Old folks falling down isn’t good position to find self in

By: 
Duane Dailey

Some wise advice: When growing old, don’t fall down. That’s hard to follow I’ve discovered the hard way since reaching my golden years.

My recent fall was most dramatic of three I’ve had.

After that fall, I read a release from MU Extension that a grant was won to help old folks keep from falling.

I wish they were further along to help me stay erect.

The first falls came two years ago. After my second trip to a neurosurgeon, he asked why I wasn’t using a cane. I started to say: “I don’t need a…”

With a change mid-sentence: “Maybe I need a cane, now.” He’s right. I’ve come a long way without a fall. A cane isn’t just support it slows me by becoming a metronome for a steady pace. Quick speed changes cause falls.

I became wary of throw rugs. My feet tangle with them in old age as I shuffle along. Small rugs catch my shoes and trip me.

I recall Extension teaching from years ago. A home economist surveyed farm wives about making homes safe from falls. As she went house to house, she learned later that the first interviewee called her neighbors. She warned them to take up throw rugs. “She doesn’t like rugs,” the farm wife warned her neighbors.

Extension education works when subjects spread the word.

My latest fall came the first day of Photo Workshop. In a new place, I didn’t see a step down in the sidewalk. I was looking around. My cane went down in front of me when I reached that unseen step. My whole body fell forward, chasing my wayward cane. I landed on my nose, wrist and right knee. Flat on the ground, I saw a pool of blood on the concrete under my face. My nose was flowing.

Sitting up, I found a Kleenex in my pocket to stuff in my nose to stop the blood. I got up real slow.

Just then, other faculty came out of their rooms to go to work. They showed alarmed looks while asking: “What happened?”

I didn’t know I was bleeding from a cut brow from my broken glasses. One snapped a cellphone photo to show what they saw. My bright red stripes scared me.

With pressure, bleeding wounds stop. A torn kneecap doesn’t heal fast. I’ll learn this week how orthopedic surgeons fix knees.

My advice, use the cane. But, make sure you put the cane tip on solid ground before putting weight on it.

My hurt muscles respond to Tylenol. Pain relievers help keep me walking. But, an entertaining side effect appears. Tylenol makes vivid dreams.

Last night I had two, quite detailed, and I can detect the triggers. I dreamed of doing a story on a big pig farm in a dry riverbed. I thought those hogs will be washed away in a flood. “Oh no,” the farmer said, “The river never floods.” That came directly from the Gulf Coast news along rivers that never flood, but wipe out farms.

Next dream, I covered a Fall Show-Me-Select Heifer Sale. The catalog I used was missing genetics on three consignors’ heifers. I’d just been working on a story about the six SMS sales to come this fall.

While recuperating, the New York Times gave me a story on taking care in aging. Well thanks. I’ll heed. The second feature story is harder to follow. Successful retirement comes from seeking contentment, it tells. That reinforces recent talks with fellow retirees who continue their jobs. We agree: We enjoy our work. Frustration comes in being slower in old age than in our 50s and 60s.

I’ll add advice of my nurse daughter who works with old folks. She said: “You can’t retire. You’ve got to keep busy.” She sees old guys retire and sit. They don’t last long. Those who stay active stay alive.

That’s my plan: Keep writing.

Send retiree stories to duanedailey7@gmail.com.

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