My Indian name would be She Who Falls On Her Ass

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If I were an Indian.

I have always, ALWAYS, been a klutz. If you are curious as to who could trip, fall, face plant, or otherwise maim themselves in the safest of situations…I’m your girl.

Back in my super fit dancing days, I was performing at an outdoor venue, hit mud, slid, fell, got mud in my hair (and EARS), and got right back up and finished.

I busted going down wooden steps in slick shoes at a child’s birthday party and dropped F bombs in front of a bunch of 3 year olds. Parents love me!

I fell down a handicap ramp. For serious. Who falls down a handicap ramp? ME.

I wiped out in a gravel driveway a few years ago. I tripped on the flip flop the was on my foot.

I ran for a ringing cellphone in socks on hardwood floor. My nose broke my fall as it grazed down the side of my ottoman. Rug burn on noses sucks. Just thought you’d like to know.

My coup de grace wasn’t a fall but more of a midair collision. I was tubing at the lake. My friend and I were sharing a tube meant for one person. Hello Darwin Award! The driver accidentally slung us into wake. We flew up in the air, hit each other hard, and hit the water. Thank God for life jackets! I could hardly move for three days: my right side and her left side were badly bruised and banged up.

To clarify, every one of these falls happened post arthritis diagnosis minus the dancing example. Sure, I fell prior but the falls weren’t as memorable and none resulted in permanent injury. I thought all of it was funny until I slipped on unmarked standing water in the entrance of Target. I had no problems with my ankle before that, and two years later, it’s still not the same.

It’s fair to say that the idea of falling now, thanks to Target, is frightening. To be honest, it really shook me up and I may have completely freaked out. I sometimes felt like my own safety police, trying to identify fall risks and determine ways around them. I built the idea of falling into the WORST. THING. EVER. and it really controlled what I did for a very long time. It was exhausting.

It’s also fair to say that increasing physical activity increases your risks if falling. I have been well aware of that for the past year and a half, and refuse situations that I think will inevitably lead to me laying myself out on the ground. No box jumps is my mantra.

This past week, I fell.

We were doing standing lunges: feet together, step out with one foot, knee to the ground, stand up. Repeat on other leg.

Easy right? But klutziness doesn’t discriminate between easy and hard, and it certainly doesn’t care if you’re afraid of something.

We were doing a long circuit with high reps. My second time through, I was on number 28 of 30 standing lunges. I was tired. My muscles were fatigued. I remember thinking ‘two more so let’s do your best and touch that knee to the ground.’ Note to self and others: it’s ok to hold back because you’re tired.

I stepped out with my left (bad ankle) leg, bent my right knee so that it was touching the floor, and the muscle around my right knee completely cramped/spasmed as I was coming up. At that point, both my legs turned to jello. I still innately don’t trust my left foot but I was able to pull it back underneath me and into a squat position.

I think I would’ve stayed upright if it’d been the other foot, but I feel like I still compensate some with my right so trying to shift some weight to a leg that was mush?

Ass. On. The. Ground.

I sat there for a second and assessed how I felt: I didn’t hurt. It was a true muscle cramp and unlike the Target fall, once I hit the floor and let the muscle relax, I felt fine.

Dignity and pride were both a bit bruised and bloodied.

The next day I was still fine. And the next. And then I was weirdly excited!

I fell! On the ground! And the world hasn’t ended! And it happened too quickly for me to even think about it!

I swear that there’s a point to this post. I talk a lot about fear in a previous post: fear of injury, fear of failure, fear of even trying because maybe I wouldn’t be able to.

As I continue on this path, I am constantly having to assess where these fears are coming from. What I’m learning is that many of my limitations are ideas rather than physical.

Facing these fears is some pretty heavy sh*t for all of us, and all of our fears are different. Those feelings are there for a reason but in my case, the reason isn’t always valid. Yes, it is absolutely necessary for us to protect ourselves and our bodies, but not at the expense of being fearful of life.

