I remember the first time I fell, before I was diagnosed. I had just awakened, walked two steps, then suddenly fell on my face. I couldn’t figure out how or why this happened. When I started my day kissing the carpet a second time, I looked around to see what I may have tripped over, finding nothing.
After the third morning nose dive, I managed to pull myself up by grabbing onto the dresser. Still puzzled as to why I kept falling, I struggled down to the floor on my hands and knees, thinking maybe whatever I tripped over wound up under the bed or the dresser.
Not finding anything, I hoped this clear path would prevent a subsequent face flop. The next time I found myself without warning on the floor, I finally realized I had tripped over my own feet! My foot dropped so that my toes and the top of my foot became snagged on the carpet, then down I went. It took a while to figure this out because I have lost some feeling in my toes and the top of my feet, due to nerve damage from CMT.
Since finally being diagnosed at age 47 with CMT1A, I have fallen several times. Once when making my way through the airport security line, because I cannot walk without my shoes. I toddled through the metal detector without loosing my balance and was closing in on my shoes when bam, suddenly I’m sprawled face first on the dirty airport floor.
I peek up and see a little boy standing by my head peering down at me. I immediately feel guilty because I said, “Oh shit” before seeing him. As his mother takes her son’s hand and just walks right over me without even asking if I’m OK, I wondered why my husband wasn’t still in line behind me, coming to my rescue.
Spare change in his pant’s pocket set off the alarm. So, as he emptied his pants, the selfish, uncaring women barged ahead. I imagine she must have been really late for her flight to set such a poor example for her son, ignoring someone who falls right in front of her.
Another scary episode occurred while on vacation in Aruba. Reluctant to accessorize my new sun dress with my cumbersome leg brace, I thought I could manage a short walk to and from the restaurant wearing my sturdy Birkenstocks sandals. I was wrong.
While attempting to cross the road, I tripped, pirouetting midair so that I landed flat on my back like a turtle with my arms and legs in the air. An oncoming car screeched to a halt just two feet away from running me over. I, however, was focused on the diners seated on the sidewalk looking up my dress.
My most recent fall embarrassed me last night at my husband’s company “Winter Wonderland Celebration.” After dancing to a few tunes, (I call it dancing, although it’s more like clinging onto my husbands hands, while trying not to tip backwards as I shuffle my feet along the dance floor) I held his hand as we walked back to our table.
Suddenly I felt someone behind me, their arms catching me as I tipped over. Attempting to help whoever came to my rescue, I struggled to regain the use of my legs, which trembled just like when I leg-press more than 50 pounds.
Now, I know it is futile to hope that I won’t continue falling, however I may finally be ready to stop being so silly and vain. Who decides that leg braces and sneakers don’t go with little black dresses anyway.
- Winter boots for freaky feet? (ask.metafilter.com)
- 10 of the Most Outrageous TSA Horror Stories (rawjustice.com)