Last February, on the night before moving into our new apartment in Chicago, I slipped on a patch of ice. I landed on my back, in the same location where 14 years earlier I had spinal surgery that left me with 6 bolts holding my spine together. Later, I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted near the same spot.
The force of my fall jammed the stimulator into the surrounding tissue, where it became inflamed and embedded, causing me the worst, most sustained and most stressful pain of my life.
Six weeks after my fall I was bent over in the lobby of our building, waiting for the elevator with my service/support dog, Dylan, a 29-pound rescue dog who took well to training. I was bent over, leaning against the wall to reduce the pain, when a tall man entered the hallway and stood staring at me with malice. I thought nothing of it.
Within moments an elevator car opened directly opposite Dylan and me. As I slowly raised my torso the stern man bolted across the hall to get to the doorway before me.
As I tried to enter on the left side of the opening, he stepped in front of me with his arms stretched wide and growled, “Take the service elevator.”