Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Old Folks Don't Bounce

I'm a stumble bum. I admit that, but usually I manage to catch myself and don't actually fall. The past couple of years, however, I have found myself on the ground 4 times. 

The first time it was a surprise. One minute I was upright, walking at my usual clip, and the next I was sitting on the ground. Blame that on ice under snow and my total confidence in my ability not to fall.  I landed hard on one hip, but did no damage, other than to my pride.  I learned that I could have broken a hip as easily as anyone else, and was thankful that it didn't happen. I have been more careful since then, when it comes to obviously slippery conditions.

The second time I fell, it was a total shock.  It was spring time and there was no ice in sight. I tripped over the slight increase in height where a driveway met a sidewalk.  I had no chance to right myself that time as I went airborne and made a perfect 5 point landing.....two knees, two hands and the side of my face.  The knees were fine, but one hand required a tenser bandage for a while (and probably should have been x-rayed).  The face stung a lot, and I put ice on it when I got home.  I never broke the skin, but the trauma brought the blood to the surface anyway, and by the next day I had a big scab.  Road rash.  Gorgeous.  What frightened me most about that incident was the number of people who kept advising me to sue.  It made me more aware of how quickly someone might sue me too, if they got hurt on my property, or at my business.

The third time I fell was just before this Christmas.  I had washed a glass chimney for a candle and was walking into the livingroom to put it where it belonged.  The light from the window showed up a spot or two on the glass, and I was busy rubbing them off instead of looking where I was going.  My hubby had been helping me clean and had left the vacuum cleaner by the end of the coffee table, in case I wasn't finished with it. My inattentiveness caused me to trip right over the vacuum cleaner and fall between the coffee table and the chair.  I missed both, and the glass in my hand went flying, knocking two other glass candle holders off the table in the process.  Luckily, not one piece of glass broke, or I may have slit my wrist.  Amazingly I also entirely missed hitting the table.  This was a good thing as my table has very sharp corners and has caused trips to the emergency department for stitches in the past.  It was a 4 point landing this time, and I was stunned for a moment.  It was the knees that hurt enough to require ice this time.  I ended up with a big bruise on one foot, and part way up that leg, and a little bruise near the toes on the other foot.  It's now two weeks later and one knee still doesn't allow me to kneel on it.

At this point I must mention that I fell years ago, off the bottom couple of steps of a flight of stairs, and tore all the soft tissue in my foot. There was fresh snow yesterday, when I went for my usual walk downtown. The streets had not yet been plowed.  I was walking along the side, where the snow had not been disturbed, but I have a bad ankle from that old fall,  and it didn't like the uneven terrain.  I live in a tiny village, so it's perfectly normal to walk down the middle of the street. I moved over and started walking in some car tracks as that was much easier going.  What I didn't know was that it was slippery under the snow.  Once again I found myself sitting on the ground.  I didn't seem to have hurt anything this time either, and got up and carried on with my walk.  Today I'm sore from my hip to my neck and all down one arm. 

What I've learned from all this is that I'm apparently not as steady on my feet as I used to be, or thought I was.  Old folks don't bounce, I'm told, but I must have good strong bones, as, at least, I don't seem to break anything (unless I broke a small bone in my hand that one time).  I've also learned that I'm landing hard, and entirely too often, so I better start paying more attention as my luck may run out.  Maybe it's time I started practicing my tai chi again. That's definitely good for balance and I seem to need all the help I can get.

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