As I get older, there are a number of things I have begun to worry about which seemed way too far off in the future to concern myself with in younger years.  Of course when I was younger, I was never going to reach “old age”—although the alternative isn’t so appealing, either—and even if I did, I was going to be one of those cool old ladies who takes up rock climbing or white water rafting at the age of ninety.  But there is one thing I have prayed I would never become and that is one of those frail old people who falls all the time. That, along with about five hundred other things about aging, is one of my worst nightmares.

To that end, I try to stay active, exercise as much as my schedule will allow, and take calcium supplements and medication for my aging, osteoporotic bones.  So it was with a sense of dismay that I found myself flat on the floor the other day, like one of those old ladies in the commercials groaning, “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”  Actually, I didn’t say those words.  I just lay on the floor and groaned.

What precipitated my fall was the need to return a pair of scissors to the desk drawer.  It seems I’m the only one in the house who is capable of returning anything to its proper place, and if I wanted to see those scissors in the future, it would be up to me to return them to where I could find them again.  I picked up said scissors—I don’t remember which hand they were in or which way they were pointed, but as I’m generally a careful person, they were probably pointed correctly.  As I started across the bedroom, the evil cord from the electric blanket on our bed reached out and grabbed my right foot.  The next thing I knew, I had face-planted on the hardwood floor and stabbed myself in the left ear with the scissors.  I wasn’t even running with scissors!  I knew it had to be bad since the sound of my body slamming into the floor actually roused my twelve year old son away from his Wii game to come see what happened.

“Are you all right?” he in fact asked. There might have even been the tiniest tinge of concern in his voice.  However, it was probably more geared toward hoping I said I was perfectly fine so he could get back to his game.

“No,” I panted.  “Look and see if my ear is bleeding.”  Having had extensive experience with cut ears in my animal patients, I know they bleed like stuck pigs.  I could just visualize a scene that resembled something out of a hacker movie.  If so, I was done for, as I can’t stand the sight of human blood, especially mine.  (I know, I know, I treat grisly animal emergencies and do surgeries for a living. Human blood is different, trust me).  As it was, I was feeling rather queasy from having the wind knocked out of me, shearing the skin off the side of my left hand, and the pain of stabbing myself in the ear.  The only good thing in this whole episode was the pullout shelves on the desk were shoved in, as my head would have made kindling out of them on the way down.  As it was, my head missed the desk by about an inch.

Two seconds later, my husband called to tell me he was on his way home from work.

“Answer the phone,” I instructed my clueless son, who stood there staring at me, letting the phone ring.

He answered and told his father I couldn’t come to the phone because I was lying on the floor where I fell.  Of course my husband immediately demanded to talk to me, so I panted and gasped out the whole story to him.

“Is your ear bleeding?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I whined.  “I’m afraid to look at it.”  Or even touch it, for that matter. For all I knew, my whole ear was lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

“Well get something and—”

“Just come home!” I cut him off and disconnected.

Somehow, by the time he got home, I had made it off the floor and onto the bed.  My son was back playing Wii.  The sensation that I was going to faint had pretty much gone away, and my face was no longer ashen and covered in cold sweat.  Although I felt beat up, I realized I wasn’t seriously hurt.

“Well, I’ve done it,” I complained to my husband.  “I’m now officially one of those old people who falls.  At least I didn’t break my hip.”

“You didn’t fall,” he pointed out.  “You tripped.  There’s a difference.”

“You’re right!”  My attitude brightened.  “I’m not old.  I’m just a klutz!”