44 falls in 2014.
33 falls in 2015.
34 falls in 2016.
21 falls in 2017.
6 and counting in 2018.
What a lot of people don’t know about Muscular Dystrophy, or myself, is that we fall ALL the time. Everyone with MD might have different reasons for why they fall, but mine is mainly because my knee gives out or I cannot catch myself when I trip or slide on ice.
The point of this blog post is not to complain about my falls, but to educate others about MD and what they can do to help.
If you see anyone on the ground, in good health or not, you should always help them up. And I understand that nobody knows everybody’s needs and situations. I have a very big pride issue, and really struggle to ask for help. Some people are so sweet and want to help, but they don’t completely understand how much strength they are going to need to use. I’ve had young teenagers try to help me, pregnant ladies, moms, grandmas, and even strong men. They just don’t realize they will be lifting 130 pounds off the ground and have absolutely no help from me. I'm like a limp noodle. I think this also goes along with helping someone walk so they don’t fall in the first place. I try not to judge, but I've have had some very small and skinny people ask to help me, and I just know that if I slip or trip at all that I would pull them down. I’ve even pulled my older brother down before. It can be really hard to put my confidence in someone helping me when they don't look the part.
For me, most of the falls do not hurt; rarely they do. But it's important that I do whatever I can do to prevent the falls so I don't get hurt. If I break my leg, my bone will heal just fine, but the muscles surrounding that bone won't heal. And I will lose more muscle by having my leg sit in a cast for months at a time, not being used. Luckily however, most of my falls haven't been to painful. They are mainly incredibly embarrassing. I have fallen at school, at home, at church, even at Walmart. It happens everywhere and in an instant. Sometimes I can get an idea of when I’m going to fall because my muscles feel super weak, but most of the time I don’t know when they are coming.
It depends on where I am when I fall that happens next. If it's in public and there are people around, I generally panic because of embarrassment and get help up immediately. This can make for another fall pretty soon after because I'm shaking and nervous from the embarrassment and I didn't let my muscles recuperate. If I'm at home or some place I feel comfortable, I take more time. I like to just sit there for a couple seconds and let my muscles recuperate. If someone is around, they help me up. But it's generally easier to do it myself if I can. I usually try to find and crawl to something that can help me up, such as a couch, chair, or table. Thankfully, my arm muscles are still pretty strong that I can pull myself up. If there is nothing around, and no one to help, I get on my feet and my hands and do my best to slowly walk up.
I remember telling my OB/GYN about my falls when I was pregnant, and she told me to be extremely careful because any kind of serious damage could harm my baby. We bought two canes to help me walk when my husband or family could not help me, and I had to get boots with serious traction on them to help me walk in the snow. That did not always help. I still fell when I was pregnant, but thankfully no harm was done.
I can probably guess what you are thinking at this point. Have I ever fallen with Cali after she was born? The answer is yes. I have always feared falling with her, especially when she was a newborn. The first time I fell with Cali, I was holding her in the kitchen, she was about seven months old, and I had tripped over paper towels. Another time I was at work, also holding her in my arms, and my knee gave out. Every fall I have seems like I’m in slow motion. And within both timeframes I fell with Cali, I knew to fall back on my butt and catch myself with my left hand while keeping Cali safe in my right. Both falls did not even seem to phase her. And to this day, I worry about future falls. Now that Cali is walking every where, I like to hold her hand and walk beside her. That way if I fall, she doesn't.
No matter what I do to try and prevent the falls, they still happen. It's always nice to have people help me with Cali, help unload the groceries, help shovel the sidewalk, and do what they can to help me. But it's bound to happen. The important thing is to shake it off and get back up again.