Valley News – Column: New experiences happen whether we like it or not

For decades, I believed that in order to live a vital, interesting life, I needed to try something new every week. This has led to many fascinating experiences, many new acquaintances, and some trouble here and there, especially if the experience is unplanned or unintentional.

I found that the percentage of unintentional new experiences increased with age. Old age, as we all know or find out over time, is accompanied by a decrease in physical ability and strength, loss of balance and increased bone fragility. A significant number of elderly people, for example, fall and suffer broken hips, which are often too far gone to heal properly, and are replaced with prostheses.

Kiki, my almost constant companion, loves to walk in our local park. As the time of day approaches, she sits expectantly on the floor right behind my desk. If she thinks I don’t notice her, she shakes her tiles violently, inevitably eliciting Shakespeare’s response: “Never shake your bloody curls at me!” She’s clearly impatient with my preparations — a trip to the bathroom, a handful of treats in my pocket for the dogs we meet, a jacket and hat appropriate for the temperature, a glove for my walking stick or hiking pole hand (the other hand stays in my pocket producing treats), and finally suitable shoes or boots for the conditions under my feet that I expect. The closer we get to the park, the more she jumps and whines, as only lively terriers know; and when we stopped in the parking lot she was out of the car like a rocket.

I’m sorry to report (I told her, but I don’t think she understands yet) that her favorite pastime has come to an end until the snow and ice melts from the park – probably mid-May.

For a long time now, when the trails in the park are icy or covered in ice, I’ve been a little nervous about hiking alone. The chances of slipping and falling are significantly higher, and the thought of waiting for help (I wear a watch and a phone, both of which I can only voice call 911) in sub-zero temperatures is a bit terrifying. Getting up from the ground after a fall has become more difficult — a nearby tree or rock can help — and if the fall managed to damage something, it might be impossible,

You see where this is going. Yesterday, just as I got to my car after a fairly cautious mile or so, I lost focus for a moment trying to simultaneously turn off my walking clock, dig out my car key, find a treat for Kiki, and call her out of the way of an oncoming car. Overload. I grabbed a rock or a piece of ice with my crawlers and experienced that awful, inevitable feeling of falling again. I landed with a thud, then thought about how I could get up. It requires all the strength of two hands, and my right hand was unresponsive.

By sheer luck, three sturdy mountaineers were just passing by. They came over as quickly as they could and, after a short period of finding a good posture, lifted me physically and put me on my feet. I was quite shaky. One of them put my hiking pole behind my seat, I found a treat in my left hand and gave it to an obviously worried Kiki, and my delivery guys helped me into the car. I assured them I could get home just fine, which I did, and dosed myself up with Glenlivet and Tylenol. I then took to Facebook to post the accident.

A few minutes later the phone rang. It was a Facebook friend and retired nurse who announced that I was going to the emergency room and she would be there in a few minutes to pick me up. I protested, but it was pretty obvious that her concern was valid and her resolve firm. So we started.

As Arte Johnson used to say Laughing, “Very interesting.” The tip of the ulna is called the olecranon. where the triceps joins, was broken off. Walnuts! They splinted me well and referred me to orthopedics. Rebecca drove me home, where my still worried friend was waiting for me.

In two days, I will be admitted to orthopedics. Meanwhile, I can drive, cook, wash and fold laundry and type on this keyboard. What I can’t do is play computer solitaire (probably a good thing), feed myself with my right hand, scratch my nose, and insert my right hearing aid without any difficulty. I have to figure out how to take a shower tomorrow.

According to the internet monograph I just read, I may be back to almost as normal as I’ll ever be once the ice and snow are gone from the park. I will add another new experience to my ever-growing list. And maybe I’ve become just a little bit wiser. We’ll see.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *