I've Fallen And (Luckily) I Can (Barely) Get Up

I've fallen for the doctor at the walk-in clinic. Well, actually I had literally fallen and my toes weren't looking too good. Thus, my visit with the doctor who looked at my age (69, but only for a few more days) and said he couldn't believe I was that old. He told me I looked much younger and asked what my secret was. Bet he says that to all of the "girls." Never mind the x-rays and treatment for two badly sprained and scraped toes. His compliment was just what the doctor ordered.

I waited for over two hours to have the doctor confirm that I hadn't broken my toes from my most recent fall. Saturday night, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk coming home from a neighbor's dinner party. It was dark. I had had a bit too much (for me) to drink. I was wearing shoes that were comfortable but not too ugly, so yes, they made me less stable. Just to be safe and because we had enjoyed a lovely evening, I was holding my husband's hand. And down I went.

Luckily, it was so late and no one was there except my husband to witness my ignominy. Thankfully, there was no young Good Samaritan to ask," Can I help you, Ma'am?" That fall happened several years ago in broad daylight in front of my grandkids' school. I'm glad the young dad was kind enough to offer a hand, but I didn't really need it in those days. I picked myself up, brushed myself off, thanked him, and was on my way. But that then. Now I would take his hand.

My women friends and I agree about this falling thing. It seems to happen more often as we get older. It is humiliating. It hurts all over. And we all tell ourselves we are lucky we didn't break anything. Yet we all fear that next time, we might.

Strangely, every woman I know around my age has fallen, but the men rarely fall. I'm not sure why, but it makes it harder for the guys in our lives to have much empathy. They caution us to look down more, to watch where we are going, to be more careful. They even say if we talked less and were more aware of our surroundings, we could avoid these accidents. We all find this highly annoying.

I fear this falling is a harbinger of old age. But then I convince myself that it's just a female phenomenon. After all, my favorite radio talk show host, Stephanie Miller, fell down some stairs at an event in the Hamptons with Hillary and Bill Clinton in attendance. She's fifteen years younger than I and headlines the Sexy Liberal tour. At least the only witness to my fall was my husband. And while I lean left, I was not wearing five-inch heels and relinquished sexy long ago.

The problem with falling is that one of these times, I will actually do some major damage and have to change my headline to "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up." My late mother and her lady friends at her senior living complex feared falls worst of all. They had seen their share of friends who ended up in nursing homes or died from broken hips. My mother fell many times before the big one. When she was 90, a year before she died, she broke her hip. While she miraculously managed to return to her apartment and walk again, it was a long, tough journey.

So I vow to be more careful going forward. I will wear sensible shoes. I will avoid walking in the dark. I will avoid places where sidewalk is uneven or the terrain is rocky. But if, despite taking all of these precautions, I fall again, can I get the same doctor?

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