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New warning label for my ladder

 At age 63 do not use this ladder without a helper unless only using only the second step.

The best response from posting my accident of falling off a ladder while clearing ice buildup was from my elder brother. “Congratulations…if you keep trying you’ll catch up with me in the dumb stuff accident league. Heal quickly and always ask yourself, ‘what did I learn this time?'”

So, what did I learn?

My mobile phone should always go into my right hand pocket, as that was where I first looked for it when I was still on the snowy ground after my fall from the ladder.

I was reminded that I have very good friends. After getting myself inside, I quickly realized that I was in no condition to care for myself. I called my friend and neighbor, Amy, but she wasn’t home and had no transportation at the time. She asked if she could call another mutual friend. Sue came immediately, and suggested that we get my wedding ring off first, before swelling made it impossible. She found my old wrist brace, got out our cold gel packs, and stayed with me until my spouse arrived.

I learned that everyone has a dumb stuff story. I heard the best story on Monday when an x-ray confirmed the break and I went to my next appointment with a splint securing my left wrist. A woman older than myself began her story like this; “My husband had gone into town… “. I could relate. Mine had gone to a meeting.
She was on a ladder hanging a wallpaper border, reached too far and fell through a large window, but didn’t get cut or hurt in any way. Her husband came home and asked, “What happened to the window?” The woman proudly told me he didn’t get upset and they fixed the window.

I learned that my illustrations can be somewhat dated. When I explained to a medical tech that I had tried to reach too far as if I was Stretch Armstrong, she nodded and said, “Mine is Go Go Gadget.”

I was reminded how wonderful my spouse is. He rearranged his schedule several times this week to accommodate my needs. He shook his head at my foolishness, but never told me I was stupid. 

I am still learning various ways to get thing done one-handed. I cannot tie my shoes or put on my iWatch. The first day I needed help with almost everything. My spouse and I have done this dance before. Helping the other person get dressed because of some health issue has happened many times throughout our 42 plus years together. The dance does involve some conversation, a few assumptions and miscommunication, and then comes clarity and mission accomplished.

Finally, my own struggles remind to pray for others. As I tried to keep my arm higher than my heart even in bed, I prayed for those in pain who cannot find a comfortable position for sleep. When I had to think through the smallest details of a task in order to find alternate methods, I prayed for those with Parkinson’s disease like my friend, Steve Quam, who travels across the country on his bike in order to teach people how to live well with Parkinson’s. While I just had to figure out how to open my toothpaste, Steve has to think through how to shape his lips to play his flute, something that came effortlessly prior to the illness that affects muscle & brain connections.

My husband hopes I learned never to climb ladders, but I know that did not happen. Yet, the fall will remind me to climb down and move the ladder to a better position rather than trying to reach. And, oh yes, get a second person to help.

Steve Quam peddles for Parkinson’s
Learn to live well with Parkinson’s- Davis Finney Foundation

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