Wednesday, January 30, 2019


We were playing Family Basketball the last time I fell down.  I was going for the lay-up and Big Cuter was having none of it and the next thing we knew I was bouncing off the driveway, bleeding and surprised.  Falling is unexpected once you leave elementary school.

So, you know you've reached a certain age when the first question the doctor asks is When was the last time you fell?  It's not something anyone wondered about when I was a teenager, or when I was a young mother, or when I ran for the school board.  But now, as I enter the realm of senior care, it seems to be an issue of some importance.

I don't fall! is my usual retort, packed with some attitude and delivered with emphasis. 

And it was a true answer, one that I was proud to deliver.  Mrs. Dr. N complained that she was starting to hold onto the railing when she walked down the stairs, frightened that she'd send her 70-something self hurtling down the incline.  She said it made her feel old.  I told her it made her look smart.

There are a few things we can to to stave off the ravages of old age. Being careful is at the top of my list, and that includes holding on and slowing down. It wasn't always so.  Nannie laughed that I never walked, I scurried.  G'ma marveled at the speed with which I straightened her apartment and was ready to go.... before she had her coat buttoned.  My children, as they grew to adulthood, worried that I'd run before looking and disaster would befall me.  Fast was my middle name.

Then I was perforated. 

Fast was not an option.  Between the drugs and the movement restrictions imposed by the physicians, I was terrified.  Spit and baling wire might be holding me together, but danger lurked at the edge of every throw rug, across every curbstone.  I held on tight - to my cane, to my walker, to my husband.  G'ma beat me down the hallway of The Old Folks Home, her walker more comfortable than mine in our hands.

Gradually, the assistive devices fell away.  I was mobile, though slow, on my own two feet.  And so it has gone for seven or eight years, my gait slowly increasing in speed, my hips finding an even keel, my feet usually pointing in the right direction.  I no longer look for the closest parking spot.  I occasionally eschew a cart when I'm only buying milk.  Traipsing across the playground at Prince no longer makes me wince. I can feel my glutes and my adductors and my quadriceps (though I think there are only three of them in there) engaging.   I am healing.

I'm also forgetting to be careful.

I noticed my untied shoelace but decided to tend to it once I got to the car.  The library rug wasn't lying smoothly on the ground.  There was a drop of water on the kitchen floor.  Each time, I nearly fell.

I suppose it's a good thing that I am now capable of righting myself before disaster ensues.  My damaged leg and hip are strong enough to support me as I flail.  Last night, tripping over that carpet, I managed to hang onto my glass of iced tea as I hopped and stumbled across the room.  YAY I'm strong competed with Holy Shit I nearly fell.

I wonder if I have to mention this at my next appointment.


  1. Ashleigh, you and I are close in age. I fell in November 2017, alone, in the bathroom of my favorite Restaurant. There was no water on the floor and no uneven tiles. I was in a hurry and tried to put my purse on a hook on the back of the door, but there was no hook and suddenly I found myself falling backward into the stall. Trying to protect my head from hitting the toilet, my left forearm took the brunt of the impact. Now I am wedged between the toilet and the wall, with what I thought for sure was a broken arm. At first I thought, Oh God, I hope no one comes in and finds me like this, then I thought, Geez, I hope somebody comes in and finds me. After a little while, I was able to pry myself up and out, gathered my purse and contents that had flown everywhere, finally peed and then went to get my to-go order. I let the staff know I had fallen, but it was all me, not taking my time and being more careful. My arm was not broken, just badly bruised, but February of 2018 the torn rotator cuff in my left arm flared up and by June, I had to have that repaired. Now I blame that fall and the impact to my left arm for causing more damage.
    So please be careful. Hold onto the rail, tie your shoes, clean up spills and pick up those throw rugs. You do not want to end up in the position I was in.

  2. No, don't tell the doctor.

    A few years back, I had a bone density test, the second in my life. The first one had claimed i had the bones of a 25 year old. This one, done in my early 60s, came with a phone call from my doctor with the admonition, "don't fall."

  3. I fell off a rolling chair on a wood floor. Broke my t12 vertebrae. Learned a huge lesson about falling. I'm very careful now on anything that could cause me to fall. The pain I felt when breaking my t12 was like nothing I had ever felt before.

    I agree, everyone should be cognizant of falling.

    Sending hugs!

    Stacy xxx

  4. I know that feeling! It's been 4 years since my last fall, but 2 in 14 months both resulting in broken bones was plenty. I've almost fallen a few times, but I am now strong enough to right myself. I don't want to fall, but I also don't want to be afraid of falling so it's a balancing act.


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