11 October 2013

Descent

There's a lot to be said for bungalows. They don't have staircases but our 1920's semi-detached house does have one. By my rough calculations, in the twenty four years we have lived here, I have descended that staircase 34,000 times and never once have I fallen - until today.

It was just before nine o'clock this morning. I donned my designer dressing gown and began the usual descent having already decided that today's breakfast would be "Cocopops", a banana and a big mug of tea. But half way down the stairs, I slipped and my back was suddenly slammed against the steps before I tumbled down to the hallway like a sack of potatoes. I was really shocked.

In that moment, I imagined a broken back, a wheelchair, the end of country walks, back trouble to the end of my days, a hospital visit, physiotherapy, death. I crawled into the front room and lay supine on the sofa, trying to get my breath back and to simply calm down. It wasn't how I wanted Friday to commence.

And then the phone went. It was Mike - an old teaching colleague who now lives in Devon and seldom gets back to Sheffield. He wanted to come round for a natter. I know I should have been more stoical - after all, there are worse things than falling down one's staircase - but I informed him about the accident and assured him I didn't need an ambulance.

By now, I had recovered from the initial shock. Even though I felt as if I had been kicked in the back by a seaside donkey, I ventured to the kitchen to make the mug of tea I had promised myself. I was grateful that I could walk at all and already my wheelchair imaginings were evaporating.

I had a shower and then Mike came round. It was really nice to see him. He was always such a lovely man - funny, intelligent and caring - a man who can easily talk the hindlegs off donkeys or make you forget the idea that you've just been kicked by one! And when he left I took a handful of paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets and thought I'd find out a bit more about staircase falls.

A study conducted in 2000, concluded that each year in Great Britain around 1000 people die because of tumbling downstairs and an estimated 100,000 visit hospitals with injuries caused by such falls. Some of those injuries can be life-changing. Today has been a very uncomfortable day for me but  I can walk and I haven't had to call an ambulance. It could have been a lot worse and only time will tell if this event will be followed by future back troubles.

It just goes to show. You can be trundling along merrily through your life and then wham-bam thank you man - everything could change in a trice. Our daughter Frances has just related the tale of a former work colleague who is now in intensive care with two broken arms and a suspected broken neck following a car crash up near Leeds on Wednesday night. He wasn't driving. The young professional woman who had been behind the wheel was arrested at the scene. She had been drinking.

25 comments:

  1. Here's to a quick and complete recovery.
    Just take it easy for a day or so.

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    1. Thank you Dr Adrian. I shall take your advice.

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  2. Heavens, it sounds like you may have escaped anything serious?? Sounds like you were home alone so you could have been in a real pickle to put it mildly.
    It takes events like these to give you a jolt doesn't it? You lie there thinking that you wish you could just wind back the clock 1 minute. My next response is to tell Tony to get out there and buy those airline tickets. I've got places to go and things to see and I 'd hate to miss out on them !!

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    1. You are right about "winding back" Helen. We can do it with DVDs or videos so why not life itself? I slept okay last night but this morning I still have some pain. It wasn't easy to bend down to tie my shoelaces I can tell you. Now where are the ibuprofen?

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    2. It is never easy tying shoe laces. I have trouble seeing mine.

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  3. Sounds like you need your Thai massuese again!

    Since I had these vari-focus lenses I can't tell you how many times I have fallen over going down steps or even just stepping off a kerb.

    Get well soon!

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    1. Thanks for your good wishes Hippo. I appreciate input from a professional faller.

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  4. Get well soon!
    Yep, it's always a shock when you realise you've just near-missed, or not missed at all, a small unexpected event which shakes your life upside down (in your/my case, hopefully, for just a short time). Been thinking on similar lines recently as, although I still (probably mistakingly) think I'm a fit young healthy lad, I had an unexpected health problem this summer which has left me off work for 3 months, and counting :(
    And next week I'm going in to see about vari-focal lenses, so any advice Mr Hippo would be well appreciated!!

