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Carol Perkins: Getting older is not for weak and clumsy

Handling the threat of falls is complicated, for the most careful.
You can listen to Carol Tuesdays on The "Susan & Carol, Unscripted" show, live. FM 99.1 radio at 10amCT.
Next earlier column: Carol Perkins: Joint heart exam gets perfect results

By Carol Perkins

Although I have been clumsy all of my life, I have never suffered a broken bone, except when I shut the car door on my hand and broke my thumb. The many falls in my past have left me with aches and pains.

My last major fall was in my mother's yard when I turned my ankle, slipped off the sidewalk last winter and fell, face first, into the soggy leftover snow/mud mix. I brushed off my heavy coat and smeared face and acted as if nothing had happened. I later realized I had broken the skin on my knee...once again. My poor right knee cries at night.

Noticing my slow movement when climbing the steps leading into the house, and the way I grab the door facing for support, Guy decided to build a platform. He was also interested in saving the doorframe. He bought the lumber, brought his saws and all the other necessities housed in the basement to the garage, and spent two days building this platform that is almost like a small porch. I now have a rail to help me up and down the steps and can stand on this "landing" and open the storm door without holding it with my back. No longer would I need to grasp the doorframe.

As I began to use my porch, I noticed that the difference between the house entrance and the porch was several inches. Once or twice I walked out, forgot about the difference, and nearly fell. I needed a sign that said, "Watch Your Step!" I was afraid other people might not notice the difference and walk off as if it were level. I kept telling myself not to fall and then it happened.

One morning I was up earlier than usual and needed a box in the garage. Instead of putting on my shoes (I seldom wear them in the house), I dashed out, grabbed the box, opened the storm door, and promptly hung both feet under the threshold of the entrance to the house. Down I went face first! In slow motion, I hit the hardwood floor on both knees, trying to catch myself with my wrists/arms. As I lay in pain and disgust, I looked around for the nearest item I could use to pull myself up. I scooted to the bookcase (nailed to the wall and with much agony, rose from the scene. My bad knee was bleeding and the rest of me was in shock.

I dreaded telling Guy what happened (he could see from my limp) because he had worked so hard to protect me from falling and I fell anyway. "I can tear the whole thing out and raise it even with the entrance if that will help." I didn't want him to go to that much trouble. He ended up putting a strip under the lip of the threshold so no one else can hang her feet.

"You're going to break your hip and you'll be laid up and even worse, I'll have to wait on you!" he warned. That is his way of trying to get me to slow down! My poor knee is slowing me down even if my mind is still running at top speed. Getting older is not for the weak or the clumsy.

This story was posted on 2017-12-07 19:07:42
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