Fear of Falling
November 09, 2008
I was extra cautious when I rode my bike to work in the rain on Friday. A few days of rain, drizzle and fog had left the fallen leaves slippery, and I didn't want to chance skidding if I had to brake suddenly.
I didn't used to be concerned about falling off my bike, although I've always watched for potholes and car doors opening in my path. But at 70, I feel more vulnerable.
Last October, I broke my hip in a bizarre (non-biking) fall caused by a person who cannot be named because I am married to him and I don't really blame him. The details of that nightmare are of interest only to me, but I still shudder when I think of the doctor in the emergency room telling me that I had a good chance of dying because of my broken hip. Not what I wanted to hear just then. However, it turns out that one in five people over 65 who break a hip do die within a year, often because they become inactive and are susceptible to pneumonia and other emotional and physical problems.
Coincidentally an article "Once Just an Aging Sign, Falls Merit Complex Care," appeared on the front page of my morning newspaper yesterday. It reinforced my belief that fear of falling is a good thing.
So is riding my bike.
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