Down the Stairs

One of the things I do with this website is chronicle my aging process.  Last week was a big one.  It rained Thursday followed with a brief hailstorm.  The hail was mostly pea sized, but it came pretty hard for a few minutes.

I went outside to look at the damage (not bad), and came back in.  I headed downstairs with some urgency to get to the toilet.  My shoes were wet and I stepped on the front edge of the top step, the part without a nonskid strip.  My feet went out and somehow I ended up bouncing down the stairs face down and feet first.  It seemed to take a long time to go down one flight of stairs, cussing all the way.

I broke a rib on the left side of my chest, scraped both shins, bruised my right lower leg, and really whacked my left hip.  My hip grew a good-sized lump and my rib hurt like hell.  The rib may not be broken after all.  A few days later it feels a lot better.  My last excursion on the stairs resulted in two broken ribs on the left side of my back.  They hurt a lot longer than this one.

I spent a couple of days mostly in bed.  It was hard to walk with my hip and that rib hurt every time I coughed or laughed, not that I was doing much laughing.  Tylenol did nothing.  Tramadol helped quite a bit, but I don’t like taking very many.  My hip really objected going up the stairs.    Right foot on the stair, left foot up to the stair, rinse and repeat.  Now, I am pretty mobile.

I guess the incident could be described as shock and awe.  After several falls in 2015 I got several weeks of physical therapy which helped tremendously.  The therapist was good and fun to,work with, and I got a lot of balance back.  It seems as one ages, the tendency is to rely much more on visual cues for balance, not using the proprioceptor nerves in the feet or the inner ear.  The PT brought most of it back.  my additional task to be mindful at all times.

It turned out I may have some damage to the vestibular nerve v in my right ear.  I use hearing aids due to hearing damage when I was in the army.  Armies tend to make loud noises, and back then no attention was paid to hearing protection. The vestibular nerve carries auditory and balance signals to the brain.

When I turn right, especially in the dark, I get wobbly.  Lately the problem is a lot worse.  I have to brace every step on the way to the bathroom at night.  I’m going back to physical therapy.  The head therapist where I go says she can help with the vestibular nerve problem as well.  I wish physical therapy worked for tinnitus.

I am also headed out to the Disabled American Veterans office to look into having my service connected disability reassessed.  I have a 10% disability for tinnitus, and hearing loss as service connected with 0% disability.  It took five years of appeal to get the 0%.  It may work for me now.

About the Department of Veterans Affairs, I have always had good providers, but the bureaucracy is worse than the U.S. Army.  The waits are long as well.  I pretty much stopped using the VA because it was such a pain getting my Ritalin prescription for ADD refilled.  I guess I’m going back.  Ain’t aging fun?

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