Feeling my vulnerability

I fell this morning. Writing that makes me feel and sound like an 80 year old (I’m 54). Fortunately I didn’t hurt myself, but it gave me a fright.

Yesterday I felt pretty good so I cleaned, washed the windows, and baked. That doesn’t sound like ‘too much’ but last night I slept badly, woke several times from pain in my hips, and the fatigue truck rode right over me. I just couldn’t muster the energy to get out of bed this morning.

When I finally did, I could feel that I was unsteady on my feet. Sometimes this happens when I am stiff in the mornings from the rheumatoid arthritis, and since my hips had been painful all night they weren’t moving very freely. Somehow I hit my shin against the bed at the same time as losing my balance. I managed to twist myself so I fell onto the bed and had a soft landing. I didn’t trip, I simply couldn’t balance, and realised I couldn’t stop my fall. My reactions didn’t seem to work.

I have wooden floors and steep stairs. Had I fallen onto the floor I would have hit my head and probably done damage to wrists, arms or shoulders trying to break my fall. If I fell on the stairs, the possibilities are more scary.

It could have been very different. It gave me a fright. I don’t generally feel vulnerable or fragile, and I perhaps underestimate the impact of this disease on my life and on my ability to take care of myself. Generally I am of the opinion that my symptoms aren’t that disabling – I don’t have the excruciating pain that some people have in their hands that renders them unusable. This morning was the first time I’d felt vulnerable to the effects of the disease in this way.

I don’t like it. Not one bit. I don’t want to start tip-toeing through my life for fear of falling (although, in that somewhat mixed metaphor, tip-toeing might very well be the cause of falling).

Perhaps I need to stop underestimating the impact of this disease and pay more attention when my body is stiff and sore. I knew when I got up that I was very stiff. I should have paid close attention to where I was putting my feet, and not tried to move as if everything was fine. Because pretending things are fine when they aren’t may well make things un-ignorably not fine.

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