There are few more sobering things than coming face to face with your own frailty as a human being. It’s a universally frightening thing I suspect when the “old life flashed in front of your eyes” moment appears out of nowhere.
A month or three ago, I had a very minor version of that when I slipped going down the basement stairs. I managed to grab a handrail on the way down and landed on one hip and elbow bouncing down most of the staircase before the death grip on the handrail slowed me down and finally stopped the rising fear. It was then the pain set in and I started doing mental checks – ankle (fine) knees (fine) hip (pain!) – ahhh, flex it – ok – no additional pain so it’s only a bruise or strain, elbow (major pain) I landed on it and bumped down the stairs absorbing my weight – flex – ok!
Nothing broken except my pride (and wounded pride hurts like hell sometimes). But the body was fine.
I recall my mother falling down stairs around the same time in life, collecting a compound fracture in the process with a recovery period and walker to help her keep moving. And all the stories told by older friends about the fear of falling and having it hit me that this was absolutely something to fear.
And so it begins. That small insidious worm of doubt enters my mind forcing me to check out my mortality, my sense of self as a competent active person or the beginning of a “senior’s mentality” of physical care. Of not being sure if you’re still OK or whether there’s a degradation there to be concerned about. It was only a slip on a stair after all. Just be more careful next time of where you put your feet! Ah, but mindfulness of simple acts of going up and down stairs is indeed the act of a senior or somebody who is no longer sure of their body.
I’m blaming this on having wet soil on the soles of the boots (I had just walked through a very wet potting area) and the old stairs are painted with non-grip paint (something I’m going to be fixing really, really soon). And a smooth scotch evens out the day easing the tension and introducing yet another night this old jock’s body will have a dose of Advil to ease its way to sleep.
But still the worm has raised its head and I have to wonder.
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