I remember many years ago, what I call “In a former lifetime,” my room-mate came home and announced with some confusion and a little glee that he had fallen down. Just lost it, and fell down. At the time, it was a curiosity – I had to think, when was the last time I fell down. Not got knocked down, or tripped, but just lost the equilibrium and fell down.
I couldn’t remember when the last time was.
Fast forward to my current life-time. I was out for a walk at lunchtime, and as a public service, tried to kick a big cardboard box out of the road. I lost my balance, and fell down. Right in the road. fortunately, no one saw me, and I was still, at that point, able to pick myself up. I have fallen a few times since then, and I still don’t think anyone has witnessed it. It is a bit weird, as an adult, to fall down. There was the time I was sitting on an easy chair, watching TV, and realized I had slipped forward far enough that I was unable to leverage myself back up so I could stand. I figured I’d simply let myself slip the rest of the way onto the floor, and, using the chair and the bed next to it, haul myself back up. I rolled over onto my front, planning to do a push up and get myself onto my knees, and from there, easy as pie. Nope. Luckily, I had my cell phone, and called my wife who was downstairs, and told her I had fallen and I could not get up. She came up, and tired valiantly to get me up into a position where we could get me back on the chair, but my massive bulk proved beyond her abilities. Damn you, Gravity! We had to call the EMTs to come rescue me. (Pro tip: if you ever feel you are getting too big for your britches and want to take yourself down a peg or two, have a few strangers come over to your house and help you do something that 99% of people your age can do all by themselves. Like pick you up off the floor.)
I guess in the end, it was no big deal. The two EMT responders were great. We were able to focus on the humor of the situation, they managed to get me back into to the chair, made sure I was OK, and left. Probably had a good laugh back at the station, but that’s OK. I’m always glad to brighten another’s day.
I’ve fallen a few other times. There is a dent in the radiator at the top of the stairs that is the exact same circumference as the back of my head. I have not had to call for assistance since that first time. But just the other day, I fell in my room, trying to put my pants on. I was hiking them up, and lost my balance, and needed to sit down, but only got about half of one cheek onto the chair. It was a slow-motion fall, the kind where you have a few vital seconds to A) realize you are falling, B) notice what you are going to fall on, C) determine if it is going to hurt or not, and D) try to fall in such a way that will make it easier to get back up. This time, I had to do a lot of wriggling on the floor to get myself to the foot of the bed, up onto my hands and knees, and, using the bed, back onto my feet. Exhausting.
Since then, I’ve noticed a distinct increase in my deteriorating grasp on the concept of balance. I’ve come close to falling down the stairs when reaching for my walker, and even a few times nearly tipping over sideways when using the walker. (What kind of doof falls down when using a walker?) For some of us, the possibility of falling is ever-present. We just have to keep our wits about us, be as observant was possible when going down, and keep the cell phone handy. A sense of humor is very helpful as well.
(Share your favorite falling-down story in the Comments!)
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