Things Can Go Wrong When MS Touches Icy Ground? Although I lack any professional degree or background in journalism, writing, or literature, I do adhere to one of the most well-known bits of writing advice: Write what you know.
I’m writing about something that happened to me over the weekend and that many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have experienced today: I fell (again).
Distraction and Lack of Situational Awareness Contributed
A chilly, clear morning greeted us. Given how bright it was, I’d say it was later than nine in the morning. I left the house after coffee and breakfast to feed the larger birds before leaving food for the lesser songbirds on the garden wall outside our patio door. I’ve discovered that feeding the crows and rooks outside deters them from stealing food from the little creatures.
When the rapid sting in my nostrils occurred when I breathed in the crisp morning air, I knew it was chilly. However, as I previously stated, it was brilliant, with hardly a cloud in the sky, and I soon found myself looking straight up.
Our driveway is a rough gravel path in the front garden. Unbeknownst to me, a small rain had fallen in the hours prior to the sun’s emergence, coating and consolidating the stones of our driveway into a slippery, if lumpy, sheet of ice.
Due to the rain shadow cast by the house, the first three or four steps away from the front door were dry. When I took the fifth step, I was therefore unaware that my MS put me at a higher risk of falling than usual (a person with MS who falls with some regularity).
You Can Be on the Ground Before You Realize You’re Falling
I can’t remember ever slipping and falling. I was up and then I was down because it happened so quickly. I didn’t understand what had happened until my hands came in contact with the thick layer of ice on the ground. I didn’t lose consciousness or strike my head. I simply didn’t mentally experience falling because it happened so rapidly.
But the fortunate outcome of what could have been a terrible accident was a few pulled muscles and a nice narrative.
Learning to Fall Safely Is a Skill Worth Practicing
This experience brings into sharp focus the training I have undergone over the years to learn not just how to get up from a fall, but more crucially how to fall in the first place. While we all wish to prevent falls wherever feasible, fall prevention for persons with MS is a major study topic. AARP and Harvard Health Publishing both provide advice on this.
Despite the fact that I failed (could not) to steer my body to a perfect landing this time, trained reflexes seemed to kick in and limit the possible harm to a few aches and pains that would serve as a reminder to be more cautious in the coming weeks.
As so many of us have done countless times before, I rolled to my side to examine my immediate situation. After that, I carefully picked myself up off the ground and went about my day. Like myself, the food for the rooks was dispersed over the garden in a manner that was not what I had intended.
The birds had already descended and were quickly finishing their food by the time I returned to the cozy house and told my wife Caryn about it. I waited with a fresh cup of coffee for the paracetamol to take effect as Caryn distributed food for the birdies. Once bitten, always wary.