After the Fall was Over – Resilience or ???

Resilience: the ability to be happy, successful, etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened  –  Merriam-Webster

 an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change – Cambridge Dictionary

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In 1891 Harris wrote a lilting waltz tune about a young man’s disappointment “After the Ball was Over”. The tune came to mind as I was recovering from a recent fall hence the blog title. I haven’t written much about falls, because fortune has favored me with few of them in my decades of aging and none has been more traumatic than leaving me feeling a bit banged up for a time. But I have felt disappointment, even anger, certainly frustration after the fall was over.

My recent fall resulted in minor trauma. But at 97 it was a different experience. By this time my half dozen ARC imps (age related changes) had become my constant companions, poking their noses into many if not most of my daily activities. They seemed to see my fall and slightly banged up state as a great time to create more mischief. My Balance ARC kept me scarily feeling like I might topple over whenever I was upright, particularly when I first rose in the morning. My Strength ARC imp’s tactic was to make it even more difficult for me to rise from sitting to standing and to grasp or manipulate things with my already weakened hands. Stamina’s imp made me head for the recliner after just a small amount of activity and made me feel as if this was the only place to be. My Short Term Memory ARC, as usual (only more so) sneakily bedeviled me with its unpredictability in enabling me to recall information I needed and caused worry that there might be some recall I needed but didn’t even realize. My self-confidence was shaken. And all this with hardly any trauma! My well springs of reserve seemed drained dry and snail-paced at refilling. Now with so much ARC imp mischief, how was I going to be “happy and successful” again, “recover from or adjust easily”?

Well, it appeared I was going to have plenty of time to think about it as I lazed in my recliner.   My long term memory (that seems to be working very well) came up with a Bible verse. “The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak. . .” (Matthew 26:41). That’s where I was now. Fortunately, I found that I still had spirit, I had blog ideas just waiting to be written, projects in various states—things to think about, things I could do that didn’t take much physical energy or strength. Some of them, I could do sitting at my desk or even making notes in my recliner.   I wanted and needed to recover in the best way possible. I accepted that it might be frustratingly slow, but at least it seemed doable and highly desirable.

Of course it helped immeasurably that family and nearby friends checked in on me by phone and in person, did the few things I needed but couldn’t do. And provided me with salads, soups and easy to fix food. But pacing myself and being satisfied with small gains would be frustrating. I also realized that falls, like having pneumonia, made one more vulnerable for recurrence.   I needed to keep my wits about me, be careful and no hurrying!!!!!!

Days later I realized that falls actually were learning opportunities. I analyzed this last fall and saw that I had broken two of my EWA commandments:

always keep nose and toes in alignment when turning

stop and center consciously before taking that first step after turning (particularly after rising from sitting).

If I were to avoid high risk falls now, I needed to purposefully follow both of these. I needed to avoid hurrying for any reason. I needed to keep my expectations and plans in alignment with my capacities.

Beyond these, I would work on patience, identify small gains and be grateful for them. I’m still green, still growing.

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7 thoughts on “After the Fall was Over – Resilience or ???

  1. Sorry to hear of your fall. Hope you are well on the mend. Glad blog ideas were coming even as you recovered.
    Hurrying is a great no no as we get older, it almost always gets us in trouble.


  2. Hope you keep finding patience to take things slowly and give your body time to recover. I’ve had two major falls this past year, and it has taken a lot of self-talk and reminding to go slowly. It does pay off, and I try to give myself constant reminders to slow up and stay centered. Thanks for your thoughts!


  3. Ah, dear Doris, I am so sorry to hear about your fall, and glad to know you are taking it very, very easy and recovering. Whew… Some time ago I read a statement by a physical therapist who said, “Falling leads to fear of falling and fear of falling leads to falling.” Horrible Catch-22, especially because the tendency is then to stop moving altogether. Thank goodness you have such good helpers and a strong support network. Steady on, Brave One!



  4. So glad you weren’t seriously hurt in your fall! Although a bruised ego can be tough to deal with sometimes. I so enjoy your words of wisdom, and am glad to know you are still coming up with ideas ❤️ Stay safe!


  5. Doris, those falls are the things we most dread, I think. Thank goodness you evidently have strong bones, as I do. But those little imps just keep niggling around us, don’t they? You are one of the most resilient people I know, and no one works harder to keep life in balance. Thank you for letting us all in on your resolute spirit and your lively mind. Now if I can just remember those two rules…I need them even at 78!


  6. Oh, I am so glad I’ve discovered your blog and have lots of earlier posts to enjoy. I am only 76 but recently had a really bad fall on my tailbone area while on a hike (slipped on a wet boardwalk) and am not yet healed completely, and it’s been six weeks. I remember when I healed much faster. It’s good to know you are still a mental giant, even if the old bod is needing to slow down. Thanks for letting me know your new email address. You are definitely my role model! 🙂


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