I've always been clumsy. And I bruise easily. When I was a child, my mother worried that people would think she was beating me, 'cause I was always covered in bruises. Just about every picture of me in the family photo albums showed little black and blue knees, and often a black and blue forehead. (She also worried that people would think she was drugging me, as my pupils were and still are bigger than normal. Yeah, my mom worries way too much about what people think.) I'm sorry to report that grace has not come with age.
Let's look back over some of the more spectacular falls, shall we?
Summer before last, I tripped over a lawn mower in my driveway. It was behind me. I didn't know it was there; it hadn't been there shortly before. It was the old, tired mower that I was getting rid of. I think it had it out for me. At any rate, I was suddenly falling, falling...one of those endless falls that seems to go on for hours. I couldn't get my feet underneath me, I couldn't figure out why I was falling and I was powerless to stop it. I landed on my outstretched arm, and knew instantly it was bad. My parents were there (having just delivered a shiny new mower as a gift) and rushed over yelling "Is anything broken?" I just raised my pitiful head off the driveway and said "Yes." I knew without a doubt that my arm was broken. I sat up and started cursing. "Damn it, I have rehearsal starting in a couple of days." (For a musical, no less.) "Damn it, I won't be able to drive my car." (I have a stick.) "GODDAMMIT, I don't have health insurance." (Note my priorities. My first fear is that I won't be able to do the show--not that I'll be paying hospital bills for the next 15.67 years.) Long story short, the arm was BADLY broken, required surgery to insert a plate, followed by physical therapy, I'll be paying the hospital bills for years, I borrowed my brother-in-law's car for the summer, and I was able to do the show, choreography and all, and received an excellent review. The arm still aches when the weather changes, and I have a really cool scar. That's probably the most dramatic fall of recent years.
When I was 13, I fell off a galloping horse, onto the very same outstretched hand and broke the same wrist I broke in the lawn mower incident. That time it took several grueling hours to set properly, but then I toodled around all summer with a cast on and never really gave it a second thought. The cast came off, and off I went. No physical therapy required. Ah, how things change when you age. Advice for everyone over 40: don't break any bones. It's much harder to heal than when you were a kid.
When I was 6, I fell off my bicycle, but that really had less to do with my clumsiness, and more to do with a bearing falling out of the front wheel. I face-planted on the side of the road, knocking myself unconscious. When I came to, I dragged myself back home, my face a bloody mess of road rash, and scared the hell out of my mother when I came through the door. I was rushed to my doctor's office (he was also my great uncle) and I'm told that when my aunt (his nurse) asked if I would like a Dr. Pepper, I plaintively asked "Who's he?" I have no knowledge of that, or of most of that day, actually, due to the concussion that kept me housebound for several weeks. One of my aunts brought me great stacks of books each week from the library, so I really didn't mind at all, little bookworm that I was.
Generally my falls don't require medical intervention, and some of them have been pretty darn funny. Like the time I went to visit my best friend, who was living in an upper story apartment at the time. I got out of my car, promptly tripped on the concrete parking marker and started to fall. It was was one of those falls that lasts forever only because you keep catching your balance and then losing it again. I jerked and twisted and travelled several feet before I finally came to rest (rather gracefully, actually) on one knee. My friend burst out the door, in a panic--he had seen my contortions out the window, and thought I was having a seizure. Hee.
I've ricocheted around my kitchen trying not to step on my dog, bruising myself on each hard surface as I went. I've tripped going both up and down stairs (once managing to give myself a black eye. How, you ask? No idea.). I've slipped in the shower, bruising myself on the edge of the tub and thanking God I didn't break a hip. (How completely humiliating would that be? Lying naked on the bathroom floor, perhaps ripping the shower curtain down to cover myself, waiting for help to arrive. Which would probably take a while, since I live alone and none of my animals seems to have Lassie-like rescue powers.) I've taken one to the tailbone after making the mistake of trusting a much-shorter-than-me actor when he said, "Just fall back, I'll catch you." I've stepped offstage onto a small box serving as a temporary step, only to have the small box slide to the side--I didn't fall that time, but that one reaaaallly long step twisted my knee badly and kept me in a brace for the run of the show.
You get the picture. I'm accident-prone, to say the least. I probably should just plead a permanent concussion, and lay on the couch reading books. Sounds like a vacation to me.