I am rapidly becoming an expert in falls.

If given a choice my expertise would be in the area of waterfalls. Ideally I would know all there is to know about waterfalls — where they are all located around the globe, which are the tallest, which are the widest, which are the easiest to access, which are the most difficult to reach, when is the best time of day to view them and last, but certainly not least, which are the most photogenic.

Yes indeed I wish I had all that information rattling around inside of my balding head that I could access at a moment's notice as I planned a vacation that would enable me to witness one or more of them. Unfortunately, such is not the case. The type of falls about which I seem to be rapidly gaining knowledge are those that involve an individual going from an upright position to one sprawled on the floor.

The information regarding falls that I am amassing is courtesy of the Parkinson's disease with which I am afflicted and have shared about in this space on numerous occasions.

If I had to identify the type of fall that would be my "favorite" it would be the, "Was that really a fall?" tumble. In this situation I have fallen, but have fortunately landed on a soft piece of furniture.

After one such incident my wife, Nancy, who generally keeps track of all my loss-of-balance mishaps, suggested that one such flop, which found me landing in a well-padded recliner, should not even be counted as a fall since officially I did not hit the floor.

Another preferred type of mishap is the "Rapid recovery fall." In those instances I was fortunate enough to have landed on or near a stout piece of furniture upon which I could get back on my feet without needing to request assistance from someone.

Then there is the "Almost fall." These types of tumbles are quite rare because typically I either go down or I don't. However, recently I was either picking something up or putting something down in a chair when as I am prone to do, my body's transmission slipped into reverse. As I gained momentum back stepping I just knew at any second I was going to come in contact with Nancy's rocking chair. However, the two strong hands of my oldest son, Caleb, caught me and prevented me from crashing into anything.

We now advance into the potentially more serious types of falls, starting with the "Down and wait fall." These types of mishaps find me on the floor, unable to get myself up and with no one home to help me out of my predicament.

A couple of Sundays ago I experienced just such a fall. After going down I managed to move a few feet before exhaustion set in. I wound up spending approximately three hours on the floor before Nancy arrived home from work. However, despite her valiant efforts to get me at least up on all fours, as part of the process to help give me back on my feet, by that point I was so worn out that I could not assist her efforts to rescue me.

Nancy wound up calling our daughter, Anna, and her husband, Nick, who hustled over. Between their efforts and those of my bride, in fairly short order they had me in a chair.

As if that wasn't enough I experienced another "Down and wait fall" last Wednesday. Ironically, my tumble occurred just minutes after a family friend who had come over for two hours to sit with me had departed. After going down Wednesday I wound up spending an hour on the floor. With Nancy's assistance I was eventually able to get up.

The next fall is one that fortunately I have not yet experienced, but fear it is only a matter of time and that is the "Injury fall."

To be sure I have suffered bruises during previous tumbles. During the Sunday afternoon time that I spent on the floor I wound up with bloody knuckles from having tried repeatedly to get up. But in the "Injury fall" I will sustain what Nancy terms as "game-changing" injuries such as a broken arm or hip, or some type of head trauma.

That is what becoming an expert in falls has taught me.

Recommended for you