The Danger of Falling- Distant/Despair ft. Tyler from Current State 8/13/16
The Danger of Falling When You Live With Chronic Pain
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It’s sometimes amazing to me, how complicated one human life can be. Of course, I think of all of you and know life is complicated for you, also. I know many of you have had the same thought from time to time when life’s problems begin to pile up. Sometimes you feel on top of the heap; other times you’re certain it’s on top of you. Life is never simple for those of us with complex health issues, which is why we need to be on guard. Don’t we have enough to worry about?
We are faced with being defensive as we do battle against whatever injury, disease or other unpleasant visitor has nestled into our lives and bodies. We swallow handfuls of pills; give ourselves shots, stretch screaming muscles and jump through any other hoop the doctors hold up. I’m sure the word “jump” will catch your attention. I can’t believe in my mind I can still jump so it’s a euphemism. We submit to surgeries which allow us to keep functioning as close to normal as possible. We often struggle with areas of life others take for granted with our hearts, our intestines and memory issues. Our goal each day is to maintain homeostasis; which means we attempt to maintain equilibrium in every part of our lives...our cells, our organs and our social lives. Maintaining homeostasis is a lot harder than it sounds when you’re the one down in that “pit, wrestling that ornery bear,” every single day.
For some of us, equilibrium also means we attempt to stand on our own two feet, ankles, knees and aching hip joints. Some days this is a bit of a circus performance as we stretch, pull and encourage our recalcitrant bodies to obey. Several times within the last few weeks I have tripped over our smaller dog Jake, a 15 pound Mini-Schnauzer. What can I say? He’s insecure and has to be as close to me as possible. Sometimes that’s directly under a foot that’s coming down. The other day I picked up the latest issue ofArthritis Today, the Sept. /Oct. 2009 edition and opened it to a woeful face of a dog. It’s a good article about the unfortunate rate of falls, approximately 86,600 each year, resulting from individuals tripping over their dogs, dog bowls and leashes. This figure was reached by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta as they analyzed 66 hospitals across the country from 2001-2006. Our poor dogs are responsible for 88 percent of the falls in this study. Interestingly enough, women trip twice as often as men. Maybe that’s because “mama” is usually the one to feed the pets? Broken bones often result and in the elderly, the chance of fracture is greater.
Many of the statistics for falling and tripping I found were from studies involving the elderly but, excuse me my friends, I think many of us fall into that category not by age but by our various infirmities. I’m pretty sure I have some joints that are at least 100-years-old. I don’t know how they got so far ahead of the rest of my body but that’s the way it is. How about you? As we all know, many of us are not as sure-footed as we used to be and must be more careful than the general population. For those of us who are already burdened with problems, a fall can be a serious situation.
Falls are always serious business but we need to be particularly careful. A few things I have found helpful are: clearing the pathways each day and before going to bed at night. Something as simple as a slipper, a phone cord or even a dog toy can cause us to trip and go down. When going up and down stairs I always try to have one hand free to hold onto the railing. I have several great trays for carrying food up and down with one hand. I never wear slippery soled shoes or slippers, anywhere, especially on the stairs. I’ve found a towel under the dog’s water bowl helps to keep slippery messes from being a hazard. We have also progressed to smaller dogs over the years. I love large dogs but their sheer size and weight was beginning to be a problem. Even a small dog pulling at the end of a leash can be a problem if we’re not sure-footed.
We each have a preference in floor coverings and each have to decide what works best for us. We have wooden floors in much of the house because I was afraid tile would be too slick. All our area rugs and runners have slip proof pads under them. There is a rough texture you can use on outdoor stairs, to paint on or spray; or use rubber treads. We use the rubber treads applied with two way tape. We did put carpets in our bedrooms and on the stairs because they were a bit slippery with the bare wood underfoot. I could go on forever, but I know many of you have adapted your homes, your footwear, etc to fit your needs. It’s a must. Caution, planning ahead and taking a few minutes to clear a pathway is so important when you realize the permanent damage that can be inflicted on us from a serious fall.
It’s also wise to have your doctor or pharmacist access your medications if you feel some of them are making you too drowsy to walk safely; either that or get a refrigerator for your bedroom and plan on staying there when you’re medicated. Be aware of the effect of the medications and the combination of medications for your safety. Please, my friends give your own personal safety a thought. Stretches, daily exercises, most especially Tai Chi via a class or DVD can enhance your balance making your life safer and decreasing the chances of your falling and suffering injury. Be safe.
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