I phoned a friend last week and asked her how things were going. She paused and then said, "Well, not so good."
I inquired worriedly, "Why? What happened?"
She sighed. "I was trying to get out of the shower yesterday morning and I slipped on the wet floor."
I gasped appropriately as she continued her story.
"I did the splits," she stated, "And then I landed on the floor and heard a snap."
"Wait!" I shouted excitedly. "Stop right there! You did the SPLITS? I am sooo impressed! I’ve never been able to do the splits!"
"I broke my ankle," she finished. "I’m in a cast for six weeks and right now I’m using a walker to get around the house."
"Good Lord!" I said to my husband after I hung up the phone. "We had better buy those ugly anti-slip flowers to put on the floor of the shower. And we’d better think about installing handlebars in the bathtub too!"
My husband stared at me. "Why don’t we wear helmets and knee pads while we’re showering too?" he asked sarcastically.
After I reached the age of 40, the idea of falling down suddenly wasn’t as appealing as it used to be. After all, my bones are becoming brittle, my skin is becoming translucent, and it takes me 10 minutes just to get up off the toilet when I go to the bathroom. It’s a lot more dangerous to be klutzy in mid-life.
As a child, falling down was a daily occurrence and I have the scars to prove it. When I started to cry after a bad fall my Mom would say, "Oh, you’re okay. You bounce just like a ball!" or something silly like that to keep me from seeking immediate medical attention (hence the reason for the scars).
When I was teenager, I fell down frequently in the wooden halls of my high school because (1) the hardwood floors were slippery, and (2) I was wearing stiletto heels with jeans (which were in fashion by the way in the late 70s).
As a young adult, I waited tables to pay my way through college. One evening during the dinner rush, I slipped on a wet floor with a Schooner sundae (this is a very large dish of ice cream and toppings) in each hand. I landed smack on my bottom in front of a crowd waiting for tables. I am still proud of the fact that I didn’t spill one drop of those Schooner sundaes and that I was wearing underwear that night. Otherwise, those dinner patrons waiting in line might have seen A LOT more than just the menu that night. I can vouch for one thing though. I did not bounce.
After I had my children, I once fell down 15 steps with the baby carrier in one hand and my purse in the other. I’m pretty sure I could have made the Olympic gymnastic team that morning had anyone important witnessed my fall. I only remember seeing my husband’s face contorted in fear as I catapulted down the stairs. Luckily, my son was belted in his car seat and his airbag deployed, saving him from serious injury. My purse on the other hand didn’t fare as well.
I haven’t fallen recently, but I know my day is coming. I have experienced several "near misses" and barely escaped alive after one incident last winter when I desperately grabbed onto my husband’s hair to save myself from sliding under the car thanks to a piece of black ice. It took him weeks to talk to me again after I ripped out 500 of the remaining 600 hairs he has left on the top of his head.
I’m thinking of signing up for one of those necklaces with the button that will save my life if I fall down at home and no one wants to scrape me up off the floor. For now, I think I’ll take a gamble and hope I don’t need it for a few more years.
I’ve always lived life on the edge.