Slip & Slide Means Something Different Now

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Slip & Slide Means
Something Different Now

That fall was a warning, Nance thought. You are old. You have only yourself to rely upon. Since then she had minded her body with tenderness. Steady steps on grass slippery with weather. No more reckless journeys to cut heather on the mountains when the wind growled. An eye to the fire and its crush of embers. A careful hand with the knife.

From The Good People, by Hannah Kent

 

“Come over and play after school. I got a new Slip and Slide!”

What glorious words those were to hear in my ten-year-old ears.

Fifty years later – not so much.

I was in the shower one morning, a few months after I’d turned sixty. You know – the same shower I’d stepped into for how many years? Doing the same sole showering activity I’ve done for goodness knows how long? It’s been more years than I can remember since I graduated from the bathtub to the shower. I couldn’t begin to count how many thousands and thousands of times I’d performed this same activity.

Yet, in an instant, in one split-second swoosh, there I was laying on my back in the bottom of the bathtub. One slippery step. It all happened so fast that I didn’t even know it was happening. One minute I was shampooing my hair, and in a flash I was looking up at the showerhead, seeing it in a viewpoint I never had before.

Fortunately, nothing was injured. Nothing was broken. Only my pride came out of the incident battered and limping. As I lay there and flexed all my fingers and joints, assessing the damage, I realized how blessed I was. I knew that the end result could have been much, much different.

Showerbay.com reports:

NewsUSA confirmed similar results found by a National Institute on Aging (NIA) study. Also citing slippery surfaces as a culprit, researchers determined that more than a third of seniors over the age of 65 slip and fall each year – 80 percent of those falls occur in the bathroom. “Knowing how to get in and out of tubs and showers properly and equipping homes with necessary safety precautions can reduce senior falls, keep them out of the emergency room and possibly extend their lives,” they remark on their website.

NewsUSA also cites research from the CDC that reveals that “1.6 million older adults seek emergency care each year for fall-related injuries, fractures or head trauma. In addition to potentially losing their independence, seniors 65 years old and up have a 25 percent chance of dying within six months to a year if they fall and break a hip.” …”

I knew that shower ‘grab bars’ are recommended to help the elderly get in and out of showers and tubs. But…I wasn’t elderly yet. Hey, I hit the sixty-year-old mark, and I’m still fluctuating back and forth between bemoaning the fact and embracing the milestone. But that doesn’t mean I’m old or elderly or a senior yet.

Does it?

However, even though I’m not ‘old’ yet, I still find myself gingerly stepping in the shower now. Once the suds are flowing, I stand still and don’t move those feet. A non-slip mat helps, but I still find a slight fear lingering in the back recesses of my mind.

When I was reading The Good People, I came across a paragraph where Nance, the elderly woman in the story is thinking about this being more cautious in the years where the body starts betraying us in ways we thought we’d be exempt from.

Her words perfectly conveyed the emotions I found in myself. Now I find myself wrestling between the worlds of caution and fear. Yes, it seems safe to be more aware of areas of potential injury. ‘Better safe than sorry’ seems one of those adages that apply to this train of thought. But I find myself also wondering – when does prudent, wise, and cautious veer too closely to the realm of fear?

As in with most issues in life – it’s all about balance, walking the tightrope between two extremes. I don’t want to become so overly vigilant that I extinguish the joy and spontaneity out of life. I also don’t want to swing to the other extreme where fear smothers any action or sparks of vitality.

I know there are still many lessons that I’m learning in life. Despite the fact that somehow I thought that once I’d reached some magical point in life, I’d be older and wiser, and there wouldn’t be any more lessons to learn. I just never expected that one of the lessons I’d be learning would involve the skill of tightrope walking – although, after my little slip and slide in the shower incident, I think I’ll keep my tightrope walking to the metaphorical territory and not in the actual physical sense.

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Savoring Sixty and Beyond
    Feb 24, 2019 @ 13:30:39

    Glad you are okay from your fall in the bath tub. I am sure that was a bit frightening.

