Saturday, 19 March 2011

Ch1: ... And Falling Over

"When someone with Muscular Dystrophy falls over," someone tells me, "they fall on their face." "Whatever fall," another says, "and plah! like an alligator!" Falling over is not a simple business. The way you fall, what you hurt, and where you're left afterward are very important.

And it's a bit more complicated than these people (and I) thought. Each person -- with Muscular Dystrophies or not -- as well as walking in a different way, falls in a different way. Some people are falling over things on the pavement, others lose their balance, others trip over their own feet. Some certainly fall and hit their head, unable to brace their fall by landing on their knees or arms or arse. Other people fall to their sides, other people fall backwards.

I used to fall and hit my head. But while I was growing up I learned to collapse on my knees and stop hitting my head quite so often. Some other people do similar things, being able to brace with their arms. Clara (who has cerebral palsy) says she can't: she falls in "fast-forward". Her friends that can manage to brace themselves are people that fall in "slow-motion".

Gabriela remembers a fall from when her Muscular Dystrophy was first developing. She was crossing a busy road, in the middle "with a dozen eggs under one arm", she tripped, "I think on my own feet" and fell forwards. "I broke the eggs, they turned into an omelet." Her "luck" as she puts it was that she was near her home, and there was someone who came and stopped the oncoming buses.

Here, her relation with the road and the buses became as scrambled as her eggs. But she continued in the place she'd chosen to cross the road (not at a crossing) and with the people who were nearby. The possibility of falling can be influential in choosing where and how you live and go places, and likewise who you do those things with. It's one of the reasons you might have to start using a wheelchair.

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