“… singing Do Wah Diddy, Diddy Dum, Diddy Do. Snapping her fingers and shuffling her feet” … and that’s when she face planted, just as natural as could be!
That’s what happened Tuesday when I was jogging down the street, headphones blaring some awesome tune from my 60s mix, definitely shuffling my feet, hoping no one was around so that I wouldn’t have to put on my mask, but then noticing those four people standing right there, and blam, next thing I know, I’m flying face-first into the sidewalk.
FLAT. ON. MY. FACE!
When I was a kid, I fell all the time. I thought it was so cool to go flying off my bike and scrape the living daylights out of myself. If it stopped bleeding within 30 minutes or so, I’d keep playing. If it kept bleeding – enough that stitches were a possibility and therefore cool and worth the trouble – I’d go home for a professional assessment from my mom (who was not, in any way, a healthcare professional but was a nervous 50s mom and therefore more likely to think stitches were in order!).
The problem was, she always wanted to “clean” it first. If I was LUCKY, she’d pull out the Mercurochrome and pour it all over injury, leaving me not only my giant abrasion, but lots of red-dyed skin to call even more attention to my bravery when I showed it off at school the next day.
Mercurochrome didn’t hurt. But then there was Merthiolate. Killed the same germs, left the same cool red stains all over you, BUT HURT LIKE HELL!! Oh, how I would pray that my mother wouldn’t use Merthiolate – it took all the cool out of the injury when the treatment would make you cry.
Like my other favorite childhood drug, Paregoric, which was removed from the market because of the opium content, MERcurochrome and MERthiolate were also removed from the market because of the MERcury content and risk of mercury poisoning. Of course, there were levels to consider, but when you fell as much as I did, the likelihood of mercury poisoning probably wasn’t out of the question.
So back to my recent “senior fall.” Here’s the problem: the minute you fall as a “senior” you don’t typically think, “oh cool. I’m going to have an awesome scar and a great story to tell at school.” Instead, you think “did I just break my hip?”
And here’s why that’s what happens:
- You’re not seven years old and you don’t go to elementary school anymore.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling—usually by falling sideways.
- Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures.
And trust me, the list goes on. If you’re 65 or over, just save yourself some time. Don’t bother looking up “Falls in Seniors” – just know it’s bad, and depressing, and … bad.
So, I freaked out for about a few hours, during which I couldn’t stop bleeding because of those damn daily aspirin I take for my “senior” heart.
And then I “googled” how to prevent falls in ‘the elderly” and found out two really important things:
- LOTS of people google “how to prevent falls in seniors” – I bet everyone over 60 does it after the first time they fall!
- Exercise is one of the best fall prevention strategies there is. It makes you stronger, keeps you flexible, and may slow bone loss from osteoporosis.
So, I thought about any recent falls I’ve had, and they all had pretty much one thing in common … I just wasn’t paying attention to the jogging AT ALL!!
Just take a look at that second paragraph!!! I didn’t fall because my medication makes me dizzy, or because my balance is compromised, or because my eyesight is bad. I fell because I WASN’T PAYING ATTENTION!!!! Probably the same reason I flew off the front of my bike four million times!!!
So, here are my takeaways:
- I’m going to keep jogging – but maybe I’ll try to find a softer surface to do it on.
- I’m still pretty proud of my giant scrapes and cuts.
- If anyone has a Paregoric connection, DM me.