Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Following Up

 
I want to take time to follow up on my last entry. I activated my "I've fallen and I can't get up" button system last week, and am wearing it around the house full time now. I find I am having mixed feelings about it. I keep saying to myself, "I'm only 57 years old! I'm too young to have to wear one of these!" Now, I know that age has nothing to do with disability, and disability only slows me down, it has not stopped me. I know I can feel any age I choose, with a bit of imagination, and can choose to feel-and act-young or old, one after the another, if I wish. But the refrain still echoes in my mind, "I'm only 57 years old..."
 
And I am quite aware that the button does nothing to help me not fall. It only helps if I fall so badly that I can't get up. So far I have always managed to get up (except for that one time, right after surgery, when I had to call the fire department for lift assistance, but even then I managed to scoot myself to the phone), so unless I break a hip or something, I am paying big bucks (for me) for something I hope I'll never use.
 
So I have been asked, how did I get here? Poorly controlled diabetes, over the course of more than thirty years. I was not bad the whole time. In good times, I controlled my blood sugars very well, balancing food, exercise and insulin well. In bad times I gave up, still giving myself insulin, but eating badly and not exercising. And I have been depressed on and off my whole life.
 
This lead to one of those invisible, under-discussed, exquisitely painful diseases: peripheral neuropathy. It happens when nerves die. I have a weird, almost unexplainably painful feeling/non-feeling situation in my feet. Huh? you say. I have numbness and buzzing and pin-and-needles and pain in my feet, and right arm and hand. The former is from diabetes, the latter from the injury to my arm. It is a kind of pain that only those who have it (and there are other causes beside diabetes) can understand. There is no way to explain that I actually have pain somewhere that is numb. And asleep. And buzzing. All at the same time.
 
The upshot of all this is that have very little feeling in my feet, no real sense of where they are in space, therefore where I am in space. Not only do I trip over my own feet, I trip over the floor as well, and, set free on a road, I walk like a drunk, wandering wobbly legged from one side of the road toward the other, three steps forward, one step back. Hence the walker. With it, I don't have the back and forth across the road problem. and am much less likely to trip over my own feet.
 
Diabetic neuropathy can also mess with inner organs-the heart (I had open heart surgery at age 43), the kidneys (OK so far) and body regulating systems (like blood pressure). Hence the orthoscopic hypotension, where my BP falls so drastically when I stand up.  Ironically, I didn't fall at 380+ pounds, somehow my weight kept me grounded. (Yes, I did fall at work and smashed my right arm, but that was because I had the phone cord wrapped around my feet.) Now, at 162 pounds, I'm on the ground all the time.
 
I am considering a housemate, though I've grown to love living alone. And a roommate will not keep me from falling. As I have said before, I try hard to stand still before I start, but don't always remember-like when I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I land in the hall a lot.
 
Now, don't get me wrong. I sound as if I fall daily. This is not true at all. I go down a couple times a month, and rarely as spectacularly as two weekends ago. It is just often enough to make my daughter crazy, my friends worry, and me frustrated. I want to thank all those who commented with worry, concern and care on my last entry, and reassure all that I am trying very hard not to fall.
 
I think the best suggestion was to only fall on pillows. I am considering a couple of options. 1) to pillow the floor throughout the entire house or 2) to have a "pillow suit" made, one which will cover me from head to toe, leaving out only my eyes and nose. What do you think?
 
Blessings, Margo

16 comments:

lisa41076 said...

Margo, I think your pillow idea is a good one and the pillow suit sounds helpful too, Hugs and Love Lisa

dklars said...

Call Michelin!  Maybe they can make you a Michelin man suit.  Hehehe.  I was just talking to my grandma tonight (she's almost 96) about getting one of those Alert necklaces.
~~Kath~~

toonguykc said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the worries and concerns you have.  It's all very unfair!  A house of pillows might be better than a pillow suit.  I like the idea of being surrounded by piles of big pillows at all times.  If I didn't have all these damn animals I might consider just such a decorating scheme.  

Hug,
Russ

ksquester said...

I go to London  for a couple of weeks, only to come home and find out you fell. BUT, I found out you are OK and that is very good news.  You even injected some humor into your post with your pillow idea. I went through a 5 year period of falling often and breaking my ankle and with embarressment, my ass on several ocassions. I was left with the center of gravity shifting in my brain, so I had to retrain my brain.....took forever too.  YOU are making progress Margo, but some days I know it seems like you are "back on first" again. Hang in there!  Anne

ksquester said...

I go to London  for a couple of weeks, only to come home and find out you fell. BUT, I found out you are OK and that is very good news.  You even injected some humor into your post with your pillow idea. I went through a 5 year period of falling often and breaking my ankle and with embarressment, my ass on several ocassions. I was left with the center of gravity shifting in my brain, so I had to retrain my brain.....took forever too.  YOU are making progress Margo, but some days I know it seems like you are "back on first" again. Hang in there!  Anne

ksquester said...

I go to London  for a couple of weeks, only to come home and find out you fell. BUT, I found out you are OK and that is very good news.  You even injected some humor into your post with your pillow idea. I went through a 5 year period of falling often and breaking my ankle and with embarressment, my ass on several ocassions. I was left with the center of gravity shifting in my brain, so I had to retrain my brain.....took forever too.  YOU are making progress Margo, but some days I know it seems like you are "back on first" again. Hang in there!  Anne

makemarc said...

I vote for flour. Tons of flour.
Or perhaps you should attach helium balloons to your extremities, and just float around?

stetsonsswtheart said...

(((Margo)))) Merry Meet :)  I fall over my own feet all the time, it's worse now because I have the puppies trying to herd me everywhere...LOL.  I'm glad you have the alert thingy tho, even though it costs money it is good to feel a little more secure knowing you have it IF you do fall badly. ::whisperin' where's the flower graphic::: lol ~ if you need better instructions than the one's I gave you before just let me know.  You be good.  Brightest Blessings...Teresa

gazker said...

I like the pillow idea, you could make your pad into a boudior, now that would be well cool. You can then scatter your pillows about everywhere and then talk like Marlene Deitrich. I vant to be alone...........G

dbaumgartner said...

Ahhh the pillow suit would be just lovely.  Multi-colored and full of flair just like you!  

Now about your button that you wear.  You may be "only" 57 but if it gives you peace of mind and assistance if ever needed then so be it.  Wear it and wear it proud!!!!!

Hugs to you my friend,

Deb

reconcilinglife said...

Pillow suit huh? Nope...just tape styrofoam around your butt and any other bony protrusions.....that ought to do the trick...Giggling,Bam...

bobandkate said...

Hi Margo,
I just stopped by to say that I have just added your blog to the directory.
Kate.
http://journals.aol.co.uk/bobandkate/AnAnalysisofLife/
http://journals.aol.co.uk/bobandkate/20062007-journal-index/

hope5555 said...

Hmmm...I think I like the idea of having a whole house made of pillows.  That sounds so COMFORTABLE. :) It sounds like you are coping very well living alone.  A housemate could be more trouble than benefit....choose carefully if you go that route!

luvmort said...

I'll have Miss Patti make you a bubble wrap dress!

my78novata said...

p[eace of mind is worth it all

indigosunmoon said...

Well since Mortimer is going to get Miss Patty to make you
a bubble wrap dress, I guess I wont have to do it!  LOL
Love ya!
Connie