Saturday, February 25, 2012

After the Fall

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.  


Peruby said...

You bounced? How awful. I was talking to my daughter the other day about how my gait is not near as steady as it used to be.

I have only fallen once that I can recall (since I became an adult). I was carrying my two little terriers when they were babies.

To keep from landing on them I threw them clear from my falling body. You would have thought I had murdered them as the night air filled with yelping baby puppies.

Ruth said...

Your bones must be quite strong. Around here we have a lot of ice in late winter because of afternoon melting of snow and overnight freezing temps. Hope you recover quickly! Be careful. (Falls are my bread and butter)

Anvilcloud said...

I enjoyed (so to speak) this fuller than FB account. Good luck with your stability.

KGMom said...

Peruby--I think your description of falling while holding something precious (your pups) is a great fear. I am even more mindful of not wanting to fall if I have in my arms something more dear than myself.

Ruth--hmmm, strong bones. Well, I hope so. I have never had a bone break, and am certainly not anxious to start now. And, I thought of you as I wrote about physical therapy.

AC--I prefer not to commit to FB too many gory details. That's what blogging is for. And, I will work on my stability.

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for the reminder to be careful. I know that the times I've fallen (usually without even a dog to blame it on) I've been embarrassed even if not hurt, and my confidence in myself suffers.

I hope you're not scabby.

Was this Zeva? How big is she now?

NCmountainwoman said...

The last time I fell was due to my own carelessness. Sitting on the deck with my shoes off (socks on) I ran inside to answer the door. When my feet moved from the mat to the hardwood floor, they slid out from under me and I went down hard, hitting the back of my head on the door jam. I told my husband that in case I passed out it would likely be a brain hemorrhage from the fall I just had. He said, "I thought I heard something. I figured you had dropped a box of books."

KGMom said...

Mary Lee--I am not scabby, though I do resemble bruised fruit--shades of purples here and there. Ziva is fine--she waited patiently as I sat on the ground trying to make sure nothing was broken. She also denied having any part in the incident.

NCMntWmn--hmmm, cool collected husband you have there..."I thought I heard something." When I came back in the house from the walk, my husband called out--are you OK? I said, no, I fell--whereupon he dashed up the stairs and proceeded to administer ice.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Steady as she goes. I suspect you do not bounce the way you once did.

Living alone as I do, with few visitors, I worry about falling such as down the stairs. I could lie for days injured before anyone ever came to check on me.

Keep focused on putting yoor feet securely down.

Climenheise said...

I have been away too long! Incredibly busy. Sorry about your fall! And glad that you did bounce and didn't go splat and remain pancaked on the road. Keep bouncing along, carefully. I played indoor soccer again today. I wonder when I reach my age + 5 (your age) if I will be able to do any such thing.

JeanMac said...

Glad you didn't break anything!