Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trying to stand on my own two feet

About a week ago, I fell during physical therapy.

This is not supposed to happen, and my therapist was rattled. He usually circles around me and makes a quick correction if I start to lean. I was in a kind of slalom position on a balance board, trying to do mini-lunges with my back foot in a strap. When I was done, I put my left foot down, but I think my right foot got caught in the strap. Rob was on my right side while I fell to the left.

It didn't bother me as much as it bothered him. I got up and continued my exercises. The next day I noticed I had a huge black and blue mark on my shoulder.

Physical therapy has helped a lot. I actually really like it there. I passed my evaluation by showing progress but also some weaknesses, earning me the right to put in for six sessions after my first round ended.

So yesterday I was taking a bag of papers to the garage for our recycling bin. Two little steps lead to the garage and driveway. I've been up and down those steps countless times. Somehow I managed to trip over the last step and fall in the driveway.

The papers flew, and I found myself lying on my back. I looked at the trees for a while, hoping that someone would see me from the street and help me get up. Nobody stopped. Joe and Katie were both out.

My left wrist, elbow and ribs hurt the most. Finally I got up the only way I know how – rolling over onto hands and knees and pushing up from there. I had a bad gash in my elbow and sharp pain in my ribs. Joe came home first and helped me bandage the elbow. Once I collected myself, I felt it wasn't serious enough to call my doctor. I could breathe normally, although it hurt to take a deep breath and to cough, and I'm back to coughing quite a bit lately.

I did call Melissa today, and she said it sounded like it could wait until my appointment tomorrow.

In my mind now, a trip cannot just be a trip. The tears came when I got back into the house, now with blood dripping down my arm. I had to get an ice pack, but I could barely open the freezer; in fact, my left arm and hand are pretty useless now. Totally frustrated, I wondered: How can I be making progress if I trip on one step in my own driveway? And, in crazy mode, Maybe I had a little stroke.

I ruled out the stroke because I felt OK afterwords. And I realized that my problem might result from a medication issue. I guess I will find out tomorrow.

I have experienced some disconnect between my head and my feet before. I wasn't falling all over the place, but Once as a young mother I went for jog near our parents' house in Atlantic Beach (L.I.), happily sending my kids off to the beach with my mother. I was having a great run. Then I tripped on a crack and fell. I hit my left shoulder hard. (I have a big scar to prove it.) I happened to be in front of their friends' house. The friends brought me in, fixed me up, and called my parents. I'm sure they offered me a ride, but I said I'd run back, which I did, trying to keep the leaky bandage in place.

You might call me stubborn. Or clutzy.

Years later, I playied doubles the day before I was to return to the hospital for one of my many incarcerations. I felt good, and I decided I had to play. I had come home with my Hickman, which I just tucked into my bra.

I lunged for a shot and fell hard on my right shoulder, ending up in the ER. The shoulder was separated. They put a sling on and sent me on my way. During that hospitalization in Boston, my shoulder hurt more than any other pain I felt during that round of chemo. It healed oddly, and I now have a bump on my right shoulder.


Hmmmmm. Maybe nothing, because sometimes a trip is just a trip; it's something a lot of people do without giving it a thought.

Nonetheless, let's try this:

Pick your feet up and pay attention.


Meryl said...

Ronni: Those little steps are always tricky for me- it's easy to miss them. Hope you are feeling better soon. I am not imagining anything lethal because you look so lovely in the pictures from the Cape. Just breathe, of course.

Ann said...

I'm notorious for not lifting my feet high enough when I'm walking. It's a lazy step-shuffle. I always catch the top of my foot on the ground or a step--and you guessed it: I trip. Be patient with yourself.

Susan C said...

As a lifelong klutz, I can really relate to this.

I like the title "trying to stand on my own two feet." It works on several levels.

Trish said...

stubborn? I know nothing about such things! ;-) drove myself to and from my chemo treatments. looking back, not my brightest move, and easy to say NOW.

the one thing my oncologist tells me is---sometimes, a bump is just a bump, an incident is just an incident and people get old and have sh!t happen---like trips, falls, dizzies and joint pain. It's called getting old. As cancer patients, it is hard to grasp that maybe the stuff that happens to everyone else sometimes happens to us too and it isn't (or maybe it is) related to cancer.

I like what Meryl said---breathe. Pay a little better attention to where you put your feet, hold on to a rail now and again (you're welcome to swear while doing so, but that is easier to do while NOT on your back, bleeding).

Nelle said...

Sorry to hear about the accident. Last year my Mom tripped while leaning on a coffee table to stand up. She broke her rib and I went and took her to the ER. All they did was xray and confirm the break and told her to take it easy for several weeks. She had a lot of pain. When I had my last pneumonia I "popped a muscle" and my rib hurt for weeks. Hope it heals quickly. I was left in a doctors office once waiting for blood to be drawn and after twenty minutes I went to the front desk and they apologized, the doctor had left without telling them! I was annoyed but we all had a good laugh in the end over it.