Falling For You When I Don’t Have To

a falling woman wearing a sheer dress

Parents remind little kids to stop running so they don’t slip and fall. Elderly people are always being told they’re at the highest risk of a bad fall. But what about everyone in between?

We are all susceptible. Recently a former bass player with the band Train died at 58 when he slipped and fell in a shower. The first time I worked in Toronto radio in the early 1990s, a police officer slipped in her shower, hit her head and died. She was in her twenties. I don’t remember her name but I’ve never forgotten the story.

When most of us look back we probably can’t believe how reckless we were with our personal safety. When Derek and I were choosing tile for our shower stall, I rubbed the sample, poured a couple of drops of water on it and rubbed it again. A slick tile is just asking for trouble.

A Fall Can Change Everything

My Mom was in her late 60s when she slid on a patch of ice while getting the mail. They lived in the country so that walk down the driveway every day was something she had done for decades. As she fell she somehow got a deep cut on her leg. It took forever to heal and it was painful. It changed how she looked at everything from uneven patio stones to mud. She bought boots with better tread and walked much more carefully.

My balance issue that revealed itself when I took a flying leap off our front step last year is still bugging me on and off. Taking a serious fall like that is frightening. I’m certainly more careful about where I step and how quickly I get up after a nap.

Fall Prevention

There’s a time in life when a headline reads, “here’s how to prevent a fall” and you think, duh, who doesn’t know that?

Then you take a big tumble. The next time the phrase “fall prevention” appears on your screen you click on it because it might include something you haven’t thought of.

Falls are ordinary but they’re potentially deadly. And the bathroom is the most common place for them to happen.

When we lived in London, I stepped into the tub after having had a bath with baby oil a few days earlier. Down I went and my face hit the edge of the tub, giving me two black eyes and what I thought might be a broken nose. It scared the crap out of me. It happened in 2013 but it changed my bathroom habits forever. I always test the tub floor with a toe before stepping in and I always clean the tub thoroughly after using bath oil.

“Life gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste.”

Bonnie Raitt

We have a couple of mats that slide when you step on them. One’s in the kitchen and the other is in the guest bathroom. They’re supposed to be non-slip but they’re not living up to the hype. I’m taking care of them immediately.

I don’t think we’re at the grab-bar stage yet but those can certainly help when you’re older. Then again, with my balance issues now probably permanent, we might consider them. And there’s no shame in that, at least not for me. It would be a real shame to go ass over teakettle, though, when it could have been prevented.

15 thoughts on “Falling For You When I Don’t Have To”

  1. I will always remember listening to an interview with a doctor, and when asked what in his opinion was the secret to a long life, his answer was “Don`t fall”

  2. We use a Dirty Dog Mat from Pet Value in the bathroom. It’s nonslip and absorbent. The mat at our front door has a nonslip pad under it. Why take chances

    1. Good thinking. Our washable kitchen rug won’t stay in place no matter what I do. I’ve tried taping it with carpet tape. A non-slip pad. Time to Google for a fix that those fixes won’t!

  3. Falls, I’ve had a few, it’s all part of life if you’re blind and can’t see the hazards.
    I’ve slipped in the tub resulting in bruised ribs and a visit to the hospital for X-rays – installed a rubber tub mat.
    Slipped on ice on the sidewalk landing on my ass and back. Clipped an overhang splitting open my eyebrow on two separate occasions resulting in stitches. Slipped on the carpet on the stairs and slid down them. Caught my toe falling and jamming my elbow into the wall of the garage, twice.

    … and the list goes on after four decades and I give thanks that I have thick bones.

      1. My daughter had a fall on the stairs over 2 years ago and still can’t work or drive. The doctor told her to forget about slippers and that everyone should have house shoes. It prevents falls. A little too late for her.

  4. I feel your pain!

    As you know, I went 55 years without breaking a bone.

    Then one day I rushed down the stairs, slipped on the rug at the bottom, fell back onto the stairs and broke two ribs.

    Of course, being a dumb man, I waited two days before going to the hospital.

    Guys, listen to your wife when she tells you to go to the ER!

  5. There are 2 LTC buildings where my husband is and one is below the grade of the other & the parking lots. To get to his building there is no railing for around 40 feet of the sidewalk & the snow & rain drain over a part before you even get to the railing – which is on one side only! In February I was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis of my spine. I now park in the lot for the other building. I walk down a ramp with railings on both sides & a slightly leveled-out spot in the middle. I am absolutely terrified of falling & breaking my back. Sadly, I have seen the rapid decline in residents who have fallen & hit their head. It’s heartbreaking. Do everything you can to prevent slips & falls. Some may happen no matter what, but at least you’ve tried your best to stay safe. Again, thanks for important information that can help many people. Cheers to you Lisa.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Pam. Taking a fall isn’t a joke. A friend recently confided to me that she has osteoporosis and also feels terrified that she might fall. Be safe.

  6. I am known to be a faller in my family. I’ve had a couple of significant ones (thankfully I never broke anything). And touch wood it’s been a few years since I’ve had a fall. I read this blog entry early this morning, then I received a message from my niece who is just 9 years younger that she is ok but had a fall in her driveway. I sent her the link to read this entry in your blog.

    I agree with Pam, do whatever we can to prevent them but some may happen regardless.

    1. Yes, that’s true. I was told off the record about a legendary radio host who died at 46 (long, long ago) after slipping in the shower. At 46, maybe he didn’t give much thought to preventing a fall. But everyone who has heard the story thinks about it, you can count on that. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Claire Cascone

    Once being diagnosed with vertigo, my biggest concern has been maintaining balance, so as not to fall. We scrub the tub with baking soda after every shower, and always use a rubber bath mat. I put a second Rubbermaid bath mat on the bathroom floor so I can step on that when getting out of the shower. It’s safer, especially with wet feet. We got rid of all the small carpets in the house except for the one in front of the sink. Bought a roll of that anti slip bumpy rubber stuff and cut it to fit under the carpet. It works well to keep it in place.
    I dumped all my slippers and only wear socks with the rubber bits on the bottom of them.
    Prevention is everything. Taking a fall is scary, and the best we can do is try to protect ourselves in whatever way we can.
    Thanks for the interesting read, Lisa.

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