I fell down the other day. Not so much fell as slid (gracefully, of course) from the bed to the floor, muttering through gritted teeth, “no, no, no,” all the way down. Once there, I ran through the I’ve Fallen Checklist: am I bleeding, (if yes, how much), what parts of me can I move, and is there anything right around me that I might use to get myself up off the floor. Assuming that I’m not injured, and can’t get myself up, the next question is where is my phone – my I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up alarm. I don’t go ANYWHERE without it. I called Alison who was downstairs, and told her that I needed some help. I had muscled myself up on to my knees (luckily I didn’t herniate myself), but that was as far as I could go. And naturally, my spastic leg (Dragon Dictate wants to say, “spaz stick.”) chose this moment to freak out. We gave it a good shot, Alison and I, but we were unable to shift the Great White Whale. The 0h-0h Squad was called.
Within minutes, the Fire Chief and three strapping young men were gathered around me in my bedroom. Luckily for all of us, I had pants on. After a brief conference, they lifted me bodily off the floor onto the bed like a big baby. I heard the chief mention as they went down the hall that the last time they had rescued me Alison had made some cookies for them. She assured them that she’d carry on that tradition. Gotta keep the Oh-Oh Squad happy.
Aside from the humiliation of the predicament, I was left with a lingering sense of helplessness, that, if left unchecked, would spread in all directions, like an inflamed nervous system. A fall like that, brought on simply by the force of gravity overpowering my inability to resist it, can happen anytime. And as undramatic as the actual fall was, finding myself on the floor unable to roll over was, if not dramatic, at least sobering. I’ve been sobered like that before, and I vowed then as I did this time to be more vigilant of exactly where I am in space and where the tipping point is. Vigilance and the admonition to Be Careful are good things to keep in mind, but they only go so far. And in the end, gravity always wins. I need to put that on a T-shirt.