I am a senior. That is the life designation we get when we are between middle age and elderly. My health is generally good. I walk about three miles every day and as a result I take no medications for any heart or respiratory conditions. But walking of late has become a treacherous proposition. I seem to be falling down more.
My daily walk is about three miles in town – about three blocks on city streets or sidewalks and the bulk of the walk on new concrete urban trails. I like walking for several reasons – it is doable, does not cost anything, and I get to daydream. I dream about the great books I am destined to write in the future. I dream about how much money I shall make. I dream about how I shall use the money to travel or to buy a horse ranch. Dreams are great – but they sure are distracting.
Late last week I was walking fast, energized by dreams of heroism. The problem is that I was not watching where I was going – that is sort of a misstatement – I hardly ever bump into a tree or another walker – but I do tend to stop looking down at the terrain. So last week I tripped on a crack in a sidewalk. My forward motion carried me to a hard landing on my bare hands – which broke most of the fall for my unprotected knees. I was sitting on the sidewalk pondering my situation when the traffic began to stop. People saw an old man sitting on the sidewalk, looking bewildered, and were gracious and concerned enough to stop and get out of their cars.
My pride has not lost any luster with age. I refuse to be considered elderly and in any way infirm. People were coming to help and I was determined to deny them the opportunity. I struggled to my feet, before I had a chance to evaluate my sore and strained back. I winced with pain as I said to my rescuers, “I’m okay. I just tripped.” They looked at each other and then at me. Each of them were skeptical about my claim. But what could they do? I suppose they could have knocked me down and tied me up before carting me off to a hospital – but fortunately these people were more sane than I.
I went out walking today, early. My stride was long, sharp, regular, and fast. I was making good time and my dreams were going by quickly. Boom, out of no where I was on the ground. Smacked my palms flat and hard on the concrete sidewalk. This time I scrambled up, afraid of some lurking rescue squad. No one was around. I was by myself.
I took off for home. About 30 seconds later, as I turned the corner on to 29th Street, I saw the sidewalks were covered with fall leaves. Wisely, I chose to walk in the street. No more hidden cracked sidewalks for me. I was walking in the street, looking at the leaf covered sidewalk when I stepped into a small pothole. My right ankle twisted and I frantically threw my body in the other direction to save my ankle – I twisted my left knee.
About thirty years ago I had surgery on that knee. It was reconstructive in nature. The knee is strong but I do have to pay attention to how I use it. There is less cartilage and more scar tissue so I have a few recurring issues with that leg. I fell about twenty feet from three men loading brush into a truck. They saw me go down and one rushed over to help. “No,” I proclaimed with my pride, “I am okay.” I scurried to my feet. Scurried is a funny word – those three men would probably not have used that word to describe how I managed to stand. Anyway, I was standing. I tested my ankle, yep, definitely twisted. I hobbled toward home, only about another block away. As I favored my right ankle I noticed my left knee seemed strained. My pride said, “Ignore the pain, you have to get home before someone sees you and does not believe your claims of physical prowess”.
The last fall was about three hours ago. I am looking for my old cane. My reconstructed knee is begging for support. My pride and my pain are arguing. One says ‘take some ibuprofen’ the other says, ‘No, you can manage”.
Fortunately, my sprained ankle and strained back help keep my mind off that old knee.
Darn the luck.