Friday, 27 December 2013

Slipitis

Long before the "I've fallen and can't get up" commercials highlighted the dangers of falling in your own home, I suffered from slipitis.  Perhaps I have always been sensitive to the fear of falling just like I have a natural fear of heights.  Having slipitis as I call it means the winter season is fraught with danger underfoot for me.  Icy patches, black ice, and freezing rain coating the whole laneway with ice are all scary and concerning to me.  I've noticed in these late years, I choose my winter footwear with consideration for the soles rather than style; I really need to have a sense that the tread can afford me traction in slippery conditions.  I just reread that sentence; how old am I getting!
However, this falling business is not to be taken lightly.  Over 20000 people in North America die of falls each year; I wonder how many of those involved ice.  I know you can just as easily fall in your home (the bathroom being the main danger zone).  Remember the story of the mountain climber who had scaled Mount Everest three times, only to slip on a rug in his hallway, hit his head and die as a result?
I used to work at a children's hospital and one day happened to voice my concern about falling in the icy parking lot.  One of the doctors told me how to walk to minimize the effect of a fall....bend slightly forward from the waist, make sure your weight is leaning forward, and take small shuffling steps.  That way if you slip, you will more than likely fall forward and your knees and hands can help break the fall.  You probably won't fall backwards and hit your head; something you should try to avoid at all costs.  Yes, I know I look like a little old woman walking like this but I don't care; vanity, with age, is losing its grip.

What's on my night table...


 Mary Coin by Marisa Silver tells the fictionalized story behind this famous photograph taken during the depression years in the U.S.  It was shot by photographer Dorathea Lange and titled "Migrant Mother" and appeared in many major magazines.  Mary, the migrant mother, and her struggle to care for her children is a story both heartbreaking and hopeful.  This book is beautifully written and I enjoyed every word of it.