Did you just fall? No, I was checking if gravity still works. Anonymous
Somehow, when things seem to be going well, something happens to bring you back to reality. I fell twice this past week, after having gone months without a fall. Once when I stepped on the edge of the sidewalk and my foot gave way, and the second time in someone’s home, when I was too busy talking to someone to see a one inch step in front of me. Both times, I fell hard, with no chance of recovering my balance. The second time, I actually injured my self. I landed on one knee and the opposite hand, which was holding my cell phone ( I think). The cell phone apparently dug into my hand, resulting in immediately swelling and pain. Fortunately, x-rays showed no broken bones, so I am left with a sore hand and wounded pride, both of which should subside quickly.
But these incidents serve as a reminder that when living with Parkinson’s, we must always pay attention to our surroundings, more than usual. You never know what dangers are lurking ahead to take you down. A person without PD and good balance, will usually manage to stay upright when tripping on an uneven sidewalk. They will start to fall, but catch themselves. But with PD, it is a different story. My wonderful husband, Mr. Twitchy, said that I fell like a tree off that sidewalk. I never had a chance against gravity, as I would have before PD.
What can a Parkie to do to minimize the chance of falling? Walking poles can help, but only if you remember to use them. I really make an effort when walking up and down steps to use the handrail, and that has helped a lot. Uneven steps have been a challenge for a long time. Unfortunately there isn’t always a handrail when you are out on a sidewalk. You need to look down at the sidewalk and look ahead at the same time so you don’t walk into anything in your way. Sounds easy, right? Not always, especially on a crowded sidewalk.
And then there is the cellphone, which is a major distraction and probably dangerous to use while walking (as much as when driving), but we all do it anyway. Mr. Twitchy keeps telling me to put it away while walking. He is concerned that I am really going to hurt myself one of these days. He is probably right, but don’t tell him I said that.
Finally, I can’t help wondering if the recent falls are signs of changes in my Parkinson’s symptoms. And that scares me more than anything else. Mr. Twitchy keeps reassuring me that I am ok, that I just need to pay attention to my surroundings more. And I really hope he is right about that.
On a totally different subject, please check out Soaring with Hope for PD – Parkinson’s on Facebook. This is a project created by 3 friends of mine who are all living with PD. Their goal is to reach out to the Parkinson’s Community worldwide and bring at least 10,000 origami paper Cranes, each bearing a message of hope, to the WPC in Kyoto, 2019, to be displayed in a beautiful art installation.