Why do things (and by ‘things’ I mean ‘bad things’) have to happen at the worst possible time? Events seem to line up and then go down at the one time when there is no recourse to alter or change them. This week events in my life lined up in just that way, and I have to tell you, I wasn’t prepared. I usually look for lessons to be learned in all that happens, but this one was both difficult to get through and hard to understand. A bad combination for sure, and I’m still looking to find the lesson.


The events that lined up were Paul’s trip to Boston for several days, so he was not home, and Joelle’s yearly school testing, so she was not here either. Since I am not driving, our pastor and his wife were kind enough to pick her up and take her to and from school for day one of the morning testing required every year by the state. We could pay to do such testing on our own through the mail, but since we have to pay school taxes for services we don’t use and also pay for our chosen curriculum as well, I take advantage of the local school’s invitation to join in their state testing every year because it is both easy to do and, quote-unquote, ‘free of charge.’ So on this day that meant an easy day for a teacher with no pupil, and some time to myself to do as I pleased. I had given permission for Joely to go home with the pastor’s wife and her two daughters after the testing, and I was looking forward to a day without demands.


A day without demands that demanded far more of me than I’d expected. I’m not sure how it happened, and I wouldn’t like to go through it again, but the demands made of me that afternoon were a challenge to both my faith and my stamina. As you can guess, I fell for the second time in the last month, only this time there was no one there to help me up. The last time I’d fallen (about three weeks ago now) I’d done an embarrassingly foolish thing–I’d leaned over in a chair to put down a text book and lost my balance and fallen. From a chair. I fell in one of the most impossible and inaccessible places imaginable that day, trapped in a three foot space between a built-in heater on one side and a equally immovable table (that weighs nearly 150 lbs.) on the other, and Paul was not home then either. It took twenty minutes to finally get my rather long and sometime unresponsive legs moved around an equally unresponsive table leg I could not move, and I had needed my daughter’s help to do it. It scared her badly, and me too, because I had never really felt that helpless before.


Until Tuesday. On Tuesday I was entirely alone, and when I fell this time I fell in another impossible and inaccessible place. The truth is I can’t believe it happened, or even how. It was right after lunch, and I was carrying my bowl, plate, and spoon from the living room into the kitchen with the walker. My plan was to set the dishes down on a counter and then head towards the bathroom in the other direction. When I stretched out to reach the counter my aim was off, and so was my balance. Either way, the dishes sort of missed the counter, and started to fall. My first mistake was to let go of the walker, and mistake number two was reaching for the plate. Needless to say, I lost my balance again, and somehow ended up on my knees between the kitchen-living room wall and a recliner, with an end table directly ahead. Don’t ask me how that happened, because I’m not really sure; just know I crashed onto my knees in the living room at the same time the bowl crashed and broke on the kitchen floor.


I felt like I had broken too, because the shock that ran up my back was considerable. Here I was, trapped in another place where I was unable to get my legs around and under me so I could move, and there was no one home to help. Worse, the shock to my system when I fell seemed to give impetus to the terrible leg twitches I’ve been having lately and which caused extemely painful spasms to run up my legs and through my entire torso. I will not belabor the point; just know that it was the worst pain I’ve been in for some time. I was trapped in a place I couldn’t get out of, and the only thing I could do was cry out to God; I was already on my knees afterall.


God didn’t send in the calvary, by the way, but at least the spasms stopped. Eventually I was able to push the recliner out of the way and make enough room to get my legs out from under me and to the side. I stayed like that for a long time, trying to rebuild enough strength to keep going. I crawled into the kitchen to get a little stool I could use to get me started upwards, and then was able to crawl back to use it and the recliner as the means to finally get to my feet. From beginning to end I was on the floor for fifty-five minutes, and I was so tired by then I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to walk at all. I made it to the bedroom though, and immediately laid down. It was more comfortable than the floor I’d been on, and easier to get out of later as well. I was too wired to sleep, but I rested for another hour before I moved again.


Paul and Joely didn’t get home until four hours later, and I had a hard time describing the kind of day I’d had. Oddly enough Paul had wrenched his knee the previous night in Boston, so he wasn’t feeling much better than I was. That scared me a little too, because I depend on his stability to keep me upright. All in all it was a difficult day, and I’m still not sure what I learned from it. Never be alone again? Keep a phone close by at all times? Get one of those necklaces that I can press in emergencies?


Somehow, that phrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” isn’t so much the joke it used to be.

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