If you're past a certain age, you probably have seen and remembered those ads: "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" They promote a service providing buttons for senior citizens to push for help in emergencies. I used to laugh at those ads, but yesterday, I could have posed for one of them. Yes, I fell down, and no, I couldn't get up.
My physical therapist says it takes at least one good leg to get up from the floor, and so far, after two knee replacements, I don't have even one good leg. I wasn't paying attention, and I fell getting out of my recliner.
At first I was in a state of panic: would I die right there on my living room floor? After I calmed down, I realized that I could slide across the floor. I tried to reach some support that would allow me to get up, but alas, I couldn't get up no matter what I tried. Then I realized that I might be able to reach one of my telephones on a living room table, and I finally did. My phone directory was conveniently located on the same table.
So whom to call? If I called 911, I'd get a response, but in a building without a doorman, that might bring a fireman with an axe to open my door (as it did years ago) and a trip to an emergency room. I wasn't in need of medical help. I just needed to stand up.
I finally decided to call Laurie, a helpful old friend who lives fairly close. She still has keys to my building and my condo after helping me out while I was in the nursing home. It was only six a.m., but I called her. She promised to come, and she did. Laurie is a retired nurse, so I knew that if anyone could help me get up, she could.
Unfortunately, Laurie is not a large, powerful person, and she couldn't lift me up by herself. Then I thought of one of my condo neighbors, Cathy, who is a nurse--and an early riser. Laurie knocked on her door, and she came in to help. Between the two of them, I was lifted up and back in my recliner. How grateful I was and am!
That experience made me very shaky; in a bit less than an hour on the floor, I seemed to have lost my confidence that I could take care of myself. A good night's sleep has helped, but I'm now very careful about getting to my feet. I never thought I'd be one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up!" elders.
I guess the message is that while we treasure our independence, complete independence is sometimes impossible. I hope to recover from this knee replacement ordeal, but will I ever be able to lift myself up from the floor again? Getting old is very difficult, and these are trying times for me. Let's hope I have good news to write about soon!
Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne