It didn’t used to happen. Falling, I mean. Sure, I’d walk into walls. I’d trip over absolutely nothing. Ballet dancers do that (or I did, anyway). But falling? Only when I was aiming for a triple pirouette.
But Then I Hit 40. And then 50.
Things started to change. A benign tumor was growing in my right ear. Fibroids were developing in my uterus. My center of balance started to shift. Falls became more common.
I have some doozies in my recent past. Like, right over the top of the handlebars, for instance. Or falling backward from opening the window, and landing on my tailbone. Oh, and there was the one where I was walking to the kitchen and I stepped wrong, and broke my fibula. Yeah, that was a good one. (Fast forward ten months and I did it again, at the Day Job. Sigh.)
Since then, there were the two – or maybe three – times I’ve gone sprawling, face-first, in the grocery store. (I blame the shoes I wore.) Or on the street, heading to my car. (Dark, rain, puddles, headlights.)
By now, the tumor is long gone. Ditto the uterus. I should be back to “normal” and just be walking into walls and tripping over nothing. Right? For some reason, I’m not. And that totally sucks.
Falling never ceases to be nerve wracking. Like, is this the time I totally ruin my body? Or, is my tumor back? In the other ear this time, maybe? Do I have multiple sclerosis like my mother did? Is this the time I break a hip, an elbow, both wrists? The thoughts that go through my head after a fall are agonizing, and I know I can’t be alone there.
I do balance exercises. It’s one of the reasons I started giving myself a ballet barre again. I work at balance, I swear I do.
17 at Heart
In my heart of hearts, I’m seventeen. Or maybe twenty-nine. (Oh, shut up, lol.) I have the verve and agility and balance out the wazoo that I used to have. And that remembered verve gets me in trouble. I wish it didn’t, but it does. Every. Single. Time.
My last fall happened over the weekend. I’d been meaning to do something – not sure what – and when reminded, I jumped up from the chair with verve and alacrity, and immediately tripped over the footstool. Barking my shin, my toes, bumping the coffee table which tipped over several fragile marble chess pieces (breaking two), landing on one hip and one wrist before gracefully rolling onto my back, legs to my chest, breathing slowly and taking inventory.
Two days later, my wrist is still sore. My hip has recovered, as have my toes. My shin has a nice 4 inch, barely visible scrape/bruise which is tender to the touch but otherwise unremarkable. I have survived. I live, to fall another day.
I will redouble my balance work. I will do my best to make my pathways as clear as possible. I will do everything in my power to stop falling. But the one thing I refuse to do is pull away from my inner seventeen-year-old. I like her. I don’t want to give her up. I don’t want to have to live so cautiously that I am afraid to do anything. Because for me, that’s no way to live.
My spirit is seventeen. I’ll curb her when I need to, but I won’t squash her.
Falling and Multiple Sclerosis…
Stay up with the barre work!! I’m at water aerobics..looking @ more ‘balance work’, too. and believer that if I keep my ‘stock’ in Peter Pan, I’ll be ‘always 29’! Sp glad I’ve found your blog!!
Aw, thanks, hon! I’d love to try water aerobics. Right now it doesn’t fit into my schedule, but I’ll keep trying. Cheers!
Sorry about your fall, Christine! I’m glad you’re…ah…bouncing back. I’m still 17 in my mind too, but alas, not in my swimsuit. :}
LOL Sam. I think that’s reserved for 17 y/o and celebrities!
Love your spirit, Christine! And stay safe, too!
I’ll do my best, Kady!
I love your line “I live, to fall another day”. Eventually we will all lose this battle, but there’s no reason to act like losers until the final tally is being counted.
If only you were a man Christine – we get to act 17 our whole lives and no one complains because we’re not expected to be mature.
Thanks for being so transparent with your posts. You rock little girl!
LOL Leo! You’re too sweet. Tell your lovely wife to give you a hug for me, okay? Cheers hon!
Nothing shakes me up as much as falling. Even my near-misses, like stumbling backward in the garden and catching myself before my butt and the dirt say Hi leave me shaken. My dog and a teen on a skateboard caused my latest fall. Toto hates skateboarders, with good cause. Like you, I lay on the ground testing each ache for a deeper, more serious pain, and felt blessed when I didn’t find any.
It’s scary. Something that we don’t think of when we’re learning to walk, or ride a bike or whatnot, is now a very real “thing”. Hugs, Toni!
Awww, sorry about your latest fall. That must have hurt. I’ve always been a fast walker but in recent years have concentrated on slowing down. I sometimes still forget. But the thing is you lead a very full life and juggle a lot of things from job, home, family, and your writing. It might not be so much the balance but the fact that you need to rest your mind. I say meditate. : ) Now you ask…when?
LOL Roben – I actually started meditating last night. It’s a first thing in the morning, last thing at night practice. So we’ll see how long I can keep at it! Cheers hon!
I have a healthy avoidance of falling – my orthopedist told me after my knee replacements, “Don’t fall.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t, however! I have faceplanted in the dirt more often than I like, usually because of the f-ing rocks that abound at my house. I think your ballet helps you like my tumbling did as a kid – I know how to fall. But I live in fear of falling and catastrophically damaging a leg (with fake knees, there’s a limit to what can be fixed…). But I’m with you. My inner 20 year old is irrepressable. I don’t feel 60. I certainly don’t act 60. And that’s ok.
Oh, I so understand, Laurie! Hang in there, and may your falls never ever be catastrophic!
I read in a book a few years ago that what helps the most with balance, especially for women, is weight lifting. I’ll see if I can find an article reference to this. Here’s one but it’s very small. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/why/ In the book that I’d read it suggested that strengthening muscles helps us “catch” ourselves when we lose our balance. It is this weakening of muscles strength that is actually the main cause of increased falls in people as we age.
Hmm, I’d better start lifting more.
Maria, it’s not weights per se that help. It’s core strength – those stomach and back muscles that help pull you up when you start to teeter. That and balance, combined. (I mean, Jane Fonda wouldn’t lie to me, would she?) Don’t get me wrong – weights are great for all sorts of other things, like strong bones. But mainly it’s core strength that will see you through. Hugs hon!