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    1. Sorry to hear about your health problem Brian. I hope you are through this phase sooner rather than later. Is it Barnsleyitis? You know, that condition where you crave meat and potato pies and shell suits?

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    2. Thanks! I might have a pie for dinner, see if that sorts it out. It's a bit of a pain, especially not being able to get back to work, but hopefully I'm going in the right direction - meanwhile, lots of time for surfing, blogging, amazoning, tweeting and other productive habits.

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    3. Sorry to hear you've not been 100% Brian...

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    4. I don't think I've ever been 100%, ha ha! Seriously, thanks!

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  5. I vacillated between being sympathetic (you poor dear!) and sarcastic (if you'd landed on your hard head; you would have avoided injury altogether) -- and have come down on the side of sympathy. I am glad your fall was no worse and hope you will be back in fine fettle very soon. It doesn't seem to have affected your posting prowess one whit.

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    1. Thank you for making the nice choice Robert! And yes my "posing prowess" is intact so I will continue to wear my tiger skin posing pouch when blogging. My back still aches - especially when I bend over. I guess I will just have to be patient and hope that the discomfort gradually dissipates.

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  6. I agree with Helsie It would be great if you could 'rewind.' Still, it looks as though you came out of it not too badly and hopefully you will be back to normal (whatever that is!!!) very soon.
    Take more water with it next time!

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    1. The mischievous implication that I was in any way affected by alcohol is way off the mark and I am shocked that you would stoop so low Jenny! You are very naughty! Sit on the naughty step until I call you in for tea!

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  7. Welcome to your 60s! Once your feet have betrayed you, it's always in the back of your mind. I'm so glad you weren't hurt. I have fallen a few times since I was 60. It's always scary, then embarrassing, then aggravating. You probably have 20 more years of wonderful trekking across the countryside, this is just a sign to keep one eye on your feet while the other one is looking for photo opportunities. XOX

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    1. I bow to your superior knowledge about The Swinging Sixties Jan! Err..what's swinging I wonder?

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  8. Two minutes after turning 60 and you're falling down already......oh dear.
    Hope you get back to fighting fit quickly YP...if you're still sore in a few days try a coating of lard and a quick rub down with a sports argus...........

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  9. Thank you for the medical advice Libby but it sounds a bit highfalutin to me!

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  10. So sorry, Mr. Pudding. I thought of saying something about your having just turned 60, but then I thought better of it. About four years ago, holding my knitting basket, I slipped and fell down eight carpeted stairs and my life has never been the same. I sustained a broken elbow, a smashed wrist, and a concussion. On eight carpeted stairs!! Subsequently, three days later, I had two surgeries, I now have a 4-inch plate and screws in my wrist, and a pain syndrom known as CRIPS, which is for the moment in remission.

    So, see Mr. Pudding? One little fall can do a lot of damage. So, now that you are 60, it is time to be more careful. (Look who is tellin' you that!)

    On the other hand, I engage in activities on this mountaintop that could hurt or kill me every day. My friends say that I am careful doing those activities (like splitting wood, etc) because I know how dangerous they can be. But, I never dreamed that a little fall down stairs could create such havoc!

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  11. Mama Thyme - It has come back to me. I was tying the belt on my dressing gown as I came downstairs - not holding on to the handrail as I usually do. Two mornings later I think I am getting better but there's still discomfort and it's hard to bend - but perhaps - in relation to your life-changing fall - I have been fortunate. We'll see. From now on I shall take your advice and be more careful. Every time I see that staircase I'll be thinking "Danger!"

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  12. A traumatic event indeed! Took me three weeks before I could face going down the front steps again after breaking my ankle there. I went out the back door and around the house. By the way, were you singing as well?(see my last post). Could have been worse, you could have broken something... Hope you heal quickly dear Pud.

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  13. I fall down quite often. I have low blood pressure. it causes quite a fright doesn't it. we have hand rails on both sides now ( I am in my 30's)

    if the bruising is bad, alternate cold compresses with hot.

    I feel for you. Hope you are feeling better

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