I recently had one of those life-can-change-in-an-instant moments.
The day started with my annual cardiologist appointment, and I left his office feeling very upbeat about my health. Hubs and I had just put our home on the market a few days prior, and we already had our second showing scheduled for later that day. It was an unseasonably warm day for early spring in Maine, and there’s nothing like sunshine to make you feel as if all’s right with the world. It was shaping up to be a really good day.
On the way home from the doctor, I stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things—and that’s when it happened.
As I walked across the parking lot toward the store, I twisted my ankle. I was wearing slides with a slight platform, and my right foot just kind of slipped out of the shoe. I started falling forward and tried to regain my balance, but the momentum was too great; I couldn’t move fast enough to get my legs back under me.
So I fell.
I landed first on my left knee, and instinctively put my hands out as my upper body toppled toward the ground. The pads on my palms hit the pavement next, followed by my face. Thankfully, my hands and arms had slowed the speed of my fall, so my chin and nose only tapped the pavement.
I lay there for a second, taking inventory of my body, and several people ran over. A man put out his hand and helped me up, asking if I was okay and if I’d hit my head. I was shaken, my knee hurt and my dignity was bruised, but otherwise I felt all right. Nothing was broken.
I proceeded into the store and did my shopping. I picked a few tiny pieces of dirt out of my palms. I bagged my own groceries and loaded things into my car. I made the 40-minute drive home. Then, as the day wore on and the adrenaline rush of the fall subsided, the pain began to reveal itself.
Long story short, I’d really bruised my right wrist, and pulled something on the top and side of my right foot. I’d also bruised or pulled something behind my left boob, so I felt pangs there whenever I sneezed or coughed.
Ice, ibuprofen, an ace bandage and a good night’s sleep helped. And as I wrote this (which I was able to do, no problem) the morning after, I felt pretty good. A little stiff and sore, but I knew I’d live.
I realize accidents like this can happen at any age. But you read about how falls are so decimating to older adults, and I get that now more clearly than ever.
I was lucky. I could have broken a hip, wrist or ankle (I have osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis, which makes bones more brittle). I could have sustained a head injury. I could have been unable to type—and therefore unable to work. The litany of potential consequences goes on—and they’re all pretty dire. But I’m okay—and grateful.
The takeaway lessons from my fall? First, get rid of those freakin’ shoes. I’ve got to stop letting vanity drive my footwear decisions. Hem the damn jeans and wear flats.
Second, pay attention to what I’m doing in the moment, and where my body is in relation to the world around me. I chose “mindful” as my word for 2016—my mind was obviously elsewhere when I stumbled. Snap out of it!
Third? I have so much to be grateful for. My health. Mobility. The ability to heal quickly. To be able to function independently. That I’ve made it to nearly 63 without a major injury. That there are kind people who didn’t hesitate to help me in Trader Joe’s parking lot. That there’s a Trader Joe’s in Maine to begin with, and that day they had the fat-free feta cheese I like. That I was wearing clean underwear in case I had to go to the hospital. That I’m not married to Donald Trump. But I digress…
My tumble inspired this Boomer Haiku:
in life assumes literal
meaning once you fall.
What about you? Have you had one of those life-can-change-in-an-instant moments? What did you learn from the experience?