For some reason today I was thinking about some of the nasty falls I have had over the years. Maybe it’s because I need to clean the oven range hood. It means using a step ladder. Something I am leery of doing. I had a nasty fall off it once. I was putting stuff into one of those impossibly high kitchen cupboards. You know, the ones you have to climb onto something in order to reach. When it came time to get down, I misjudged. Instead of landing on the first (or last) rung, my foot slipped into a void that took me toppling backwards. My young son walked into the kitchen, took one look at my body lying on the floor in shock, and ran off to get dad. “Mum’s fallen in the kitchen. I think she’s dead!!” I wasn’t. But I guess you know that given I’m telling you the story.
Then there was the time I literally fell out of an aeroplane. Disembarking. I tumbled head over heels down the portable stair thingy, landing in a heap on the tarmac. I will forever remember the concerned face of a gentleman looking down at me, asking if my leg was broken as it was at a funny angle. It wasn’t. I was. Broken with embarrassment. Which was further added to by the airport staff loading me onto the luggage cart and taking me into the terminal where my worried husband and children were wondering what had become of me. All the other passengers had left already. I was eventually released into my husband’s care, via wheelchair, having filled out incident reports.
Stairs worry me. I also tumbled down a flight at work once. Bruised and battered in body and spirit, I was sent to the local doctor for a check up. Nothing major broken.
The last embarrassing episode occurred when we were on a road trip a few years ago. I landed in the gutter.
These and several others I don’t care to share with you, leave me with abiding memories of an ankle that sometimes seems to be somehow missing in action at the critical point. Just when it needs to do its job of weight bearing on solid ground, it simply is not there. I’m sure it’s a thing. Just what, I don’t know. Google says it is ankle instability due perhaps to an old injury. I don’t remember having one. An injury that is. I think my ankle just likes to keep me guessing.
It hasn’t happened in a long time. That’s because I have taken charge of ankle control At. All. Times. When a potentially dangerous situation presents, I am on high ankle alert. I avoid stairs if I can. And if not, I take it slow and easy one step at a time hanging onto any railings like my life depended on it. Which I dare say it does. Despite strange looks from strangers, and impatient queues of non-ankle challenged people wanting to get past in a hurry, I persevere. If at all possible, I go last, or breathe in deep and hope there is room for them to pass without knocking me over.
I am deliciously delighted to report that I am not the only one who is accident prone. TRH (the who is retired) has had a few spectacular falls. Two come to mind. There was the occasion he was helping our neighbour do something on his roof. It required climbing a ladder. Of course. To this day it remains a mystery how he managed to slip like a greased pig between the rungs of the ladder. Looking at his size, and the gap he slipped through, one would have to conclude it was an impossibility. But he did. He landed on his back. The image of the ladder was mirrored by the bruising that coloured his torso from waist to knees. I heard the fall and ear piercing yell from our kitchen. Running in slow motion to the neighbour’s taking the long route (that too remains a mystery. I could have just jumped the fence.) scenes of death and doom flicked through my mind. When I arrived out of breath, there he was, sitting on the ground, the neighbour’s wife applying the healing cold of frozen whiting to his back. He survived intact. But to this day he has an impressive lump of scar tissue across his lower back.
The other occasion was equally spectacular. Our back yard was a boat building yard for many, many years. In order to get up on deck, the boys had constructed a wooden steps. Over the years it developed wood rot. They knew it was there of course. It simply never felt urgent enough to warrant a fix. They knew which steps to avoid. Until the day he didn’t. Avoid the rotten step that is. He fell. And mighty was his fall. I had a full view from my kitchen window of him falling in slow motion. Once again, he landed on his back. His head missing the massive steel cradle holding the boat in place by mere millimetres. His brother quickly shot down, saw that he was alive and well. Without further ado or discussion, the rotten steps were removed and replaced with new, strong, sturdy ones.
Watch your step