Bruised knees and bruised ego…


I have a new friend. She can be seen on the photo here and I picked her up in a shop the other day. A few days earlier I had no idea that I would feel the need to pick her up, but there you go, that’s life I guess.

On Monday I went to work as usual, went to a few meetings in the morning, more or less ‘business as usual’. For lunch, I thought I’d show my two colleagues the brand new auditorium and the lunch restaurant there, so we took a short walk and went into the building that looks like a giant glass bowl. Of course, if you give three engineers the choice of three different dishes for lunch, they will pick one each. We went looking for a table, sat down with salmon on a bed of fennel, a giant ball of mince of lamb with mash and a Swedish quiche on a bed of greens, and no, the woman in the party (me) did not have the quiche…

Having finished both the food and the mandatory Swedish ‘fika’ (coffee or tea plus something sweet, like a cookie or cake or similar), we took our trays and made our way through the spacious restaurant towards the place for dirty dishes and I found myself thinking: “hmmmm, if I were to see someone I recognise sitting at those tables, I would probably find myself freezing…”. For those of you readers lucky enough to not understand the meaning of that sentence, here is a brief video from youtube (for the extra interested, look here). There is a lot to be said about this mysterious speciality of a fascinating disease, but that’s for another day, back to the restaurant…

You will probably find this just as hard to believe as my brain did, but exactly as that thought (“hmmmm, if I were to see someone I recognise sitting at those tables, I would probably find myself freezing…”) had flickered through my brain, I actually did see someone I recognised, and even before I had consciously noted that the pattern recognition system of my defective brain had identified a match with the increasing numbers of posts in the “database”, my knees had stopped working… As an immediate result, my feet were completely stuck to the brand new floor. Unfortunately, the rest of my body hadn’t been made aware of this sudden change of priorities, and therefore continued in the previously agreed direction. Before I knew it, my knees were hitting the aforementioned floor (ouch!) and my adrenaline levels skyrocketed. The most unexpected thing is, would you believe it, that I didn’t drop my tray!!!! The other guests in the restaurant applauded as I got back up on my feet, with the tray still intact. I made a sort of curtsey and handed over the tray to the man who completely unknowingly put me in this awkward position by being someone I knew; one of my PhD supervisors as well as a neurologist. He completely understood why I was looking like I was glued to the floor, as did the person he was having lunch with; a professor in neuroscience, and the former came to help me. I have no idea how, but I made my way towards my surprised colleagues and we left the restaurant full of people with an interesting story to share at the dinner table. My knees were tender from the impact, but more than that, my ego was badly bruised…

When the shock had settled slightly, I decided that I would do my best not to let this limit my life any more than absolutely necessary so after some Facebook facilitated advising with a few people around the world, I decided that I needed a new friend. The decision did not come easily and using it still takes a lot of “pride swallowing”…

Would you help me choosing a name for her?

To be continued…


  1. WWSD? Call it Tåflirtar, of course. But what we really need to know, is how was the föreläsningssal? Snart dag! The architecture buffs are sitting on the edge of their seats!

  2. Dear Sarah,

    Takes a lot of pride-swallowing to write down the story that took you in taking ‘another step’, the way you did. As always you amaze me in your approach and the things you do, the way you cope.

    As for naming your new friend : what about “Stödja” ? Just like you are to many others, just like you are yourself naming things like they are.

    Cheers from Holland
    Yours Lucien

    1. Dear Lucien,
      Thank you for your wonderful words, I am truly blushing…
      Excellent suggestion for the name!

  3. The name that (eventually) sprang to my mind was “Prunella”, because you prune trees and other woody plants to get sticks.

    Regardless, a wonderfully written post. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. Hi Sara:

    I suggest you call that cane “Bastard”.
    Not in a bad way, but in a determined way to not let that Bastard beat you.

    And don’t forget it.

    Love your courageous post, and your talk at Stanford X, via webcam.

    I posted one of your videos today, hoping a personal friend sees it. You see, he has Parkinsonism, but will not admit it to me. I guess he has to maintain an image of being a tough hockey player, which is how I got to know him.
    You probably see that; “closet” Parkinsonism cases, where denial, for whatever reason, is something to be reckoned with.
    But one thing, I hope my friend sees, is that he is not alone, which is feeling that many patients have when dealing with a disease like Parkinsonism.
    Thanks for showing people like my friend that he is not alone. Hope he sees it.
    John Bennett MD

    1. Hi John,

      I really like your suggestion for name!

      Hope your friend reads this and he is welcome to contact me. He is not alone!

  5. Awww Sara,

    I was so sad to read your post – but I laughed out loud that you DID NOT DROP YOUR TRAY! Good for you & keeping your sense of humor.

    Of course I am ahead of you – both in years and in freezing because I use TWO walking poles and you use only ONE (unnamed)nhelper. Since mine are called ‘stupid sticks’, I will be boring and call yours only ‘stupid stick’

    your friend, Jean

  6. I’m impressed of your story and your humour. I am also impressed about the fact that you managed to save the tray. Knees will always heal but you can not recoup a lost fika. Since I know that you are an “Apple addict” I suppose your immediate cry out was “iPhone” instead of “Aj fan”!

    Say hello to your new friend:

    ”iStick 5s”… I stick to this if I have to – Sara Synonyms: Strong, Smart, Super

  7. Hi Sara
    How about “Sara likes you”, or “Sally” in short.
    Nice trick with the tray! I’m impressed! You need to teach me some of your tricks some day 😉

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