Falling Update

The fall where I broke my glasses and bruised my rib was a month ago tomorrow. I’ve been doing Nymbl practice for a few days short of a month now. I’ve used every miracle advantage on my fancy and expensive Mickey Mouse watch. I have learned to love it and rely on as a useful tool.

Last week I went to my first physical therapy which was an evaluation for the therapist to see what I needed, so it was kind of odd. I didn’t want to go. I spent a lot of time there after my hip surgery 4 years ago. But the therapist and I talked about the power of fear over our ability to move forward (ha ha) in life and that struck a chord with me because I have definitely been afraid. Today we talked about that a little more and I told her about Nymbl. She checked it out and was really impressed by it.

Today was a real work day and she worked me pretty hard, taking me through a routine of movement I realized I have unconsciously avoided — including lunges. I have severe arthritis in both knees — it doesn’t hurt, but no one wants to hear the sound that arthritic joints make when they’re working. Basically, I did a bunch of lunges in front of a parallel bar along with the one-legged guy who is learning to walk.

I like working with him nearby somehow. I know he’s a nice guy, stoical enough and with a sense of humor. Today they had to take off his prosthesis and adjust the flex in the foot. He then proceeded to take a step forward and a step back. ❤

I got home with only one thought. Those falls were not bad for me. They have taken me exactly where I need to be. As I worked I realized how I have protected myself as a result of joint damage, joint replacement, falls. Without knowing it, I’ve limited myself out of the fear of the pain that all those things have caused in my life. Those experiences were real and there’s no way to guarantee there won’t be more, but that self-limitation — of which I’ve been unaware — has caused its own problems.

My therapist is a rodeo rider, goat-roper, cattle roper and barrel racer. I respect that so much. A lot of people have negative view of rodeo, but (outside of bull riding) I’ve seen all those skills actually USED in real life. Barrel racing shows the incredible bond between horse and rider. Anyway, a physical therapist who is an athlete? For me, that’s a good thing.

43 thoughts on “Falling Update

  1. That’s kind of what happened to Sparky’s best friend. He had to have shoulder surgery (rotator cuff) and became so afraid that he’d reinjure his shoulder that he stopped doing things he could do. Then he discovered that he couldn’t do them – his shoulder had “frozen” and he had to go through PT again. He was given a stern talking to by the therapist. He’s back to playing the guitar, mowing the lawn, even shoveling the driveway (and he can put on and take off his sweatshirts again)!

    • It’s scary and sometimes we don’t even know we’re scared. After that second fall, I knew I was scared — but I was scared most about giving up my independent life. I was oblivious to the full extent of the fear. Very intense day. That sweatshirt thing — after my fall this past summer, I found putting on a jacket or a zip up sweatshirt to be incredibly difficult! Who knew? I’m glad Sparky’s friend is back to his life. That’s the point. ❤

  2. I’m sorry to hear that you fell and now have to go through this arduous work on your body! But I’m glad you’ve got it under control. I wish you strength and, above all, a speedy recovery. Getting old is exhausting – I never thought how fast I’m aging…

    • Thank you, Friedrich, for your kind wishes. I figure as long as I’m on this side of the Earth’s surface, I want to enjoy it. Yesterday was a big day for me in that respect. Getting old is just weird. As much as I hate that cliche that growing old isn’t for sissies, it’s still true…

  3. Martha, this made my morning. Sounds like moving forward to me. It’s a win-win for those who get to know you, and you, them as you take the journey. And Teddy and Bear~it’s a win-win for them! I’ve been meaning to tell you~after your Nymbl post I downloaded the app. I put in all my information and received an oops, we can’t find you message. It said something about my area not using it? I’ll have to try again. Have the best day, Martha. Finn and me send love and hugs always! 🐶💛

  4. hooray for progress. What an excellent discovery you made, of those un- or semi-conscious fears. They can be so limiting. Had a bit of a frozen shoulder myself after my shoulder surgery. Worked it through but not easily. Such an interesting balance between necessary and unnecessary risks! Sounds like you have an excellent PT!

    • Thanks Steph! I think I really lucked out with my PT. On top of everything else, she listens to me and is responsive. When I told her, “It’s good when you tell me what I’m doing,” she got it and from then on told me the purpose of the exercises we were doing. When I stopped in the middle of a lunge she looked at me troubled and I said, “It’s OK. I’m just feeling it. I’m a kinesthetic person and I get information this way.” She understood that. So… If we ever get snow again I’ll be a better skier. 😀

  5. Fear can be a powerful motivator – one way or the other. Congrats to you for recognizing its place. I am also afraid of falling because I have seen what havoc bone breaks can unleash on those of us at “a certain age.” Especially those of us with brittle bones. It does keep us limited, but perhaps more than necessary. Thanks for this post.

  6. Sounds like you have a good physio therapist. Falling again is still a huge fear of mine. I only had one fall in the winter (the others were in the summer) but I now have “spikes” I put on my shoes for these icy days, yet I still don’t walk “normally”. My walks are not so pleasurable at the moment. I think Ophelia gets frustrated with my extra caution, as I’m slowing her down.

    • Ice is no fun. Walking at the Refuge I don’t have to worry about it, thank goodness, but when I was doing my dog walks in town, ice was a problem. I think it was confusing for my dogs when, suddenly, I was going very very slowly where I hadn’t before. I think I have a good therapist, but honestly, two days afterward my knees and quads were very sore. I don’t worry about the quads, but the knees were a little concerning. I guess our imperative is “Don’t fall!” 😀

  7. This was such a great read, Martha. I wish everyone who ever has to go to PT could read this. At work, I had to set people up with PT and they’d call and complain that they could do the exercises at home, it was a waste of their time and our money, etc, etc, etc. This is proof positive WHY you need to have a therapist put you through your paces. We wouldn’t do half the things the therapist makes us do because we’re scared we’ll hurt ourselves even more. Crying on the bed with Teddy–that sounded wonderful.

    • I think I might be done with PT since I’m not sure my insurance is going to pay for it and it’s $$$ also (as you may read) I fell at PT and totally freaked out the therapist and myself. But it was more OK for me than I think it was for her. When I saw her last week I got a really weird vibe like, “Oh no, not Martha!” The therapist I worked with Thursday is a young woman I know pretty well from my hip surgery days so if I do go back, I’m going to try to go in the mornings when she’s “on”. I like the other one, too, but I dunno. Something happened. I’m not sure she understands that my falling is not really her problem; I expect to fall. I just want to fall in a safer way. It’s a little complicated and I can’t do everything at once.

      • I did read about your fall. You received a lot of great comments, too. My husband worries about me falling due to all the hardware holding my neck together. I figure that one day I will so focused on watching where I step that a limb will fall on my head… You can only protect yourself so much.

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