When a psychologist talks about someone being a danger to herself, usually she is referring to suicide risk. So let me clarify that IN NO WAY AM I AT RISK OF SUICIDE. I do not mean to make light of people who are at such risk. (If that is you, please seek help immediately. You need it, and hopefully it will help.)
Here, I am referring to the danger I cause myself from the moment I get out of bed in the morning to the moment I crawl back into bed at night. (We won’t even discuss the assaultive propensity of my bed frame.) I am constantly bumping into things, knocking things over, misstepping, i.e., hurting myself. Don’t know how I’ve survived all my assaults on myself.
I’ve been clumsy ever since I was young. Funny, my parents never suggested gymnastics or figure skating. But did my extended hospital stay a few years back only compound my klutzy nature? Neurological damage can do that. I know that neural pathways can regenerate over time, but these ones were likely defective from birth, so I don’t think there’s any hope of repair.
What brought these thoughts on? I was shopping for a bathing suit, and noticed the left side of my body was black and blue. Propensity for bruising aside, J. figures I’m clumsier on my non-dominant side, and she’s probably right. (Ha ha.) There’s the left knee that the bolted-down metal airport chair attacked–the same knee I fell on just before Christmas–as well as the left elbow my screen door lunged at recently as I exited. It’s amazing how many inanimate objects target my fragile left side.
Last week I decided to even things out a bit: my right leg found a deep hole at the off-leash park. There are many such holes at this park, dug by vermin or dogs or both, I can’t say. It had been several years since I’d stumbled into one, but last Wednesday I decided my time had come. And no, I was not texting. Now my right knee looks a bit more like my left.
What can I do about this problem? I’d say I could stop leaving the house, but even in the house I am clearly at risk. I could take the old people’s Balance class offered at the gym, as an 85-year-old woman I know suggested. Or I could just stay still and hope no more inanimate objects fling themselves at me.
But I’ve decided the most practical and effective approach is protective clothing. J. and I differ on the outfit, however. She thinks a Michelin Man suit would offer the best protection, but I’m more partial to those Sponge Pockets fellows on commercials. You know the guys: they leap on spills, lapping them up sometimes before the liquid even touches the ground. They’re always smiling, they never get hurt when they fall, and they give off good energy. As always, your input is welcome.