I’ve always heard that as you age, “avoiding falls” becomes an important part of your life.
According to the National Council for Aging Care, every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.
Add me to the “Every 11 Seconds” list. At 60 years old, I now understand what all the fuss is about. A couple of weeks ago, I was coming out of an event, navigating the parking lot. Instead of looking two feet in front of me, I was looking 50 feet in front of me, trying to locate my car.
All of a sudden, I tripped, without any warning, on a concrete block, the kind used in parking lots to organize the cars. (I hate those blocks; I have a small car that sits low, and I’ve hit those mo-fos several times, scraping the underbelly of the front end.)
I flew over the blockade; I tried to break my fall by putting my right arm against a parked car next to me. Because of the force of the fall, my arm violently bent backward. I then fell on my left knee and elbow to the parking lot ground. I felt pain in my right arm that I had never experienced before. OMG! My arm is broken, I thought. I couldn’t move. I started to cry, embarrassed, scared and in intense pain.
My friend ran to get help. It was decided that I needed an ambulance to take me to the ER. 20 minutes later, they arrived. The paramedics lifted me on to a stretcher. I screamed in pain, but they remained calm and continued their protocols. I was then quickly lifted into the ambulance, and whisked off to Saint John’s.
We were close to the hospital, thank god. And, on a Saturday night at 10 p.m., it wasn’t jammed. Thank god! I was put into a room almost immediately. The attending nurse was trying to find a vein in my left arm, and kept poking me in the wrong place. I had to show her where, at the same time begging her to get it done, so I could be relieved of some of the pain with an intravenous pain killer. (Later I had a massive bruise on my arm. Hopefully she’ll get better.)
Once I was gently numbed, they took me for x-rays. They determined that I had a dislocated shoulder! Wow. Throughout my entire life, I’ve never had a broken bone, torn cartilage, sprained ankle, nothing. When I was younger, I was kind of jealous of the kids that got to wear casts. Not any more.
The ER doc came into my room. Her plan was to put the shoulder back into place. Hopefully with me “asleep,” which she made arrangements for. I guess I fell asleep right away, because before I knew it, she woke me up to tell me she was done. It took less than five minutes! There was no additional damage. I was lucky. And they were great caregivers. In and out within two hours.
A few days later, my right arm was covered in deep, dark bruises. My elbow and my knee were a black and blue mess as well. A week later, the bruises were 80 percent gone. I had a follow up with my orthopedic surgeon. He said that I was a “bad ass” because I was healing so well. Little did he know how much of a baby I was a week ago.
Whether you’re 50-plus or not, be careful out there!