Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grab bars and gracefully aging--or falling

The other night good friends gathered at my dinner table. As I often do, I felt a little out of the conversation--maybe my hearing, maybe the fact that my family and friends are loud and all talk at once, and I get drowned out. But suddenly the conversation turned to me and safety in the shower--and I no longer felt left out. I was clearly at the center of the talk. (Jordan later said, "I didn't know you fell in the shower. When did you do that?" I explained I haven't--they were anticipating to the point they almost scared me out of taking showers.) Did I have grab bars? No, I have a towel rack in the shower. Oh, that would pull right out of the wall--they haven't seen the cement used to secure it in this old house. How did I get out of the tub? I hold on to the towel rack on the back of the bathroom door and step onto a rug. That would never do--too flimsy. Where was my monitor? Hanging on the doorknob within easy reach. And there's a non-skid rubber mat on the bottom of the tub. No, I need grab bars--can't figure out where I would put them that they wouldn't just make it harder to get out of the tub, but I will ask the contractor next time he's here.
I have fallen three times in recent months--once tripping over a flipped-back rug, once tangling my feet in the dog's leash, and once simply not paying attention and missing a single step down. None of those have to do with age; they do have to do with not paying attention, a lifetime habit. In fact, Colin, my oldest, said he would forgive me that single step fall in Jamie's house because he himself almost missed it a few times.
I'm grateful to have the concern of these loving friends but I suddenly felt like the really old lady at the table--the next oldest person is twenty years younger than me, almost to the day. And I was not at all sure how I felt about being in that role--no, I knew. I don't like it. I don't feel any older than these friends.
Over Thanksgiving, my oldest daughter fell while running--she tripped, as she said, "over nothing." Bunged up her knee, broke her cell phone, and put her hands out to stop herself--wrong, wrong! I know to roll with a fall and have not--knock on wood--injured myself badly. But no one made Megan's fall the subject of a major discussion.
I really don't want to be the old lady in the room. But then I appreciate concern. A dilemma.

5 comments:

Kaye George said...

I DID fall in the bathtub--and tore my rotator cuff. It made me feel like such an old person! I was using some new oily stuff that was too slick. I threw it away! And had surgery.14 neofnc

Judy Alter said...

Kaye, it's always a fear of mine. I tore a rotator cuff (don't know how) but by the time i went to the doctor he said it was beyond repair, an old injury and the muscles had atrophied. It flares up occasionally, hinders me just a bit but I can still do yoga!

Kaye George said...

Oh dear! I'm sorry about that. I waited from February to November and mine was "hanging by a thread", so I almost met your fate. Glad you can still do yoga!

Judy Alter said...

I wasn't heartbroken to skip the surgery. From friends who had it, I hear it's a bear.

Judy Alter said...

I wasn't heartbroken to skip the surgery. From friends who had it, I hear it's a bear.