Have you ever had the unpleasant experience of falling flat on your
face? If you did, don’t worry, that only makes two of us or perhaps
several others would join us if only they knew what it would mean. No,
I am not talking of the consequences of having a fall like breaking
bones, or ending up with bad bruises or gashes which no doubt are bad
enough but there is something else that makes it worse – the reaction
of so-called sympathisers around you, including doctors, sometimes.
The first time I fell having missed a step while returning from a play
late night, fortunately escaping with a groggy head due to the impact,
I was flattered to receive a number of phone calls to enquire how I
did. All along I was under the impression that only a VIP’s fall would
make news with their pictures appearing in leading newspapers. But
here my circle of friends and relatives appeared so concerned that
they wanted to know how I happened to fall. When I told them the
truth, they refused to believe me and preferred coming to their own
conclusions which were expressed accompanied by a large dose of
advice. Some thought it was because of my BP suddenly rising, others
felt it was because I was using the wrong powered specs and that it
was time I went for a change of glasses, yet others thought my sugarlevel must have gone down and I would have fallen because I feltdizzy. Needless to say my well-wishers’ sympathies and advice, insteadof acting as a morale booster, left me deflated with a feeling ofunwanted depression.
Recently, I had a fall, but this time it happened the day closer to mybirthday. I was taking my morning walk along with my neighbour in herbuilding complex. We were so engrossed in talking that I tripped overthe handle of the lid of a chamber and fell flat on my face, whichleft my face badly bruised and me completely shaken. I am sure you would like to know how my sympathisers “consoled” methis time. Since they had run out of the three possible reasons forthe fall, they came out with very “interesting” questions added withwell-meant advice, of course.
Was the chamber open? (I can’t imagine what would have been my fate if it was )Why didn’t you support yourself on your hands when you fell? (if onlyaccidents could happen with prior notice)Did you get up by yourself or needed help? (Does it matter?)The words of the doctor I rushed to immediately after the fall, wereperhaps the most “original” – he said, “Thank yourself that it didn’thappen on your birthday, otherwise you would be falling down the restof the whole year.
“The advice given by my well-wishers was that I should walk with myeyes down so that I would be watchful of my step and do one thing at atime, either walk or talk, not do both at the same time! – saneadvice, indeed, and it was not the first time I had heard it! But Iwonder if it would help a person like me, because when I tried tofollow the first bit of advice diligently while walking on the road, Inot only hit my head against a lamppost that came in my way but alsowas about to knock down a cyclist! As far as the second bit of advicewent, I found it even more difficult to put it into practice becauseminus the morning exchanges of news about the neighbourhood, walkingbecame a chore and a bore.
I am looking forward to some really sane advice which is not only practical but could be implemented as well!
N Meera Raghavendra Rao