It’s been six months since I had my big fall on Thanksgiving Day. I was helping my daughter in law set the table for dinner, at one minute and at the next minute I was lying on the floor with a dozen strangers staring at me. At least,I thought they were strangers. I had no idea who they were. “What am I doing here, I kept asking. I heard one of the young nephews on the phone calling 911. “An elderly lady has fallen,” he said. “Oh, well. That’s all right. It’s not me, then,” I thought. I didn’t know who I was and I didn’t know who they were, but I sure as heck knew I wasn’t elderly. On top of that, they kept telling me it was Thanksgiving. It couldn’t be Thanksgiving. Not possibly. I didn’t know why they were trying to tell me that. What I also didn’t know was that the reasons for their horrified expressions was that in the back, where I couldn’t see, blood was cascading all over the living room rug. I’ll be lucky if they ever invite me back there again.
We spent Thanksgiving in the emergency room and I ended up with 8 staples in my head, covered by an odd toque. Not my best look.
What I didn’t realize was that the fall was just the beginning. I am still taking physical therapy, and have just come to realize how extremely dangerous a fall like mine can be for a person past sixty-five. They did take the bandage off, at least.
I found out to my surprise that falls among people my age are deadly serious. I knew it hurt and it was certainly inconvenient but I had no idea how fast a fall like mine could become a matter of life and death. The Centers for Disease Control lays it out with no nonsense.
I got used to the ridge across the back of my head, and I’ve been in PT since Thanksgiving. My therapist, my primary care doc and I are in the process of creating a routine that will help me build balance, and core strength, and keep me on my feet.
Of continuing importance for me, really a staple of my program is Tai Chi. I never miss a class – not because I think it’s a cure all, but a lot of recent research shows it does help older people stay flexible and keep their balance. but i find that even more important is the fact that if I make myself get up and out for that hour of exercise, I’m more likely to keep moving all day.
The order of the day now is experimenting with creating a gym at home with exercise stations everywhere, my therapist has designed exercises I can pick up and do all day long. More about that tomorrow.