On a recentThursday while walking with my husband across the street from the Saturday Farmers’ Market, I suddenly stumbled and in a nano second sprawled on the sidewalk face first! The sidewalk was smooth but I think at the indentation where each square meets the one that abuts it, my backless Birkenstock sandal caught on the slight dip, and without a back strap my sandals flew off while my feet was still going forward.
Immediately I felt blood in my mouth and knew I had hurt my upper lip. I also bit on a rice-grain size pebble that turned out to be my left eye tooth. Before a kindly stranger, who turned out to be the associate of my neurologist, rushed forward to help me, blood was already splattering onto my shirt. She asked me to open my mouth and said, “Oh, you need ice,” and went into the hot dog cafe and got some in a baggie. By then my lip was swelling and she advised us to call for an ambulance, but thinking my chipped tooth had to be cared for first, we hied over to our dentist. Alas, he was out-of-town, but had arranged with a fellow dentist to cover emergencies and I was quickly taken care of. After cleaning out my mouth, he put on a temporary crown, and said I should go and get a permanent one from my dentist when he returned to his office. He also advised against chewing and said I should eat only soft foods like jello. Trauma to the mouth is especially bad and even a sandwich could exacerbate in more problems.
When we got home, we further assessed the damage to my body: there was a quarter sized abrasion on my right shoulder, a small lump on my forehead and a bruise on my left thumb. My upper lip was swollen like a bull frog’s and there were small red streaks around my eyes, but since I was wearing plastic lens that got scratched, did not injure them.
The next morning the red streaks had turned to ugly black and blue circles and now my upper face resembled a raccoon’s albeit not cute like it.
When our son came to visit the next day, he said, “Ma, since you’re taking warfarin, you ought to get your head checked out for bleeding in the brain.” He related his friend’s dad had fallen backward and hit his head hard, but the ER decided he was OK and sent him home. That evening he had a terrible headache, and by the time he was back at the ER, it was too late. He died of bleeding in the brain. I hadn’t had a headache, but following his advice, went to Enloe’s ER and had a CT scan done. While waiting on the exam table for the result, I noticed my left knee was swollen. Five days later a golf-ball size lump appeared there, soft to the touch but not painful. WE decided to go to my doctor who said it was the bursa around the knee that had filled with fluid. She said to just leave it alone to heal by itself, because removing the fluid with an instrument might result in an infection.
Later my ankle swelled, and there was a big bruise there as well as on my left foot. Either the other problems had left them unnoticed till days later, or they just took time to show up. Now there are other bruises on my thumb, and on some fingers, and it may be more weeks before I’m whole again.
I am glad, however, I did not break any bones nor bleeding in my brain.
Falling is especially dangerous for seniors like me; it’s the leading cause of injuries and death among the elderly over 65. I shall have to watch my feet regardless of wheres I’m walking, and
perhaps stick to wearing sturdy shoes instead of backless sandals and slippers.
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