An hour ago, sitting down to write, I didn’t have a topic for this next column — I got one the hard way — I fell.
Fortunately, I was unhurt, but I faced a big dilemma. I couldn’t get up where I fell. First of all, I was more or less wedged between the dining room table and the wall — my dog’s favorite place to poop. I had just scooped up her latest offering and was backing out when I lost my balance and fell. After taking inventory of all my parts and deciding I wasn’t injured, I struggled to free myself from a very cramped position and scoot out where I had more room to maneuver. It worked.
Then I had to choose between two alternatives — try to somehow get up on my feet or to press my life-alert button and ask for help, which I really didn’t want to do. So, I tried scooting backward on my behind across the room toward either the telephone or further on to the bottom of my stairs where I could pull myself up.This approach didn’t work — my sweat pants clung to the carpet with avengence, greatly impeding my progress. Meanwhile, my dog encouraged me with a barrage of facial kisses that I couldn’t fend off with both hands engaged.
Finally, I hit on the idea of marching my cheeks across the rug one at a time with my legs out front leading the way. It worked. A few minutes later, I reached the other end of the dining room where I had to decide between the stairs or the telephone. This phone is a hard wired one — not portable. The idea of having to reach up and try to find 911 by brail over my head didn’t sound like a very good idea so I continued the remaining 10 feet to the bottom of the stairs. Oh, I should mention that I had dragged my rubber soled slippers with me as I scooted. Crossing the tiles was much easier and I finally managed to get my behind up against the bottom stair where I could put one elbow on the stair above me and grab the railing and pull myself up. The only problem with that was my bare feet had no traction on the tiles to help push myself up. Thank heaven for the slippers — they worked and I was soon standing. Whew!
I can hear some of you saying “Why didn’t she just press the button?” First off, the method I proposed had worked once before when I fell near my front walk and I managed to get to the porch and up the same way. I needed to know it would work again indoors. Second — I can be stubborn. Third — I hate to use senior services needlessly. I did use them and called for help when I was caring for my husband when I didn’t have the strength to get him up during his final days at home before he went in the nursing home. I am so grateful that this kind of help is available allowing me to stay in my home much longer. The better I am at solving my own dilemmas, the less the pressure I’ll feel to move out to assisted-living.
All this happened after the warm pool at the Aquatic Center has been closed for over a week. My body misses that since a lot of the exercises I do are for balance. It does my heart good to see all those folks, some younger and far worse off than I am, using it regularly.
My elderly friends agree that Pullman is a great place to grow old in. The wide range of amenities offered make senior living so much more enjoyable and reassuring. It also makes life less stressful for seniors and all those family members and friends caring for them.
Lenna Harding lived her first 20 and past 43 years in Pullman. A longtime League of Women Voters member, she served on the Gladish Community and Cultural Center board. firstname.lastname@example.org.