OK, show of hands – who here has fallen down? i mean tripping over your own feet, or tripping over a pattern on the carpet, or just tipping over. no pushing, just plain old unassisted falling down?
well, i have. and i realized, this most recent fall, just the other day, that there is an automatic instant checklist that my mind goes through – maybe your’s as well – when a fall is happening.
the instant before the actual fall, there’s the conscious realization of, “hmm, i’m going to fall over,” or, “hmm, i’m falling over.” maybe it’s not so polite or civil in your mind, but the gist is the same. there is the sudden realization that one is, indeed, about to fall, or is actively engaged in the act of falling. somewhere in there, the mind – or mine anyway – tries to envision what one is going to fall on, if there is anyway to either prevent the fall, (something secure to grab onto? usually not.) or any way mitigate the injury either to oneself or to whatever it is one is falling onto.
then there is the instinctive question that arrises of, “how much is this going to hurt? and is anything inside me likely to break?” when i’ve reached this point, i don’t usually give much thought to the results of my massive bulk landing in an ungainly manner on whatever it is i’m falling on. if is’s breakable, it’s gonna get broke. i think he worst i’ve managed to do around my house was to dent a heating vent on the baseboard – nothing major, hardly noticeable.
after the fall has been completed, and assuming one is still conscious, there’s a moment – right before the pain sets in – in which one realizes that the fall has been completed. then the inventory starts. first there is, “gosh, that really hurt,” then one begins to sort through the various bodily systems, testing appendages to make sure they are A) attached, and B) functioning. next comes, “where does it hurt”, followed quickly by, “where does it hurt the most,” and, “am i bleeding from anywhere, and if so, onto what?”
once that checklist has been completed, and assuming all appendages are intact and functioning reasonably well, and that no blood is spurting from anywhere, or at least not onto anything that will stain, one has to figure out how to get up. there is a reconnaissance of the surroundings, to find something stable to hoist oneself up by, and the coming up with a plan not only to reach that piece of furniture or fixture, but to position oneself in the best way to do the actual hoisting with the least chance of going down again, and starting the process all over.
of course, if any appendages have been severed or broken to the point of not functioning, or if blood is in fact spurting at a rate that you find alarming, this entire process funnels down into a more focused effort to either reach a phone or alert the nearest (reasonably) responsible human to go for or deliver aid. this is where lassie usually saves the day.
if you are lucky enough to be at home with someone who can assist, the whole process of getting back to an upright position becomes a lot easier.
my only advice is not to do your falling in public. it is nearly impossible to do this and retain any semblance of dignity. we should all be so lucky.