Tuesday, February 8, 2011

7th (Snow) Fall

Falling has been on my mind a lot lately.  So has aging.

The other day, the Weather Channel talked about the 7th major snowfall set to hit the NY metropolitan area.  I was downstate about 10 days ago, helping my mother in law, who had fallen in her home two weeks before.  An unusual amount of snow has fallen, leaving massive drifts and narrower than normal roads. This kind of thing is somewhat normal for municipalities in our area (especially to the north of us) but not for NYC and the area just north.

My mother in law, injured, has been almost a prisoner in her home, due to her fall and the snowfall.   She hasn't tried to drive since the fall-and there are few public transit options in her area.  Even when she feels recovered enough to drive, I wonder how she will cope with the changed landscape.

It's not my mother in law's first fall, either.

Then, it happened to me.  Last Tuesday, I was walking in my neighborhood.  Fresh snow covered the sidewalk.  I should have known better - this particular house, I knew, doesn't take good care of their sidewalks.  I thought, though, there shouldn't be a problem.

I was wrong.  There was ice under the snow.  My feet slid from under, I fell on my butt, and hit an icebank on my right side.

I thought I wasn't hurt.  I got up, my dignity slightly damaged (someone was cleaning off their car, and I don't think even noticed), and proceeded on my way.  But by the time I got to work, I knew I had hurt myself.

Three days later I saw my massage therapist, my back hurting and pain occasionally shooting down my leg.  He worked on me for an hour.  He said nothing felt wrong, but I obviously had given myself quite a jolt.  Even now, a week later, my back still doesn't feel right.

I've fallen on the ice before trying to get to work - although I certainly don't try to make a habit of it.  I don't think I've fallen on ice in about three or four years, though. (I do have ice cleats, if it gets really bad.)  Other times I bounced back.  This time, not as fast.  I'm sure the extra weight age (and other factors) have put on me haven't helped.

The next day, one of my husband's co workers, who happens to be the brother of someone who works at my company, fell on the ice on his driveway (freezing rain having fallen) flat on his back.  He had a backpack on because his school aged daughter had asked that he bring the backpack out to his car.  No lasting damage, fortunately, because of the backpack (for one thing, it probably prevented him from hitting his head.).  His doctor told him to put heat pads on his back.  Maybe I should have done that.

Meanwhile, my balance stinks and I have to do something about it.  My local Y (where I exercise) doesn't offer Tai Chi, which I've read could be of help.  Yoga, I'm not so sure about, with my back problems.  I've heard mixed things about Pilates for those with back problems.  I need a back friendly exercise that will help with my balance.  My search will continue.  As for my mother in law.....

My mother in law-well she is in her 80's and she is not bouncing back very quickly.  I fear she will never be the same, although it could have been worse.  She said to me "I've fallen before and hurt myself more, but this time it is just not healing."

Aging stinks.  So does winter.

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