April 12, 2014

K Is for Klutz

Klutz:  a person who often drops things, 
falls down, etc.; a clumsy person. 

And that would be me. 

From the time I was a little kid, I was the "accident prone" one in the neighborhood. Went through a glassed-in porch on roller skates (sliced my underarm and poked a hole in my skull), picked up an old-school fan and almost sliced off my thumb, and the really good one, ran both arms through the washing machine ringer. That one came within a half inch of losing the use of one arm and created a forest of blood clots (before drugs for drying those puppies up). I had to walk slowly, not move much, and just sit around and read a book for almost eighteen months because there was a fear the clots would travel to my brain or heart. I was five.  

As I grew, things slowed down a bit. Until I was fourteen. That was the summer I was horsing around a swimming pool with friends, slipped on the concrete, and broke my left ankle. (This one had long-term repercussions as it was the base injury that years later ended my hopes of continuing to dance at an elite level.) 

You would think that with all the dance classes I was taking that I would become less prone to crashing and burning. Nope. As a dancer, you are taught to have great posture, including holding your head up. This means that you don't see what is down there closer to the ground. I tripped over pavement, clipped bits and pieces of furniture on a regular basis, and my pièce de résistance — falling as I was going UP the stairs.

All of this was compounded by being injured in two separate car accidents, twenty-five years apart. In both, I was stopped for a light, and the car behind "spaced it" and rear-ended me. The spine injuries and nerve damage for some reason made my klutziness even more pronounced. Terrific. Just what I needed. I have face-planted on the streets of London, in my own home, in the garden, and coming down the front steps of our house in Portland. Good thing I tend to heal fast.

Ankles seem to be the weak link, overall. I even fell and sprained both at once, which truly amused the Urgent Care staff. On the other hand, the doctor said I could take comfort in the fact that I probably didn't have any form of osteoporosis as I rarely break much beyond the offended area.

My latest "event," however, was one of my best. I was in Lima with my buddy Allison. We were getting ready to check out of one hotel and move over to an even fancier one (part of a prize I won), when my ankle popped and I hit the decks. Took out my entire right side when I landed, including seriously spraining the ankle and doing some major bruising of muscles and ligaments in my right arm. On the other hand, I managed to slide my iPad along the floor. It wasn't damaged at all.

That bruise was a real pip — black, not purple, from shoulder to elbow; I still have residual bruising . Didn't stop us from having a good time, though. Allison is unflappable (and has nurse's aide training), and I am too pissy to allow pain and agony to completely ruin our time together. She snagged the hotel wheelchair, and off we went.

And we were staying at the newish Westin in Lima, home of some of the best food I have had in years. Wasn't too much of a hardship to eat at that hotel, that's for sure.

Bottom line: Always have your accidents at a 5-star hotel. They have people. And equipment. And really good restaurants.

NOTE: I have spent the last month doing physical therapy exercises and generally trying to get over this latest attack of klutzitis. It's going slowly, but things are improving. However, I have decided that I have entered the realm of ugly shoes and at least a light ankle brace. This is going to make me one mean old broad.


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  1. Well, thank dog the ipad was okay! Lol. I think sensible shoes and an ankle brace sound like the friendly thing to do for your body.

    Sad how injuries sustained in youth can cause problems as we age. My hubby has lots of foot trouble, but the trouble is far more serious on the foot he injured badly in football at age 15. No one did much reconstructive surgery back then, just a cast, but the bones cause pressure points now.

    1. I hear that. I didn't even mention the ballet-related injuries that add to the mix. And that ankle break at age 14 -- today there would have been reconstructive surgery because it was a triangular break. Just a cast back then.

  2. That's a heck of a list of injuries! Well written and a good read. Hope you get well!

    1. Healing commences. Almost back to normal. Thanks.