Fall is my favorite season, my least favorite activity. Yet I cannot stop the drop down. Generally, I do not bite the dust like a tree, though usually there is someone around to hear it. For me, the descent is strange, a slow motion collapse that cannot be stopped. My legs give out. I grab onto a chair, towel rack, anything that seems sturdy and strong. But I know the die is cast. My legs can carry me nowhere.
I crumple, falling on top of myself. My MS will not allow me to reposition my legs on time, to extend them away from my toppling body. So I just fall on them, wherever they are, whatever position they are in. Last night, I caught a knee is a vulnerable position, pinned down on a hard floor. The pain was exquisite. Remember Chester on Gunsmoke? That’s me. And Mr. Dillon is nowhere to be seen. Where is a sheriff when you need one?
It used to be different, a graceful but public event. I wrote about it in an online column for AARP: The Magazine:
My body stretches forward in perfect flight, parallel to earth, with arms outstretched as if to grab the air. Launch has been involuntary, and the landing pad is a sidewalk or street, busy with pedestrians or vehicles on the move and unkind cracks that sent me flying in the first place. Grace is gone, lost with a thud and a gasp, with personal effects that seem to tumble down gradually from space.
This is my life, Kitty Hawk revisited, primitive flight. At least the Wright brothers had a goal, a dream to work toward. All I want is to stay on earth, feet planted surely on the ground. Illness has its own plan and the power of lift-off. I cannot control the disease process overtaking me and choreographing my every misstep and crash landing.
The public humiliation got to me. The incident always was humiliating. But at least I could make my unnecessary apologies, dust myself off and move on. Times have changed. Falls seem to come at home, usually when I am alone. I am not going to apologize to the dog, at least in this lifetime. When Meredith calls often enough and no one answers, I know I can expect a friend or policeman to drop by.
I guess MS has improved my social life. But at those times, I sure do want to be alone.