    Reply

  2. Martha Reynolds
    Feb 24, 2019 @ 13:31:59

    Oh, Trisha. First, I’m glad you weren’t injured. And yes, I understand! I’m careful in the shower, and especially in winter with ice and black ice.
    The other day, I was taking the stairs in a building, heading down, and I flashed back to when I’d scramble down stairs. I’m so careful now! And I miss the girl I was, who was a little reckless.

    Reply

    • trishafaye
      Feb 24, 2019 @ 19:22:24

      I know what you mean, Martha, about missing the little girl. Oh, we’d go skipping down the street without a care in the world – nor thought of being careful to avoid injury. I guess we have our gained wisdom to compensate for that loss LOL

      Reply

  3. Deb
    Feb 24, 2019 @ 23:49:34

    So glad you didn’t hurt yourself! And I can feel your pain…I just slipped on our back steps last week ,got a bruised hinder cheek and knee that’s scrapped…😤 those step now have an evil side.

    Reply

  4. BoomingOn
    Feb 27, 2019 @ 03:06:35

    I suspect I might be a little too far on the ‘full of zeal side’. Still climb ladders to paint up high, get on the roof and do lots of things ‘old’ people shouldn’t do. I’m very careful, but not fearful.

    Reply

    • trishafaye
      Feb 28, 2019 @ 14:05:34

      Oh my! Good for you! I still climb on chairs and ladders in the house, probably more than I should, but I don’t do the roofs! Stay careful and safe – but yet active and adventuresome!

      Reply

  5. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    Feb 27, 2019 @ 03:33:24

    Hi Trisha! I find myself gingerly getting out of the shower even though I have good balance you just never know – one slip is all it takes. I also agree we need to find the right balance and still enjoy life but perhaps with a little more care. As Chrstine from Booming On says ‘careful but not fearful’. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL.

    Reply

    • trishafaye
      Feb 28, 2019 @ 14:03:33

      Yes, I find myself missing the spryness of youth that we all took for granted. Christine’s ‘careful but not fearful’ is spot on!
      Have a wonderful day!

      Reply

  6. leannelc
    Feb 27, 2019 @ 06:52:54

    Slipping in the shower and breaking something is a real fear for me – along with dying on the toilet! The thought of the paramedics having to haul me out in all my naked glory just gives me the jitters. I’m so glad you were spared that indignity! My friend (who’s 60) missed a step the other day and fell and broke her back! We obviously don’t bounce as well as we used to unfortunately.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Reply

    • trishafaye
      Feb 28, 2019 @ 14:01:50

      Yes, that thought has crossed my mind too! the thought of paramedics in helping this bare naked body. Yikes!
      That’s terrible to hear of your friend that fell and broker her back! That’s a huge one. I don’t know her and I’m sitting here feeling so bad for her.

      Reply

  7. Debbie Harris
    Feb 27, 2019 @ 09:33:27

    That’s a great quote from a fabulous book Trisha and fits perfectly with your thoughts in your post. Take care! #mlstl

    Reply

    • trishafaye
      Feb 28, 2019 @ 13:59:17

      Yes, I loved that book. And I’m glad I read it after the slip and slide incident. The words really rang true. I think if I read them earlier I would have skimmed right over them and not taken them to heart.

      Reply

  8. Jennifer
    Feb 28, 2019 @ 02:08:31

    So glad you didn’t hurt yourself. I did the same thing a couple of years ago but I was on the outside of the tub trying to get in and suddenly found myself on my back looking up at the showerhead too! Luckily no injuries but a reminder to be more mindful of what I am doing.

    Reply

  9. Molly Totoro
    Mar 04, 2019 @ 13:51:49

    In 2016 I fell going over the doggie gate (something I’d done hundreds of time before) and broke my left arm and cracked my hip. Five months later, I tripped over the basset and broke my right arm. Yes, I am more cautious now!
    But I made myself reflect on these two accidents so close in together. I had never broken a bone before – and now three in five months?! I decided that rather than be overly-cautious (which might cause even more accidents) I need to slow down. There is no reason to rush everywhere in midlife; I have time.
    I will now pay more attention to getting in and out of the shower though. I tend to put that activity on auto-pilot.

    Reply

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