Help! I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up

My neighbor, in her early seventies, went out of our cul de sac in an ambulance the other day for the second time in a month.

She is caught in a spiral of medical problems that is showcasing the downside of living alone.  Since I live alone, I look at her and wonder, “Shall I be as resistant to the obvious when my time comes?”

Or, shall I be one of those who steps up to reality, and says, “Check me in, sister, to this no zone and “no” I don’t play bridge or bingo.”

None of us plan on being dependent whether we are alone or with our partners.  But, the statistics are there.  We end up dependent on others whether in our own home or in a “facility’ that always has the word “golden” or “sunrise” in it.

The fog horn is bleating in the distance as that ambulance circles the center island on the way out, lights flashing on my kitchen walls.

I have a choice.  Think about it some more or go take a photograph that shall go along with this post which I’m filing under “Fear, The Series” and “Anxiety 2.0, the Series”.

In 1987, Mrs. Fletcher first appeared in a TV ad for LifeLine, a call button senior citizens who lived alone could wear to summon emergency services.  Her cry for help “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” became a comedy classic and used as a metaphor for many situations.

I am laughing at Mrs. Fletcher no more.  Well, maybe just a little.

View Mrs. Feltcher HERE

©Pat Coakley 2009


10 comments on “Help! I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up”

  1. well said, and the photo is dry wit funny. i wonder about all that too, but then i dont because it isnt here now, and i have this strange thing about not wanting to plump my brainwaves with scary potentialities. the old law ‘how you think makes it happen’ but then i acquiesce that some things happen regardless of how i think (or maybe not!)

    • Tipota, I think your wise eyes see all things no matter their age and I can only imagine that you would be the old person on the block that children would be wanting to visit! That I feel sure about.

  2. A dreadful look at the reality of aging, health care and separated families.

    Depending on what side of ” 30 ” one found oneself, certain mottos or song titles seemed appropriate.
    The younger side of thirty found me nodding in recognition with The Who, as they sang ” I Hope I Die Before I Get Old “.

    Just when did that morph into ” Youth is Wasted on the Young”?

    And now my husbands’ 94 year old mother proclaims that ” Getting old ain’t for sissies “!

    I hear that, Reba.

    • Bonnie, I can tell you when the song morph took place for me: when I watched my father die. I think they call it a paradigm shift. Tectonic inner plates grind and move and suddenly Spring is not longer just a season but a necessity.

  3. Mobility is something that we take for granted until we loose it. Slowly but surely my mortality makes itself known to me. When I asked the doctor about the pain in the joints of my left thumb, his casual reply was, oh that’s probably arthritis, it’s just a part of getting older.

    To add insult to injury, about a year later I had my first bout of gout (I can’t eat prawns anymore) and I came into contact with what it’s like when one looses their mobility (I couldn’t walk for a week).

    These are previews of old age I could’ve done without and I’m not looking forward to the main feature. As a matter of fact it reminds me of the sense of dread I used to get as I waited outside the headmaster’s office before I was caned. The worrying and fretting never helped but I did learn to endure.

    • Oh, Razz, I’m trying to imagine you unable to walk and it’s not a pretty sight. I imagine crockery flying prior to learning how to endure it. I’d probably throw my remote control clicker and make it worse!

  4. Great photo to illustrate the prospects for those of us old enough to see the other side of the hill. There are those who say one must “plan for” their dotage, and others who feel the pessimism and assumptions involved in such planning will only bring the dotage on prematurely. It’s hard to say what one “should” do, other than approach the inevitable changes of life with curiosity and interest.

    • You know, don, you are right! If I could approach myself objectively with curiosity and interest (and not judgment and fears) I’d probably see a bit more clearly. I’m going to try it. Thanks!

  5. I spend far too much time thinking about things like this. In part because my car-damaged knee has forced me to reconcile myself to a different level/quality of mobility, and also as I worry that I’m already too old to be thinking about raising a baby (how on earth would I run around after a toddler?).

    Sorry for your neighbor. That’s a pretty stark reminder. I, too, wonder if I’ll fight the obvious or accept with some level of grace …

    • I worry about losing whatever grace I have, Renee. And, thinking about it beforehand really doesn’t help…but, it’s like an accident on the road…some can avert their eyes; others cannot. From your blog, my guess is that a level of grace will be within your grasp at whatever age, whatever infirmity

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