I have hesitated a long time before choosing to write about when I fell down. No elderly person ever wants to fall at any time, anywhere. In fact, a good friend told me that at our age, “One fall and you’re toast!” Well, it happened to me. I went splat on the floor. “Splat” isn’t a word I have ever used in writing, but there it is, on the screen before I could think of a better word to use when you fall and you are completely flat on the floor. Before leaving this word on the screen, I looked up its definition in the dictionary. The second meaning of the word is “to flatten on impact.” Yes, that’s what happened, so it’s the right word for me to use.
It all started when I went to see the new part of the old school down the street. Just as I entered the room that was open for observation, I fell splat on the floor. This was just a couple of weeks ago, as I am writing this. There was a ramp just inside the door and I tripped on the edge of it. I could tell when I got up that I hadn’t broken anything, so I kept walking and looking around for a few minutes. By the time I got back home, I was in pain enough that I knew I should either sit down or lie down. But, I was in too much pain to do either. I felt better standing up and walking. So, since it felt better to walk, I just kept walking around the inside of my house. I was not wanting to go to the hospital because I knew they would make me lie down, and I didn’t want to, not just yet anyway. So, I kept walking and walking. I should mention that I do a lot of walking anyway, so am used to it. As the hours passed, I wasn’t getting any worse, but I wasn’t getting any better, either. My symptoms included feeling like I had a bowling ball in my stomach, feeling that I needed to vomit, and an overall feeling of about 8 on a scale of 10, for pain.
I continued walking or just standing still for the next many hours. When the clock said it was 2:30 a.m., I knew I had to lie down, pain or no pain. I fell asleep in a second and slept soundly for the next 3 1/2 hours. The second I opened my eyes, and without moving a muscle, I knew I was well! The clock said it was 6 a.m. on the dot, and I felt no pain! None! I got up, and still no pain. I knew my life hadn’t changed like I thought it was going to. I could still go up and down the stairs, sit down, or even lie down. Had that 3 1/2 hours of sleep cured me? What really happened that I could be so well, so fast? How did the pain in my stomach disappear ? I didn’t know, but it is so great to be well, that I am still appreciating being out of pain.
One thing I knew was that I needed to speak to a medical person about the whole situation. My insurance company states that if you have any medical questions as to your health, you should call the “Ask a Nurse” number. So, I called that number, and when the nurse came on the line and found that I was from Ohio, she said she couldn’t help me because she was in Kentucky and wasn’t licensed to give information for a person in Ohio. She said she would put me in touch with a nurse in Ohio and to hang on. While waiting to be connected to Ohio, she asked me why I had called. I gave her my story and she asked for the number of my primary physician, and she immediately called her number. Just that quickly, I found myself speaking to the nurse that is at my doctor’s office. When I told her what had occurred, and that I was well now, she said that I had “Walked It Off.” Wow, I really walked it off? I had heard that term before, but it seems like it was used when someone got hurt in sports, and the coach tells them to walk it off, and then they can get back in the game. Something about before the muscles could react to the fall, I was walking and they didn’t get a chance to react as you would expect them to. And that was it. When she asked if I wanted to speak to my doctor, I said I didn’t, because I was fine.
I would like to close with an interesting quote about what one person thinks happens to your body as you sleep. I found it in an old “Readers Digest,” and it was written by Ellen Michaud.
“While you’re asleep, every system in your body is being fine-tuned, reset, cleaned up and restored to its optimal operating mode by an army of molecular troubleshooters. New things you have learned are being processed, memories are being organized and stored, and the immune system is fighting off infectious agents.”
So, I may have fallen, but, as you can tell, I’m not toast. Not this time anyway!
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.