It was two weeks ago today that I fell. It was unexpected & sudden, one moment, I was walking towards someone’s front door, the next there was a sharp pain in my left toe as it hit something hard & my head connected with a concrete doorstep.
In that split second, I was aware of the awful thudding sound of my body hitting the floor & for a few moments I was still, taking in what had just happened. I moved slowly at first, aware of a pounding in my head & ringing in my ears. I started to get to my feet. My sense of humor remained as ironically just before leaving home I had recorded a short video on how to get up after a fall. “Well, at least I know how to get up” I thought to myself.
I slowly got to my feet aware of a few cuts & scrapes on my hands, pain in my wrist & of course my head. Instantly knowing I would have to get checked out at the hospital because of the head injury.
“What a pain” I thought, "I really haven’t got time for this, I’m busy this afternoon…."
I managed to get myself back to the car just a few feet away & saw the two piles of books left out for me still waiting on the front doorstep. “Well, I’m not going without those” I said to myself & somehow kept moving, gathering up the books & dumping them onto the passenger seat. Limping to the driver’s side I slid into the car.
Sitting down, the shock of what had happened hit me & although I wanted to drive straight home, I knew I was in no safe state to do so. I started to shake uncontrollably & knew it was shock & my body’s parasympathetic nervous system was kicking in to release the trauma. I recognized this as a healthy body response I had no control over.
Thankfully I could easily reach my phone & despite the shaking, called my husband who was working from home due to the pandemic. I was relieved when he answered & as a volunteer EMT he knew to ask details of where I was & what had happened.
Soon I was at the ER where I was fortunate to not wait too long to see a doctor. As they took my details, we realized that my husband had no idea of any medication I took. In my dazed state I had some memory although I was still shaking uncontrollably.
I must be getting older as the doctor on duty seemed incredibly young, he was kind, cute & reassuring & after several x-rays on my fingers & hand, all the usual checks & a long wait, we were assured that nothing was broken, that I had a mild concussion & should rest & take it easy for the rest of the day.
I was relieved to be going home & as a typical Brit was desperate for that comforting cup of tea which is the cure for just about anything.
The days that followed revealed more bruises as they started to show themselves. A black toe, black & purple fingers, shoulder, arm & hip on my left side & of course my head. Fortunately, the bruise was covered by my hair & apparently my thick hair had helped to cushion the blow somewhat.
It’s easy to just look at the outward aftereffects of a fall. It’s the unseen emotional effects & loss of confidence that can be just as challenging to recover from. For several days afterwards I blamed myself & felt so stupid. What did I miss? What did I do wrong? There had been no curb to step up to, just a steep sharp slope, which I noticed afterwards was what I had tripped on.
I am 56 years young; I work out pretty much every day including lifting weights. I consider myself fairly fit & strong. I have taught Chair Yoga & Fall Prevention for the past ten years; however, this apparantly does not make one immune to falling.
I had to practice what I teach, self-compassion Be kind to myself & realize that although there are many things, we can do to prevent falls, sometimes there are genuine accidents, sometimes life just happens.
We need to be kind to ourselves, allow time to heal & to return as soon as possible to our commitment to getting & staying strong, working on our balance & flexibility.
I am also aware of a new fear in the back of my mind, of falling. It’s not a constant, but I am aware of being more cautious, making sure I am fully aware of my surroundings & making sure I check the path ahead of me. It’s good to have this new awareness, knowing what fall victims really feel like. I already empathize easily with people, but this experience has given me a whole new awareness of the fears seniors may face.
I am grateful that I only had a mild concussion, even so the headache lasted for almost two weeks. I still have swelling & bruising although much less than it was. I can’t imagine how shaken up & fragile one would feel with a worse fall & being a decade or more older.
This experience has given me a new determination to not only stay strong myself but to do my best to continue to help my yogis do the same. We may wobble on our path or sometimes fall; however, we will get up & continue our yoga practice which will help to keep us strong, mobile & independent.
Please click HERE to view the video I made on how to get up after a fall.