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
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.