FAILURE TO BOUNCE – Marilyn Armstrong

Again, I tried to find a prompt for this, but nothing fit. Ironically, yesterday’s “writhe” would have fit today’s post, but I’m pretty sure you only get one use per prompt so I’ll just have to wing it.

Winging it is definitely the wrong word.

Yesterday evening, I stepped out of my shower, hit a damp piece of floor, and my bad left knee crumpled under me and down I went.

Defining bad left knee: When I was in my mid-20s, I fell and tore all the ligaments and tendons in my left knee. All of them healed except the ACL (anterior Crucis ligament). Repairing that ligament was major surgery followed by a year of physical therapy and healing time. And the surgery doesn’t always work.

They have to thread a new ligament (or whatever they use as a new ligament) through your knee and stitch it into place and then hope that it “takes” properly. The general advice was that unless I was a skier or a serious hiker, I could just be careful about the knee. Mostly, I had to not twist that leg because, at any angle other than straight, the knee recognizes its lack of ligament and collapses. It’s not painful. It just stops working like a knee.

It only hurts when you hit the ground.

At some point, when I was around 40ish, I discovered falling down was not like it was when I was younger. I couldn’t just get back up, dust myself off and move on. I had to be very careful on uneven sidewalks and “offroad.” As long as I kept my knees straight, no problem and if I needed it, I could get a brace that would give me a little extra support for the knee.

Mostly, I been very careful. I took a few falls in Boston, on Beacon Hill where sidewalks are notoriously bad. Since then, I’m careful to the point when I forget I have a tricky knee.

It wasn’t a huge fall. I didn’t break anything. I got some bruising in miscellaneous place and my knee is sore as was my back (no surprise there). What I hadn’t realized is that I had pulled a ligament or tendon (not sure which) in my groin area. A classic baseball injury and Garry assures me I’m now on the 10-day injury list.

I was really surprised at how sore I am. I did an unexpected split across the entrance to the shower and pieces of me hit the ridges that hold the shower doors in place. Sharp little things when they scrape across your thighs. By the end of the evening, I was limping around and complaining a lot. Mostly, I was complaining because I didn’t do anything dangerous or careless. I was so mad at me!

So I slept late this morning on the theory rest would help … and it did. It hurts a lot less than it did yesterday and I’m hoping that by tomorrow, it will hurt even less.

Garry said I should be more careful. I said if I were any more careful, I could just wrap myself in bubble wrap and never leave the sofa because I can’t be any more careful than I already am.

The real problem is at 72, I don’t bounce. What would be a very minor fall in earlier years is a much bigger deal.

Nothing reminds you of how you have aged quite as much as falling down.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

30 thoughts on “FAILURE TO BOUNCE – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Oh, so sorry. It must have hurt bad at the time. I know because I am a master at falling whenever I can. Every where and have hurt myself often.

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    1. it wasn’t a big fall, but little ones hurt a lot more than they used to. It was doing a split over the shower door rails that really got me. I’ve fallen so many times, I try not to think about it. I’ve fallen over my own feet for no reason at all — and over any of the dogs who have managed to entangle themselves between my legs. It just so aggravating.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is better today. I figure if I’m careful and don’t fall again, I’ll be okay pretty soon. But I did crumple this afternoon because I pulled the knee and now it’s all slippy and slidey. This getting older thing is a bummer.

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        1. I look very tired to me. I suspect it’s just time doing its thing. On the upside, we are alive and functioning — mostly. More frustrating is that salaries don’t go up, but prices keep rising. I try not to worry about it too much because I can’t fix it. Where are those rich elderly relatives?

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          1. I know the feeling… and was giving to understand that even asking for a smal increase in my hourly rate…the first for years.. would be enough to trigger a full review that might cost Nick his care. Which was kind of the person giving me the warning, but a ruddy disgusting situation to put people in…

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            1. We are supposed to get cost of living raises with our social security. But whenever they decide they are short of money for something stupid, they cancel raises. The last raise was a year ago and we each got about (gasp) $40 a month. Which doesn’t buy a whole weekend of groceries. If the people in the government had to live on this money, I bet we’d see some major raises!

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  2. Marilyn I felt every hit, every sharp edge and the landing on the floor with you. I am so deeply sympathetic for your trip downwards, speaking as a fellow sufferer. I do not have torn irreparable ligaments, but do have the after effects of a broken left leg which will not do what I tell it to, I have to lift it by hand to get in the car for example. I also have curious twinges in various strategic places and must be very careful as I walk that the twinge does not become a reason for losing my balance – I am sure you are with me with your experience. My last fall was almost good as I did not go straight down to the ground but was on my knees and managed to pull myself onto a chair. I did hit my ribs quite hard which I felt for a couple of weeks afterwards, but eventually the pain disappeared. I agree, it is those stupid pointy things that you hit on the way that cause the problems afterwards. I have a unique ear since one of my falls when I cut it on a sharp something (I never found out what the sharp something was). And the architecture of our bodies changes with every hit and bump. Bathrooms are one of the worst places because you are against hard material. In a couple of weeks the pain will dwindle and it will be another one of lif’s experiences to tell everyone. Get well soon – until the next time πŸ™‚

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    1. Falling is a big deal at our age and sadly, very common. Whenever I go to the doctor, they ALWAYS ask me if I’ve fallen and I always deny it because if I say I fell, they will follow me around “to protect me” and it would drive me nuts.

      The stupid thing about the fall was that I didn’t DO anything. I just carefully stepped out of the shower and apparently the floor was a little bit wet, the leg twisted and down I went … doing a not-too-elegant split in the process.

