Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm getting too old for this

If I haven't spelled this out before, I have to pay a lot more attention to what my body is doing than most people do. That includes major things like driving, minor things like scooping coffee into the filter in the coffee maker, and potentially disastrous things like walking down the stairs.

When it comes to our basement stairs, I have rules. I go slow. I watch my feet. I have at least one hand free to hold the railing. I pay attention to the act of going walking up or down the stairs and try not to get distracted.

Sunday night, I broke all the rules. We had a minor plumbing disaster - turns out the garbage disposal was loose, which vibrated the heck out of the PVC sink pipes. The sink pipes came apart in two places. Water everywhere.

First, I cleaned up that water on the kitchen floor. Then I called our plumber friend who said he could come out the next day. After that, I went to clear out the cupboard under the sink.

I had the bright idea to put some of the stuff from under the sink on the wall shelf on the cellar stairs. I gathered up a bunch of stuff in both hands and started down the stairs. I made it about four steps down when my feet went out from under me and I slid down - hard - for a few steps. My sneakers were wet and the steps are bare wood - bad combination.

Oddly enough I didn't drop anything. I did bang my left ankle and skinned both my elbows. After setting things on the shelf, I went back up and washed my elbows. They were sore.

I was a little leery of the stairs after that, so I found a box and filled it with the rest of the stuff in the cupboard and stuck it in the back bedroom.

As the evening progressed, I became aware of more aches and pains - took some aspirin and a muscle relaxant and went to bed.

The next morning, my left elbow was causing me lots of trouble. As long as my arm was extended, it wasn't too much of a problem. But the more my arm flexed, the greater the pain - to the point where blowing my nose with two hands was almost impossible. After a great deal of research during the day, I decided the likeliest thing was that the injury had resulted in olecranon bursitis.

You can read the description if you're interested, but it explained the pain and swelling. And I changed the treatment from aspirin to alleve. The elbow started to improve and I can blow my nose again. :-)

So - within the next week or two, I'll be getting some kind of non-slip material for the cellar stairs. And I'll probably be better at following my rules.

The thing is, no is perfect in adhering to a routine or set of rules - me included. Stuff like this happened to me when I was in my twenties and thirties, but I was a lot more flexible then.

It hurts a lot more now. Gotta start getting serious about "Stephen-proofing" the house. --Stephen


sanda said...

Sorry you are hurting, and glad you didn't break any bones. I,too have rules (unsteady due to CFS/ME, etc) and break some of my rules...We can "...(name)proof the house" but it's harder to not talk ourselves out of doing something we know is risky but really see the need to have it done....when we stop to rationalize it before doing it,anyway...Been there...

medrecgal said...

Wow...that tendency for injury is one I happen to share, and I also have to think my way through potentially hazardous things requiring coordination. I know about that "too old for this" thing too, though I'm probably a little bit younger; I notice that the bumps and bruises seem to hurt a bit more than they used to. If I didn't do things that were potentially risky, I wouldn't be doing much these days; when you're a bit klutzy, sometimes just getting out of bed is a potential hazard...

Stephen Drake said...


Most of the time when I break the rules, it's because I space out. Too many distractions.


Yep - living a life requires risk and some effort. For some of us, there are more risks and effort involved than with others.