I wrote about falling a month ago, a full-frontal splat that jarred my whole body, leaving me with a couple of achy days, but no other damage. My foot had become caught in a strap attached to my carport, and since I hadn’t removed the strap when I should have, that fall could be considered my fault, but still, the fall was a result of an accident rather than a physical problem — no dizziness or weakness or imbalance. It was just one of those things that could happen to anyone (to anyone who let their attention lapse, that is).
What I didn’t write about was a fall that happened a couple of weeks ago. I generally don’t go out at night because it’s harder to see, obviously, but I got a ride from a friend who was attending the same meeting. I’d stepped out of the car, on my way into the town hall, and I tripped on the two-part curb in front of the building. (A brick pathway had been placed on top of the original sidewalk, but since the bricks didn’t go all the way out to the curb, there was a tiny step where the original curb still remained.) The irony was that I had been headed to a meeting to discuss ways to make the town safer, and there it was, a classic example of what needed to be fixed.
A couple of days later, someone asked me how I was and if I’d recovered from my fall. It took me a minute to realize what she was talking about because the fall wasn’t much of anything — the shin pain had dissipated in a couple of minutes, and I’d immediately forgotten the incident. Besides, the woman hadn’t even been there the night it happened. I asked how she knew. She laughed and said, “This is a small town,” Apparently, it’s even smaller and more insular that I thought, because how could such an insignificant fall by a rather insignificant person (insignificant in the grand scheme of town doings, that is) be a topic of conversation?
Then yesterday I went for a walk with a friend. When I’m by myself, I usually walk in the middle of the road where there are no hazards (except an occasional car, of course), but since there were two of us, I was walking off to the side, and suddenly, without warning, my foot slipped out from under me and I slowly but inexorably hit the ground. A neighbor was passing, and he got out of his truck to help, but except for a bruise on my thigh, I was fine and able to get to my feet by myself. I must admit, though, I was (still am) quite perturbed — and alarmed — at falling again.
After asking me how I was, the neighbor said, “I saw you go down.” He explained that I’d slipped on a patch of loose gravel, and then he added, “It wasn’t your fault. There was nothing you could have done.” My friend agreed and asked me if I were accident prone. I said no. Because I hadn’t been. At least not until a month ago.
Now I need to get her question out of my head because thinking of it might make me accident prone for real, and frankly, three falls are quite enough, thank you very much.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.