I don't like falling: it's always embarrassing, and usually hurts, and for me, just a few days past my 68th birthday, increasingly dangerous.
I try to avoid it by watching where I am going and being careful on ladders. However, sometimes old age and gravity convene to create an exciting episode in which I am the featured player.
Kathie, my wife, and I had gone to the Nellie Hoffman House to go through some pictures for a brochure we were doing on the restoration of the building. The house is an early 19th century stone structure owned by the town, and we both are involved in the restoration: she on the management side, I on the labor. In fact, a friend and I have done most of the work of taking the place apart and putting it back together as it once was.
We recently installed and finished wide plank floors to replace those that had been torn up in an earlier renovation. To protect them from muddy shoes, I had laid down a roll of roofing underlayment. I neglected to tear the paper off and remove the roll, thus sowing the seeds of my own near destruction.
I was on my way across the floor to look in a cabinet for more pictures, walking(like a good boy) on the paper when I stepped on the roll.
Whenever I start to fall I am always convinced that I can right the ship by flapping my arms and doing my best imitation of the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz, or in this case, a log rolling competitor in one of those reality shows about Alaska. When I realize this is futile, I just sort of give up and go with the flow. I heard Kathie say: " What are you DOING?", but I didn't have time to reassure her by saying: "I am falling toward this very hard, and well finished, I must say, floor, but don't worry I am optimistic that it won't hurt too much and the damage will be manageable. Let me get back to you, I will have more information in a split second."
I won't say my life flashed before my eyes, but in my slow motion descent, I recall wondering if I would be able to get wire wheels and white walls on my walker.
I hit the floor with a thunderous crash like one of the giant trees laid low by hurricane Sandy and landed squarely on my right hip. "Don't move!," my wife shouted. I knew from her tone she was just seconds away from calling the emergency squad and soon I would be surrounded by semi-trained, volunteer medics, strapped to a board, and hauled past a gawking crowd to the ambulance. "There goes Andersen, poor old thing."
I bounced up. "It's cool, I'm fine. Just shaken up a little." I said as Roman candles of pain skyrocketed through my body.
As I sit writing this with an ice pack on my hip, all seems to be well. I went to the gym and actually made it through my workout without sobbing.
I am making the best of it and being positive about the experience. I examined the purple, pink and red bruise on the right side of my pale, white buttocks and actually thought it looked like a spectacular sunset over the Arctic snow cap.
"Hey, Kath, will you freshen up my martini. It's a little hard getting out of this chair."