Sunday, May 24, 2009


     I spent all winter watching for ice patches so that I wouldn't fall. I've gotten very afraid of falling. Fifteen or so years ago, I slid on black ice down the outside front stairs that I'd carefully cleaned the day before. That was the April 1st snowstorm and I got a sprained ankle that, unfortunately, put paid to my swimming. If I'd been a bit braver, I would have kept swimming while I was limping around in the boot, but I didn't and by the time I got back to it, I was too out of shape. That was a big mistake.
     And I fell six or seven years ago when I was walking Bogie. The sheet of ice was hidden under grass. I decided that carrying a cell phone is really important after that, not that I remember to bring one. I was fine, but felt that bone bruise for about a year.
     It's May and I've fallen twice in a week. Once was in New York when I was walking with Susan and tripped going up a curb. My Teva caught and I fell forward. There was Susan standing above me, "Are you alright? Are you alright?" I was alright, though I can no longer spring up as I once did. She thought I had misjudged the curb height which would have been far worse, as far as I'm concerned.
     And then I fell last night. Krissy got back from New York late and we rushed outside to take another May self-portrait that she'd promised for my 70th birthday. But she realized that she had no makeup on and looked exhausted. "No, you have to let me see all of these, erase them, I look terrible. I'll put on makeup." I was following her up the back steps, feeling a bit scolded and perhaps somewhat resistant to her orders, when I fell backwards, nothing can be done about falling once you start, down a few steps and onto the macadam. I could get up. No real damage except that I am limping today. Unfortunately I didn't take the tylenol as she suggested. But we took the picture with her hair down and makeup on. It was getting dark anyway, so the image is a bit wobbly. 
     I've listened to the PBS instructions on enlivening the elderly brain that are continually repeated during fund raisers, not that I've accepted being elderly. That happens when you're eighty. The old gentleman scientist says that older people look down too much, not realizing that the eyes establish stability. So I've been trying to stand up straight, resist the desire to bend forward, slightly. My posture has always been rotten and gets steadily worse. And I've shrunk. Almost three inches. The space between my discs must be miniscule. 
    And I do the exercises where I stand on one foot, balancing. And I'll start doing Chi Gong again. Or that's what I say to myself every day.

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