To read an excerpt from the book, please click on the following link:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

All Fall Down

I was not able to sleep well last night due to shoulder pain, even in the brace (I have a very soft shoulder brace, essential at night now). I slept in a little. Absolutely had to get up today. I have a household and have to be present. Right now am using Relafen re: my doctor liking this for pain relief. It is one of my regular lupus meds, an anti-inflammatory I am to take as needed, usually. I thought it did not do any good until I began using it for the shoulder. I'm sitting at the kitchen table, where I usually write.

I have to confess to my readers that this is not the first time I have fallen like this (or seriously tripped) over the last two years, aside from the hiking accident where I fractured my spine (fell into a creek from a high bank. I walked around with the injury for a very long time until I started having horrific sciatica, pain in my right hip, etc. An MRI showed the spinal fracture, down near the bottom of my spine, and a slightly bulging disc). This took extended physical therapy to help. I should have gone to the doctor right away, and I didn't. I have a long, long history of neglecting myself.

Over the last couple of years, I have fallen only once in dance class (I was dancing in socks, on carpet). Not too bad, didn't hurt the hip, but was embarrassing. As an "older" dancer, I feel the need somehow to prove myself, which is stupid. I nearly lost my footing twice in another class. Curiously, in the most demanding style of all, Haitian dance, with very quick turns, etc., I have never once lost my footing. Most of the time, I am fine, with some attention to warming up my hip joints, lower back, etc.

But in the last few months, I have begun to have some spills...not just the serious ones at the Tannery in May and last week.  BTW, I realize my readers don't likely know what the Tannery is: it's an old leather tanning factory which has been turned into a successful arts center and is quite the jewel here in Santa Cruz. Many of my dance classes are held here. It's a cool place.

I tripped on the stairs weekend before last. My foot (always the right one) caught on the rough edge of the top stairs (whatever you call the metal thing that is supposed to be there, was not there), and fell, mostly onto my front.

I fell on the sloping driveway of the house, trying to get my purse out of the passenger side and losing my footing on gravel. Fell on my side, twinging the shoulder (this was pre-new-Tannery injury).

I have not tripped on toys in the house, though, but I sure have broken a few crayons and some of the cheaper plastic things underfoot. I am careful with the small person I watch a couple of days a week. She is mobile now and I have a good stroller also, so there is some natural adaptation there.

I realize now that these falls and near-spills are increasing. Is it because I am rushed, harried often, and just not being careful in this year when there has been a new addition to the family at large, and I am responsible for more childcare, thus increasing stress and distraction? That is some of it.

I also fear that some of this is due to the fact that I am getting older.

It's hard to write those words. One thinks that every healthy thing: dance, good food, exercise, etc., is going to push back the tide, but the tide comes in, still. 

I don't want to be the person who has to lose independence because all she does is fall. I don't want to go back to using walking support as I did years ago. I want those days behind me, not ahead of me.

But the truth is, I have seriously injured my shoulder in a repeated way, and I am going to end up with a more serious injury, there or somewhere else, if I keep falling. My Zen teacher, Katherine Thanas, died a few years ago as a result of a similar fall I took this last time. I took care of her along with other members of the Zen community. The wound high on her forehead looked like a large purple star. She never came out of her coma and died in her home, in hospice care (but surrounded by a community who loved her). She always treated me with some bemused humor, as if I were an errant schoolgirl: part of the way she encouraged me. I'll never forget the cute teddy bear on her bed, with a sandalwood mala around its neck.

I have decided to begin yoga again (as suggested by my doctor) pretty much as soon as my doctor says. There is a good adaptive yoga class locally which I have been to before. I can try that. I can try to begin gentle balancing exercises at home (holding on to tables and chairs!). I can get better walking shoes. I can find a more sensible way to leave the Tannery (my plan is to go out through the courtyard past the cafe and offices, and avoid the curbing altogether). I have really good boots for winter, which is the larger concern if we have a bad winter as before.

So I suppose I will be narrating, in this blog, this new process of finding balance again. Will my efforts be fruitful? I can't see how they wouldn't be, on some level.