Falling isn’t a part of everyone’s MS journey but unfortunately it has been part of mine. It started with tripping and stumbling but I wouldn’t actually fall. I imagine majestic, elegant pirouettes but realise I more likely looked like a toddler running down a big hill, rapidly losing control.
I vividly remember my first public fall. I’d gone to the local shop to get carrots for dinner. I was just at the shop when I tripped but my legs didn’t move fast enough to save me. I was mortified, I used a railing to drag myself up and went on for the carrots. I’d left the house on a mission and it seemed vital to me at the time that I complete it. So, home I went, carrots in tow. I opened the door and burst into tears. All thoughts of domestication gone. Still I had carrots! Success?
Most of my early falling stories end with a few tears. I think it is the shock of losing control and the inevitable fear of where this illness is taking me. Remember though, practice makes perfect and I’ve had some practice at falling! As much reaction as falls get from me now is a roll of my eyes and a string of expletives. It is, however, getting harder to get back up. I find it important to have my phone at hand so I can call for help if needed or more importantly as I recently discovered to watch Netflix on the floor until I can get back up.
Falling is a strange experience for me and I wonder if it is the same for others. In the few seconds between realising I’m going to fall and the event itself my mind seems to be able to run through a myriad of options that I don’t think would occur to me without out that sense of urgency.
- Can I save myself from falling (answer is usually no)
- Is there a preferred landing spot? Is there a sofa/chair within my fall radius?
- Just go with it!
Another issue about falling is who is around when you do it. I’ve fallen in front of my parents, my sister and my husband on various occasions. I have a friend who is very wary of me and insists I’m not allowed to fall on her watch, I’ll have to break her in sooner or later!
Falling in public is embarrassing but with strangers you know they won’t lose any sleep worrying about you but when you fall around loved ones it is tempting to jump up (as if jumping is ever an option) and reassure them that you’re ok.
So how do I want falling to go in future and how should my audience react?
- I don’t want to fall!
- If I do fall, do not laugh!! Husband has learnt the hard way that my falls may be spectacular gymnastic events but my wrath is pretty spectacular too.
- Do not overreact – an ambulance is not necessary, I just need to get up and don’t need the fire brigade to do so
- Ask me how you can help, don’t start pulling and dragging. I might want to milk the occasion for maximum sympathy