I have learned many things from my work with "rehab doctors". Number one on the list is Falling is Bad. You will eventually get HURT. One of the major, routine questions in a check up for me is “Have you fallen recently?”
In light of Thanksgiving memories, I started to think through all the things I do to stay out of trouble.
1. The Brace. I have been wearing an “ankle foot orthotic” on my right foot for just over 10 years. It was prescribed because I reported that I was dragging my right foot. It cleans up my gait (I limp less with it on). Yes, it is there to keep me upright.
2. The Cane. It’s mostly about being a city girl. There are cracks in those sidewalks. Plus my days are long, and my gait will really need support by the time I get home. It’s not an absolute guarantee that I won’t fall, but it helps. When I don’t use it, I’m very aware that I am pushing my luck.
3. Mindfulness in challenging situations.
When on an escalator, pay close attention to what’s going on, and hold on tight.
When walking from point A to point B, try to be present in your body. Likewise, for climbing stairs. (Stairs are wicked, I have a reputation for not lifting my right foot high enough when I’m tired.)
Do you really need to climb a stepladder (this last weekend I got T out of bed to get me something on a high shelf)?
4. Know when to opt out
March 2013. I walked out of the train station in the middle of an ICE STORM. I decided to ride home anyway (I have ridden in rain and snow.) . Bad idea. Lost traction several times and then fell hard when I got off the trike to push. Next time, take a cab.
I have not fallen recently (possibly since last winter). I keep reminding myself that I am not cured. It's a daily reprieve based on doing all that is in my power to stay safe.