Well, I did it again. I fell. And, since I indicated "again" obviously it's not the first time.
I should interrupt myself briefly to explain that I am not talking about the usual falls a person can take--growing up, learning to ride a bike, roller-skating or ice-skating, playing sports, climbing trees. Those falls can, of course, be dangerous and result in broken bones. What I am referring to is falling as an adult who is not growing any younger.
The first time I fell, I mean really fell, was a number of years ago during our first visit to Paris. My husband and I were out walking around. I am an inveterate map-reader, and that's what I was doing. I was reading a map of Paris' convoluted streets trying to get us back to our hotel. In my preoccupation, I did not see that I had just stepped off a curb. I knew I had fallen only after I was once again upright, sitting on my butt on a Paris sidewalk. My husband, who witnessed the whole graceless event, said I bounced. And what I bounced on was my right shoulder.
Over the next several days, my upper arm began to discolor until it was an amazing array of colors that resembled a piece of modern art--all shades dissolving into each other. I found out in short order how incredibly dependent we are on having two working arms. Small tasks were now almost impossible: I needed help getting in and out of a bath, help fastening my bra, help pulling a shirt on and off, help doing so many things.
When we got home, I decided against seeing a doctor, as clearly nothing was broken. But over the next several weeks, I favored my right arm so much that I began to lose range of motion. Finally, I showed a doctor friend of ours how I was not really able to raise my arm much beyond straight out from my side. He practically ordered me to see an orthopedic doctor, which I did. True, nothing was broken, but the severely injured shoulder and my favoring it was likely to lead to long-term inability. He marched me off to a physical therapist and several weeks of restorative exercises.
So, with the announcement that I did it "again" you guessed it. I fell. This time, I was out walking our dog who, in her rambunctious spring fever, pulled so hard on her leash that I tripped and went down splat on the sidewalk. I did a great three point landing--left knee, left palm and right elbow. When I returned home, my husband immediately rigged up two ice-bags that he strapped to my knee and my elbow. His quick response helped ameliorate excess swelling. Also mindful of my prior experience, I keep moving my right arm, raising it over my head and forcing the muscles to expand as much as possible.
Of course, I was embarrassed to go splat on the sidewalk, but even more I am concerned to remember to walk as carefully as I can.
Falls are serious business. Many a senior has begun a health decline following a fall. Now, maybe I am not quite yet to that age, but I don't want to be fool-hardy and ignore the consequences of a fall. According to the CDC, the LEADING cause of unintentional injury in the U.S. for all age groups is falling. Imagine that--for every age group, falls cause the moist unintentional injuries. Ahead of vehicle accidents. Ahead of insect bites and stings. Ahead of poisoning, cutting, dog bites, fires, and all the other calamities out there.
So, I will redouble my efforts to walk carefully.