PD Another Plunge Downstairs, With a Premonition

They say those who can’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, which must apply to PWP who lug stuff up exterior stairs, like cases of soda pop, or 12 dress shirts on hangers.

Weight is immaterial. Doing the forbidden with risky footing is the error.

That’s my growing suspicion, based on experience.

Only a day before I had carefully set down a Philly cheese steak sandwich, bag of chips and soda at a market lunch counter without incident. Then I tried to straddle the stool.

Perhaps my legs are too short. Maybe I should have mounted side saddle?

In any case I was stuck atop the stool with my feet dangling just off the floor and gave a gentle scoot–seeking stable footing–when I felt that sickening backward tilt of my seat toppling over.

With a mighty crash I distracted about 50 shoppers, but I was at a window seat with my back to the busy store and scrambled up, nonchalantly acting like nothing had happened.

I enjoy writing to entertain and inform. But I hate performing in public, Especially if I land on my rear.

Seriously, we newer PWP are most at risk from falls, with 68 percent of us tripping, stumbling and sprawling until physical therapists teach us how to overcome it. Most falls are indoors at home, but that’s a lot of bumps, bruises, cracked ribs and worse.

Walking safely seems the most natural thing in the world, but PD fools us, because the disease’s complicated process robs us of that most fundamental birthright.

Every day, I am aware of it. I try to accept it as life and the luck of the draw, a better thing to have than some others face.

But on my worst days I turn the air blue with profanity and welcome rage as my boon companion, until the moment passes.

And then I have to remind myself I am still in the very early stage of Parkinson’s Disease. I still have much to learn and cursing the fact I don’t know it all yet is foolish and futile.

Studies show that some 40 percent of PD patients do essentially give up.

They become so afraid of falling that that they avoid exercise, reject stamina, confidence, stronger physical resources and choose to vegetate, because it seems safer.

Start with a physical therapist who has training to analyze your walking, stride, balance, coordination, strength, flexibility and endurance. He or she can then advise and devise when it comes to your needs and capabilities in an exercise program.

They can teach you ways to get in and out of chairs or roll out of bed safely and painlessly.

Don’t laugh. Some of my rudest awakenings when PD began to affect my mobility occurred arising from my ornate antique Jenny Lind bed. Manufactured about 1865, it is solid cherry wood and stands rather high. One has to crawl up and in, but generally in the morning I’d fall out, due to my short legs and the bed’s height.

Ms. Lind was the world’s most famous singer, known as “The Swedish Nightingale,” and may have just flown up, when she arose to begin her day.

Remember balance and equilibrium when you confer with your physical therapist about PD falls, because my newest discovery was a shock.

You don’t need to be carrying a burdensome load to come to grief on the back stairs.

My 1920s walk-up flat in San Pedro on the edge of Los Angeles Harbor is one of four with an interior stairwell in front and an exterior stairway leading to a small outdoor landing and the kitchen door in back.

The stairs are strong and sturdy but constituted of a see-through framework so the ground below grows more distant  and unnerving as one trudges higher and higher. I’d been to the laundromat and had no intention of carrying folded clothing up the back stairs. They’d go in the front door with dual banisters and carpeting.

I had grabbed a dozen dress shirts on hangers.Stairs

My neighbor Abel, Marisela, his wife, and three of their five children drove in just ahead and that was fortunate, for that old vertigo feeling swirled up through my chest. A spear of fear followed. My head felt filled with helium.

“Oh God…,” I gasped, throwing myself against the house’s smooth plaster wall, though the pine railing is solid as a tree trunk. My shirts fluttered like my heart as I dropped them. And I fell, sharp edges of stairs battering me on all sides, the world turning like a kaleidoscope.

I burst out with a loud groan as the bottom step gouged into my upper left ribs and then bounced once, my head resting in driveway dust and gravel.

“Ohhhh, Ohhh, Ohhhh,” Abel murmured, as he came running and gently pulled me to my feet. “You Okay?” he asked. He has seen me fall three or four times. He must wonder but he and Marisela are too polite to inquire.

I definitely worried about a broken rib then but said I’ll be Okay and of course I am.

“We should call an ambulance,” urged Marisela, but I said no, I would go to the VA Hospital.

Poor Maria, 9, darling in a fancy red dress, her pretty black eyes wide with concern, wanted so very much to help somehow.

“Would you like a drink of water?,” she asked.

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