Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Trip to the Floor

Hooray for Robert Rumble!
He doesn't mind a tumble.
Ups he jumps
And rubs his bumps
And doesn't even grumble.
Hooray for Robert Rumble!

I think I've posted this little ditty before, a ditty I often heard from the lips of my dad when I was a little boy. I'd fall down. I'd start to cry. Then ... Dad's arms and "Robert Rumble." (I've passed it along to our son and grandsons.)

(Later, both Dad and Mom had balance issues. I figured, of course, that I never would.)

In the last couple of years I've been experiencing yet another of the Joys of Aging--vertigo. My physician tells me it's just one of those things: The fluid in the inner ear (which stabilizes, balances) thickens as you grow older, no longer guarantees your stability. I'd noticed some balance issues in recent years, but as I wrote another time--was it a couple of years ago now?--I was out walking with Joyce--a walk for exercise, fairly brisk.

As we reached a mile, we turned toward home again. We came to a stop street, where a car waved us on. I started jogging a little, and when I got to the other side of the street, I realized I could not stop myself. The lower and upper halves of my body seemed out of sync--and as I staggered over into someone's lawn, I gradually regained my balance. Did not fall. Joyce, concern creasing her face, caught up with me. I'm all right ... I didn't fall ... She kept her hand on me the rest of the way home. (Is there a better metaphor?)

But yesterday, I did fall.  And hard.

I'd not been out to the health club in about a week (the reason, oddly: health--I've not felt well, have spent a lot in time in bed). But yesterday I was feeling better. So out I drove. I did my usual routine of twenty minutes on the exercise bike (a bike that also allows some upper-body exercise).
I never smile when I ride this device!
Afterward, I began my next routine: 10 minutes of brisk laps around the 1/9-mile indoor track. Carrying weights. (I like to carry 15 lbs/hand--but those weights were gone yesterday, so I settled for 10, thinking I'd take a few days to work back to the 15.)

But on my 3rd lap I felt myself losing balance again--the familiar staggering sensation from the walk with Joyce. I realized what was up--did not dare stop immediately--and maneuvered myself toward one of the walls, which I hit--hard--with the right side of my cheek. And down I went, hitting my head on the floor, and lay, stunned, in an Old Man Pile, realizing, though, that helping hands were already rushing toward me.

The staff there were great. Took my BP (okay), gave me some OJ, questioned me expertly about what I'd felt--what had happened. Bandaged my knee (scrape), gave me some ice for my right cheek (which, today, looks as if it's had a close encounter with Mike Tyson).

Once I got to my feet, I slowly regained my balance and shuffled off to the shower ... and then home, where Joyce, worried (I'd called), was waiting.

I joked that I was going to tell people she'd punched me. (I knew everyone would believe it, not because Joyce is violent but because I've long deserved it.)

The rest of the day I felt sort of a combination of relief (no permanent damage it seems), alarm (why did I not realize more quickly what was happening?), and, well, stupidity. (I thought I knew that I had to accelerate and decelerate gradually in these Latter Days!)

This morning--I still have that punched-in-the-face look, and I had some stories prepared for the curious at the coffee shop. But no one said anything. Kept eyes averted. All probably figuring I finally got what I deserved.

Meanwhile, aging continues to dispense its blessings, and I realize now even more than before that I (aka Robert Rumble) must, for the rest of my life, watch every single step I take. Because, you see, I do mind a tumble ...

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