Fall Risk

092At Mayo, we often have patients who come through the operating area who have little arm bands on them that say, “Fall Risk.” I am not sure what the criteria are for qualifying for one of these arm bands as I see them on young fairly healthy people as well as elderly frail people. If you slipped and fell on the icy sidewalk outside the hospital, you definitely get one. I am thinking that I maybe should be sporting one of those based on the last few weeks.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was pumping gas at the local gas station when I decided to step over the gas hose to get back into the car while the tank filled. I didn’t get my left foot quite high enough and the next thing I knew, my body was moving on but my foot wasn’t. I landed on my hip, then elbow, then shoulder. First, I lay there trying to figure out if anything hurt bad enough to be considered broken and then I looked all around to see who had seen me. It was dark and no one was around so I picked myself back up and went on my way with no major damage done except to my pride.

Today, I decided to go for my walk with Bella as I still try to do if the weather is cooperative. It was 30 degrees when I set out, the perfect temperature to not freeze to death while, at the same time, not overheat and just cold enough to obliterate the mud that has been constantly with us most of the winter so far. I have been working on increasing my jogging distance over the summer. I think I can do ¼ of a mile now, certainly nothing compared to the distances done by marathon runners, but a distance I am proud of none-the-less.

Christmas Tree 002Needless to say, I was jogging along nicely. There was no ice to slip on and the footing seemed secure. All of a sudden, my right ankle did a “turn-over.” As intense pain shot through my right extremity, I attempted to throw the weight back onto my left foot. Of course, while I was doing this foot dancing, my upper body was continuing with its forward momentum. I made a few running steps in an effort to regain balance but in my mind, I realized it was a lost cause. With a sense of impending disaster, my life flashed before my eyes. With the road coming up fast, I needed to decide how best to crash land. I did a kind of “hit knees, then hands, arms, chest” in a flat out sprawl. As I lay there, all I could think was, “I’m supposed to work tomorrow,” “It’s almost Christmas,” and “How am I going to get back to the house?” After a few minutes of stunned reflection, I realized nothing really hurt too badly. “Maybe, I can get up and hobble home.” And so began my slow trek back to the house.

Of course, I couldn’t just let my exercising go for the day so I went to the basement to lift weights. My stomach muscles followed by my left rib cage muscles soon informed me that I had already overtaxed them. Uh! Everything hurts. Not to mention the slowly swelling ankle.

If I get one of those “Fall Risk” armbands, I wonder if someone will watch me closely so that I don’t keep falling flat on my face.

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