When does “I fell over” become “I had a fall”?
When you’re well into your seventies? When you reach adulthood? Is it the difference between young and old?
I pondered this question after announcing to my fellow co-workers last Friday morning that I had fallen over the evening before. After their initial concern and sympathy, one of them announced “you’ve had a fall dear!” To which we all had a laugh but it got me thinking. Falling over is all about grazed knees and running home in tears as a child or overpaid footballers faking a tackle, whereas having a fall conjures up zimmer frames and walking sticks.
I’d just finished a follow-up physio appointment – not far from home – no more than a ten minute walk. I needed to pick up some provisions for dinner and I stood on the pavement umming and ahing as to whether to go home and pick the car up first. I decided no, don’t be so lazy, and turned in the opposite direction towards the supermarket. I was mindful that I had to lug everything home but by the time I had gone through the check-out I realised I had two heavy bags of groceries – that’s ok, I am a gym user after-all!
By this time it was nearly 6 o’clock and practically dark. In some places, the pavements aren’t well lit, but that’s okay – eyes down and pay attention to where you are walking, right? I passed a man walking his two aged huskies. We exchanged pleasantries and carried on in opposite directions. I must have looked up to check my way, just at the precise moment the pavement dropped down a couple of centimetres. My foot went over and so did the rest of me. I came to a stop with my head resting on the pavement – fortunately my body had soaked up the impact before my head did. I must have landed on my right hand because that was hurting and so too was my right knee.
The man walking his dogs was heading back towards me, just as I was scraping myself off the pavement and checking the shopping for damage. I had a vision of his dogs bounding up to me and licking me to make sure I was okay but they were so old they just stood there panting at me. The man asked if I was okay and would I like a hand home with the shopping? The dogs gave me a ‘don’t you dare’ look – ‘we just want to go home’. No, I was fine, thank you very much – just a bruised pride. I’m only around the corner, thanks anyway. The dogs looked relieved and turned towards their home before the man did.
I gathered myself up and limped the rest of the way home. To my surprise Chief was already home and waiting for me, so we could shop for dinner. Idiot Luce! He is so rarely home before me that I hadn’t even thought to call him to see if he could come and collect me and the shopping. Mobile phones can be a really useful tool sometimes (note to self).
The damage? A bruised and grazed right knee and a swollen right hand inbetween two of the knuckles. I don’t think there are any broken bones but I’m not sure what’s causing the swelling as there is no bruising.
So there you have it. Did I fall over or have a fall? I certainly didn’t require the assistance of a zimmer frame or stick to get back on my feet, nor the arm of a stranger. I definitely fell over but who knows how long it will be before I have my first fall. I’m off to write to the council.