing your speaking obligations with flying colors/ no I don’t mean the black eye. (just wait til the bruise comes up, then turns green.

    Yep, ibuprofen and cold packs.

  5. I’ve got MS and I have the scars to prove it!
    Actually, I have spent my time on bathroom floors and it isn’t pleasant. What is pleasant is your indominable spirit which inspires us all, be it in a chair or on the floor.

  6. Amy says:

    you are still beautiful, bruises and all.

  7. oh my goodness Jennifer, what a tumble!!! A year before I was diagnosed, I had a bathroom emergency at a silent meditation retreat. I quietly got up off my cushion left the room to find the bathroom…first day of the retreat, and I had to get there!!! Somehow, on the way I just fell backwards and hit my head on the floor…when I was conscious again I made my way to the bathroom…back to my meditation cushion and couldn’t even tell anyone about the episode because it was a silent retreat!!!! I was ok, but had no idea at that point what would have made me fall like that…and a really nasty bump on the back of my head!!!

    I’m glad you are ok, scrapes and bruises and all, that’s the main thing!!!

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