I’m Not a Fall Guy
My Geriatric Journal #20
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I fell. When I do something, I tend to do it well.
I few days ago, while working in the garden (on the edge of a ravine), I stepped on some soft soil, slipped, flipped, slid and barreled down a steep embankment, skimmed over a rock face and ended forty or so feet later face down on the edge of a macadam road.
Most people my age fall in the tub or shower, but I am not most people. According to the CDC one of four older people (65 or older — I am 80) falls each year. One out of five of these unfortunates suffers a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
I fell spectacularly off a mountain (albeit a small mountain), got up, brushed myself off, and hiked back up to the garden where my wife was certain I was dead. Yet I had no broken bones, no head injury, just a few superficial scratches, a bruised ego and a sense of wonderment, which I contemplated as I finished planting flowers.
In my long life, I broke a bone in a fall just once. I told friends who saw me in crutches that I tripped rushing onto a country road to save a kitten from certain death by a speeding car, but it was a total lie. I slipped on a high tech bowling alley floor the first and last time I bowled.
Coincidently, a goose (one my wife raised to keep an unwelcome relative away from our door) fell off almost the exact same place I took off from (not in the bowling alley but on the mountain) with grave results: the goose broke its neck. Although my neck, dear diary, is still intact, I wonder when my end will come. My number obviously is not yet up.
I have taken all the steps a reasonably well-informed person can to endure as long as I can. I eat healthy (although I have little faith in the contradictory advice of nutritionalists). I include plenty of fresh home-grown vegetables and fruit every day. I eat fish and chicken and very little red meat. I get plenty of…