I have fallen lots of times (cringe). Only one of these times did it result in a serious injury. Yes, it is ok to be upset about an injury and protective of a body that has minor limitations. But no, it’s not ok to let one bad thing keep you from moving on with life.

Sometimes I swear I’m my own worst enemy!

TL/DR: I fell on my ass and didn’t die.

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12 responses »

  1. Your blog is always an education to me – not so much in the sense of learning to overcome fears, although there’s a useful lesson there for sure – but more learning about the bizarre activities you Americans get up to … having said which, I’ve just discovered you can go tubing in Norwich, up the road from me. (I won’t be!!)

  2. Ah, Amanda, you cracked me up with this post! As I am your sister-in-grace, I identify completely with you and your mishaps. Like you, I’ve only rarely been seriously hurt, but my ego definitely took a hit every time.

    And yes, I’ve become quite fearful of falling again. Since my last fall, several years ago, I’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, which worries me even more.

    But you’re right, of course. The fear of the event is usually far worse than the event itself. I’ll keep that in mind as I get on with things. And I’m glad that you’ve overcome yours. Your new Indian name: Puts Fear Behind Her. :D

  3. I’ve noticed that I seem to have more “accidents” since my diagnosis. Is it simply a matter of aging? Are the meds making me unsteady? All of the above? Either way I find myself becoming ever more tentative.

  4. So, the words…see a rheumatologist because there is suspicion of RA were uttered to me today. After years of on again off again feeling like poo, I have felt at my lowest. The stiffness, Soreness, ridiculous fatigue, chest pains became too much. I went to the ER. Every heart, lung and blood test indicated good things. The ER doc…she suffers from RA…asked if there was arthritis/lupus in my family. Yes there is. So, she put the bug in my ear, gave me IV and pill steroids and referred me to a rheumatologist. I’m not sure what to feel it think, I’m just glad to know there may be an answer to all of this. If I have an answer, then I can make a plan. Thanks for your blog, I’ll be checking in more frequently.

    Sharon

  5. Ye Gods & Little Fishes! You are reading my mind! I have had for quite a long while a fear of falling – not without good evidence of course. I have so far been able to find a way back on my feet, sometimes with helps, sometimes by myself. I fell 2 1/2 years ago and broke my hip – I broke my cardinal rule “Watch where you are stepping”. I tripped over my mother – at the time she followed me around the house a lot, real evidence of her dementia. When I saw my rheumatologist, she told me 70% of people who fall, fall again within 2 years. I decided I was one of the 30% – did fine until about 5 weeks ago when I slid. Not really a fall, but I messed up my right knee in a gentle landing. Still afraid to fall but doing a lot better than I used to.

  6. Falling is scary, especially when getting back up is an uncertainty. I fell in my kitchen recently. I had a box of pots and pans and other stuff on the floor (I’m reorganizing the kitchen) and backed into it while cooking something on the stove. I flailed a bit then toppled over onto my butt, sitting inside the box. I could not get up. I felt so ridiculous, trying to grab something to pull myself up and ended up flopping over onto my stomach and dragging myself to the stairs, where I could grab a railing. It’s really annoying, since my knees and leg muscles seem to stop working when they’re bent beyond 90 degrees. I think the reduced range of motion we get from RA can make it harder to recover when we start to fall, so it doesn’t surprise me that people with RA might fall more often.

    I rarely ever fell before RA and even after it, until a couple of years ago. My knees and ankles have gotten progressively worse over the 32 years I’ve had RA and I’ve had a few falls. One time, I tripped on the vacuum cleaner and didn’t exactly fall, but landed hard enough to fracture my fibula… which I didn’t even realize for several weeks because it hurt less than my usual RA pain. I’ve since taken a header in a parking lot (Home Depot) after getting my foot caught on a wooden pallet with plants on it, and also fell in my house, slipping on my hardwood floor after using bug spray and not noticing the slippery residue that landed there. I also fell in a hotel – twice – (and fractured my big toe and foot the second time), tripping on the carpet. The first one there was when I fell in the lobby and had to get the desk clerk guy to help me up. Talk about embarrassing. I’ve come close to falling a few more times and noticed it happens when I don’t pay attention and don’t lift my feet high enough while walking. It’s kind of embarrassing to trip over grass or even your own feet.

