Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Falling Down

If you asked people about their greatest fears, people come up with some pretty exotic shit.

Snakes. Like how often do you actually get into a situation where there is a snake in your house? Under your pillow? - sorry, had to throw that in there, I have a friend with a really, really funny story involving a nagging wife, a fork and a bad dream.... He tells it better than I do, tho.

Spiders. Ok, spiders are kind of icky - although I am oddly fascinated by them and have tons of pictures on my cellphone of spiders that I've seen in weird places - but logically, we all know that spiders really aren't all that dangerous. In my whole life, I've been bitten by a spider... ONCE.

Of course, the "persons of size" group has a whole other category of fears that generally boil down to public humiliation. Sitting in a chair and having it collapse under you. Not fitting in a booth/roller coaster ride seat/airplane. Knocking over a shelf in a shop.

My fear?

Falling down.

I'm not talking about falling off the theoretical wagon. And I'm not talking about falling off a building kind of thing. I'm talking about tripping over the cat. Losing my balance on the stairs.

Typical, every day sort of tumbles that my child does fifty times a day.

There are a lot of things I can't/won't/don't do because I'm scared of falling. Utterly terrified.

Now, admittedly, my fear has some basis in reality. I've fallen, just walking down the street, and broken my elbow in three places. There was a actually a chip of bone that came OFF and was free-floating. Which could have involved all sorts of expensive and painful surgery if it didn't reattach during the healing process. It did, and I was spared a franken-arm to go with my franken-ankle. But it could have. I've had an arm in a cast for six weeks for walking into a tree. Sprained ankle taking a tumble in a kiddie pool. Two fractured wrists for falling off a horse. That's not to mention all the injuries I've gotten having something fall ON me. (At least I'm not my mother. She's had trees fall on her. MORE THAN ONCE! New joke, if a tree falls in the woods and there's no one around to hear it, will it fall on my mother?)

Part of my easily breakable state is because I took steroids. For years. For asthma complications, steroids are the go-to drug of choice by emergency room doctors. I spent better than nine years being on steroids more often than I was off them. Which did some majorly craptastic things to my bones, my immune system, my weight.

And then there's the part of me that seems to be perpetually clumsy. I have a near-permanent bruise on my left shoulder from my frequent habit of walking into the door frame in the kitchen. I have knocked myself out at least twice coming up under things like cash-register draws and wall-mounted antique telephones. (don't ask.) I am still astonished that my breakfront's door isn't broken (pun intended) from the number of times I've clipped myself on it.

And, honestly, part of it was that I was fat. Being fat, you're more likely to walk into something because there's just not enough room for you. You misjudge how far out your hip is. How far back your butt extends. I used to joke (self-hatingly, but still, joking) that my boobs came into the room a week before the rest of me. And there's all that pounds per square inch FORCE that being fat complicates. Climbing stairs, for instance, puts four pounds of pressure PER POUND that you are, on your knee. At my heaviest weight, that's 880 pounds of pressure I was putting on my knee. Imagine what that weight is like on your bones when you fall down. It takes eight pounds of pressure to break any bone in the human body. (and those are for normal-people bones, not weird old lady butter bones like mine!)

So, why am I talking about this today?

I fell down yesterday.

And not just a simple tripped over one of my daughter's toys fall.

I was outside. Racing my daughter on a scooter (she was running, I was using the scooter...) And I turned the corner too fast and clipped the edge of the sidewalk.

And aside from a slight bruised ego and a wet spot on the knee of my jeans, I was perfectly fine. I didn't even have those long moments where my heart rate is waaay too high and I feel faint and dizzy.

To me, that's impressive.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

I remember reading/hearing something when I was young about how stress on bones (such as from running) caused micro-fractures that would actually strengthen them. Because of that, I went through a whole period of throwing myself from low limbs of trees and controlled-falling off the jungle gym with the notion of toughening up my bones.

Really, I have no idea how I made it this far without actually breaking anything.