As many of you know, I fell in late April/early May and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I broke both bones in my lower right leg, almost in the ankle. Walking on it for two weeks did not help healing, and an orthopedic surgeon pronounced it beyond repair. I am now wearing an orthopedic boot night and day, which is a real pain but if it keeps me out of surgery, I’m grateful to do it and wheel around on the walker (you’re not supposed to do that). Getting me out of the house in a transport chair is difficult for all involved, including me—but it can be done. I am officially handicapped and have the benefit of the Medicare Home Health program. I cannot put any weight on my right foot for the foreseeable future.
At first I thought this was the event that would turn me into an old woman, but I don’t feel that way anymore. Depression has been replaced by an optimistic kind of acceptance, and I remain in good spirit most of the time. Frustrated, though, by all the things I can’t do—reach up in a cabinet, fix my meals (unless someone has already prepared food), make my bed, etc. Washing my hair is an exercise in ingenuity—I balance on one foot, holding on to the sink with one hand and lathering with the other.
In spite of all, I fell again last week when visiting my son in Tomball. In my own defense it was dark and my eyes hadn’t adjusted. I thought I lined my walker up with the edge of the bed, but in truth I had them at an angle—and the bed simply wasn’t where I thought it should be. I ended on the floor, whacking the side of my head. Had a huge shiner the next day—looked like a painted eye patch. Then it began to heal—draining into my cheek and neck. I’d post a picture but I don’t want any of you to see me looking like that. Jordan and Jacob have taken to warning visitors before they see me.
All this means that I am a statistic:
1 of three seniors fall each year
1 of five sustain serious injury, usually fractured hip or head trauma
700,000 are hospitalized
250,000 break a hip, which is often the end to good health.
Deaths from falls have dramatically increased since 2004 and now stand at 58 per 100,000 people
Many seniors become so afraid of falling that they cut down on activities, thereby growing weaker and more prone to falling.
What factors can you work on to avoid falling?
Exercise to strengthen lower body
Take plenty of Vitamin D
Exercise to improve balance
Check meds—do they make you sleepy, dizzy, unsure of your footing?
Check your vision
If you suffer from foot pain or wear inappropriate shoes, you’re more likely to fall.
Home hazards include throw rugs, broken stairs, stairs without handrails.
Listen up my fellow senior citizens and be very careful but do live your life and enjoy it!