      Garry falls too. Not as much as he did because I have yelled at him to LOOK where he is going. Don’t just forge ahead. He tends to only look straight ahead. As a result, he has walked into doors and mirrors and poles over the years, even when he was younger. But now, at 77, he really can’t afford to take a serious fall. None of us can. Every time you fall, I mentally fall with you. I wince at the description because … well … me too. I’m pretty sure my shoulder is out because I started to fall on the stairs, but grabbed the handrail and stopped myself. The rest of me survived, but the shoulder didn’t.

      How careful can we BE? As far as I can tell, I’m as careful as possible. If I’m going to do anything, I can’t spend all my time on the sofa. As it is, I feel I need to move more than I do. If I move less, I’ll have NO muscles at all.

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  3. Oh dear that sounds sore. I’ve been in the garden for most of the afternoon weeding and I can hardly move. At least the garden looks better.
    Leslie

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    1. The groin pull is the most painful. The rest of it will heal fast, but pulling a ligament there hurts. Since I can’t get my meds, I’ve been essentially sleeping all day. now that night has arrived, I’m awake. And I hear thunder.

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    1. He’s just happy that nothing broke. I generally don’t break. I stretch. I pull muscles, pull ligaments, tear tendons. It’s actually easier to get a bone to heal than tendons and ligaments. But Garry is happy that I’m not broken and I’m happy that he is happy.

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  4. Sorry to hear you took a header, or a kneer, or whatever part of the anatomy that hurts. Those falls just happen, no matter how careful you try to be. I’m constantly on guard because I’m down before I know it, usually on my face that looks as if someone beat me up, with bruises of all colors. There were a couple of times when I had to appear in public right afterwards, and I offered the excuse,”You should see the other guy.”

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    1. This was a knee dive. I’ve taken facers too. Messed up my glasses pretty well. Not broken, but seriously bent.

      Usually, I go down suddenly and for no obvious reason. This time, I knew it was the bad knee twisting — something it hasn’t done for years. Last time, I just got tangled in my own feet and went face down in the parking lot, clutching the camera because I would heal, but the camera wouldn’t.

      And the dogs are trying to kill me. Two small black dogs and in a shadowy room, they are nearly invisible. Gibbs, in particular, has a way of getting completely tangled between my legs. He’s trying to get out of the way, but he gets confused about which way to go. At least in the living room, I land on the rug.

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  5. Oh, Marilyn, that must have really hurt. I am relieved that you were not more badly hurt. I know you are always careful but stuff happens and bathrooms are risky places. I am probably over cautious myself because I’m afraid of falling. Bathrooms are tricky, it only takes one wet patch on the floor or even a shoe without a grippy sole when you are cleaning. The older we get the harder it is to get over a fall but it is impossible to avoid everything unless we spend our whole lives in bed and even then you can fall out.

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    1. it was ONE wet patch — and not even a very wet patch — on the floor. Unless I’m going to shower wearing water shoes, I don’t see HOW I could be more careful. I’m terrified of falling … but between the dogs who are always getting tangled in our legs … and the stairs, which are scary because they ARE stairs … there’s nothing more I can do. I’ve started using the stair life at home because my balance going downstairs is not great and fear of falling is very real. Most places in the house are safe enough, but i have a bad knee and a bad back and flaky knees, so no matter how careful I am, life does its thing. I’m glad it wasn’t worse either, but my knee is really very fragile right now and I’m going to have to be very careful walking on it.

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  6. I have fallen a few times walking my dog on the leash when she zagged when I expected her to zig. Fortunately, nothing broke, except my dignity when I saw a bunch of people looking at me splayed out on the ground. But it does take a lot longer to heal at our age than it did when we were younger. I’m sorry you fell and are sore, but no broken bones is something to be thankful for.

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    1. As we get older, people get really worried when we fall. I’m always afraid someone will freak out and call an ambulance. I’d rather limp for a week. It really IS embarrassing as everyone looks at us with pity because they aren’t old yet and don’t understand that falling is a pretty normal thing to do. It’s just at our age, it hurts more.

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  7. I have fallen a few times in the last few years. I have not hurt myself but it is very embarrassing. The last time I was about to enter Target but I tripped over the curb and sprawled flat onto the concrete. Several people ran over to pick me up. I had dire muscles especially on my right hand and arm. Those parts hit the ground first. Very embarrassing. I carry a cane to help me get up out of chairs and if I have yo bend down to get something from the bottom shelf. The cane also helps me keep my balance. I tend to get a little wabbly sometimes.
    Hope you heal fast, get the meds you need and feel better.

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  8. I ‘get’ that. I’m not in your decade, but I experience the terror of falling down. I’ve fallen at least three times in the past four years (not a great amount, but three times too many for me) and things hurt for quite a while, plus a bruised dignity is the slowest to heal in my opinion. In my early 20s, I slipped on some ice and twisted my knee (probably tore some ligaments or damaged something vital). It swelled to a huge degree, and the doctor had to draw fluid off it with a long needle. That terrified me and I’ve had a terror of needles ever since too. After that incident, it seemed that I’d twist that same knee once or twice a year (usually in winter). Finally in 2016 I agreed that they could replace the damned thing. MISTAKE. It hurts worse now than prior to the surgery. Cortisone did the trick for a while, but stopped working and the shot hurt more than the pain from the damaged knee the last time they tried it. It didn’t help either. I’m glad you didn’t break a bone falling over like that, but I agree. What more, really, can you do to protect yourself? I suppose remembering to ‘go limp’ when you start falling is one way to make the trauma a bit less, but who remembers to go limp when one is automatically seizing up? Take care dear. We NEED you around.

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