This is embarrassing and maybe the picture tells it all, but falls are such a dangerous threat for the elderly (that’s me) that I feel I should recount my tale. Last night, I fell in the bathroom in the middle of the night. Usually when I get up to use the bathroom in the night, I sit for a bit on the edge of my bed to sort of orient myself to being awake and make sure I’m steady. I can’t remember whether or not I did that last night.
But one minute I was sitting on the commode and the next I was face down on the tile floor. My family repeatedly asked today how it happened, and I honestly cannot tell them. It just happened—suddenly. Clearly, I was not paying attention. I had been sound asleep, and perhaps I dozed off for just a second. If so, it was a rude awakening. Perhaps my mind just drifted—I’m given to letting my mind wander when I’m awake during the night—get some good writing down that way.
My cheekbone took the brunt of the blow, and my theory is that the free-standing toilet paper holder fell on top of me, leaving a good-sized goose egg on the right side of my head. Christian gets the prize for the best question of the day. He asked, “Did it hurt?” Uh, yes—a lot! The rest of the night I slept only fitfully and was aware of throbbing in the cheekbone and pain all along the side of my head. I put ice on my cheek and took two Tylenol. By this evening, if I don’t touch my head and don’t look in the mirror, I can forget about it. But brushing my hair out of my eyes or scratching my head is painful—my scalp is so sensitive. And Jordan says the bruising is spreading.
There’s good news in all this. I had my phone on the seat of my rolling walker (Rollator), but I had no need to call anyone. With the help of the grab bar, I pulled myself up, got my feet under me, and was back where I started—on the commode. I bless those grab bars—there are four in my small bathroom. And I’m sort of proud of myself for being able to get up.
In truth, I was incredibly lucky and will look at this as a wake-up call. With my walker, I had gotten complacent about my poor balance. My fall could have had much more serious consequences—as it is, they are mostly cosmetic. It may be a while before I’m ready to make many public appearances. I will go to church on the computer tomorrow morning, because I know I’d get questions. And what would I say? “I fell off the toilet” sounds pretty lame.
All you seniors out there, please don’t let down your guard. Please don’t think it won’t happen to you. It happens faster than you can blink.
PS Keep your phone with you at all times. Yes, take it to the bathroom.