Wednesday, March 9, 2011


As if there aren't enough things in this cruel world to do damage to an old woman like me! I just found one I didn't expect. But, of course, when one has an accident it's just that--unexpected.

I was reading a thing about home safety, the kind of article I usually see in the AARP magazine. (I really hate the fact that I get that AARP magazine and that I bother to read it. It's just so old.) It discusses injuries (and causes of death!) that happen in the home. The U.S. Home Safety Council says that every year nearly 20,000 people die and 21 million medical visits are needed due to home accidents in the United States. Put me down for one of those medical visits.

Here's what the Council reports:

Those most at risk are children and the elderly--a recent report from Harvard Medical School found that the chance of dying from a home accident increases dramatically after the age of 65. In fact, people over the age of 75 are four times more likely to die from a home accident than those aged 65 to 74.

Of course, people of all ages can be hurt by an accident (you've likely got at least one home-accident story of your own by now). The irony is that most home accidents are the result of human error and could almost always have been prevented.

The list includes the top six causes of injury:

(1) Knife cuts
(2) Slamming fingers in windows or doors
(3) Falling down stairs
(4) Cooking burns
(5) Falling out of windows
(6) Electrocution

Yes, I've likely got at least one home-accident story of my own by now. I've done all of those things at one point or another. The injury du jour happened yesterday. I was innocently putting a box on the top shelf in my office. I innocently stood on my desk chair to reach the top shelf, ignoring the fact that the desk chair has wheels on it. (Don't laugh--I've innocently done it before and it never rolled when it wasn't supposed to roll.) Well . . . yesterday it rolled away when I was at the top of my ascent with a box in my hands. The descent wasn't pretty. I landed crumpled on the floor with a boxful of papers scattered over me like dry leaves on a dead squirrel.

So I sat there on the floor, stunned, saying to myself, "You old fool, just look what you've done now." My arms hurt the most and I expected I had dislodged a fingernail or two trying to break my fall by grasping the edges of the bookshelves. No blood, no obviously broken bones. Eventually I got up and walked. I iced down the hurting parts and waited for morning.

When I got up this morning I realized that the damage is all concentrated on my right side--right arm and shoulder, right leg, and right ankle. This afternoon I went to the chiropractor and he did what he could to straighten me out. His prognosis is that I'll hurt for a while but I'll live.

Do I need to remind myself not to stand on that desk chair with the wheels? I'm an idiot.

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