  7. I would say my name is Princess Faceplant. I usually end up falling face first, but the other day I fell backwards on a stool and landed on my back. But the still seemed to support me, and once I was down, I was rolled over onto my right side fairly gently. Once again, ignoring my cardinal rule of “Watch where you step”.

  8. You are funny and inspiring! Life can be a pain sometimes, but I can tell you make the most of it.

    Not all stories end as well though. My wife of nearly 22 years died from an auto-immune condition called Multiple Sclerosis after suffering from it for almost a quarter of a century.

    There is still no cure for the disease, and not really much in the way of effective treatment but the research through the MS Society continues, and it is important that a cure and effective treatments for the symptoms are found soon, so that other lives can be improved or saved.

    I am walking through the entire west coast of Scotland to raise funds for the MS Society in the UK. Please take the time to share my story and encourage others to participate.

    Thanks!

  9. Finding your blog today almost made me not care for a minute that I got diagnosed with RA last week. This post actually made me laugh my ass off, especially the tubing stunt. Good one! I can totally relate to the flip flop debacle. I did that stepping over a low slung steel cable fence at the park, hooked the toe of my flipper right on the cable, and did a face plant into the parking lot. Joy. I’m sure it sucked for you too but thanks for the good LOL!

    Also, I thought your post a bit synchronistic considering I just posted one about fear too. The fact that you’re able to have a popular blog despite not posting as often as the so-called blogging geniuses require, was inspiring to me to keep with my blog. With health issues, it’s just not the priority but definitely worthwhile.

    Looking forward to reading more from you. Cheers!

    • Kiki, I LOVE your blog! I’ll link up next time I’m on a desktop. If it makes you feel better, sometimes my blog scares me too. What to share, what not to share, does this have a point etc…I think that’s why I post so infrequently. I don’t want to post to post. And while there are times that I’d love to call someone out by name on my blog, that would be bad for business. :) Sorry to hear that you’ve joined ‘the club’ but feel free to ask questions/vent if you need to!

  10. Hi-
    I enjoyed your blog very much. I have had at least one RA condition since I was 22 and have pretty much been in pain since then. I got my first Masters degree in scient with one RA, my second MA was ok, my doctorate was a challenge and several years ago I got the big diagnosis unlike the small Hashimotos: Ankylosing Spondylitis. It is scarey but I am taking shots -a pain (Hoho) but they help.

    But it was your falls that really brought me here. I have always been a faller but never have broken a bone.I fell out of bed several weeks ago (dont ask) and it hurt a lot but things were ok. I also have FM which the research shows is often active in women who are very supple. I am very supply-left over from a past life in ballet and balletdancing ans yes PT.. I fell over my adult sons foot in anearby cafe plaza-we were going for sugarry food so I was motivated-first thing I do is pray then get into the recovery position and crawl someone to sort things out. So that hurt for a long time.

    But the best one-feel free to laugh-was at the huntington Gardens. I had the camera of my dreams and my husband (ie like a date). We came over the rise and all I coulds ee was the Japanese gardens. I totally missed that there were stone circular stairs beneath my unconscious feet
    So-I fell all the way down. When I fell all of my joints pop (Dr siad this was unusual but may be presenting fractures) so there I was with my hands in the air like a popcorn soundign rolly-coaster ride till I hit the bottom. My husband followed me down and asked me if he needed to call 911. I did my short prayer and started to triage the damage. 2 skinned knees and a fair amount of stiffness but my camera was fine and I got up and stretched and was able to go on (with a bit of painmedication and limp) So falling is a frequent experience with RA. I am taking Humera SUBQ and it is helping me and it has stopped my hair ffrom fallin out.

    Thank you for sharing your life. Your is the first Blog (is that right). I admire both your grit and generosity.

    Have a great week

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