Saturday, September 21, 2019


It was after two tough weeks of working on the apartment.  Of course, the first reliable big-hospital opinion I saw on knees buckling assured me that a knee buckling could lead to falling.  (I knew that. But ...but...)  Okay, it could.  I'm very gently exercising the muscles that support my kneecap, avoiding standing too long on hard surfaces,  trying not to prove anything by carrying too many groceries too far, too fast.  And I keep the cane with me in case of in case.  Fact:  I haven't been very religious about exercises my Pth knows that I know.  If it ever stops thundering and rain storming, I will see the doctor about this.

Remember, if you got any medical advice from this blog it would be:  Tell your doctor about everything.  I wish you health.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

FALLING Don't Shoot the Throw-rug

 Rug story:    
During WW2,  Mom and Grandma sewed badly-worn clothes into long strips and sent them to a woman who made throw rugs.  We needed several for our kitchen and its long hallway.  
Two women and sometimes Daddy doing all kinds of work with scrub water and dangerous boiling water from cooking, and steaming water from pressure cooking. There was danger.  And then I learned to cook. Why do I tell you this?
Because no one fell down. 

Why not?   What worked?  
Usually sensible adults…  
Mostly, they had fewer distractions, no tv, phone on wall, one radio on each floor. Wet linoleum had newspapers on it to avoid slipping. No dogs in house.

Big safe feature: carpet in the rest of the  of house including stairs , and sturdy rubber mats on basement stairs and in the laundry and chicken-cleaning room. 

Then the world invented new hazards. TV in so many places you might sit on it by accident.  Stuff we want is in pictures on the new phone.  New, pretty (and sometimes slick) floors in kitchen and bath. Shoes;  Comfy (maybe), pretty, desirable but rarely safe shoes for ­­­­both sexes worn all day for everything.  
 We are moving oftener, for jobs or better schools, or whatever.  So rugs may be practical.
In the last 15 years, no apartment was desirable without nice wood or faux wood floors, despite noise from rooms with area rugs (including noise of people falling.)     
Nobody checks  pretty floors for safety. Luckily, my apartment has carpet.  

                                       SO HOW DO WE AVOID FALLING?

At my request, my MD found a very detail-oriented Physical therapist who first tested to make sure I have the levels of balance to help protect from falls everywhere at home. He was strong enough to catch me when I barely passed the test. Then he cheeked even stepping off curbs en route to the coffee  shop. .)  By the way, I was trained in acute rehab for stepping off curbs; if we don’t practice, we have to learn again.
He walked with me, even on a grassy area to see how I do.  (I would like more work like that, since some grass area is lumpy between me and Starbucks  
He also checked my gait.  (You need someone who KNOWS how to do that, not just someone who works in a foot doctor’s office.)  My gait varies a lot so I need to (have to say it) practice and pay attention to it.

My REFLEXES are surprisingly good.   Any idea how yours are?

SHOES Guys are silly as women about shoes.  I no longer wear heels – a slight  wedge on my Clarks.(once, a senior female relative pitched a noisy fit in a store about giving up fashion heels.)  Don’t be her.

    We listen if someone tells us we’re not being careful.­­   We can learn to pay attention as we  move around.

It isn't easy.  It doesn't feel young and capable.  We have to.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019


If you live in a building big enough to have those cords on the bedroom and bath walls so you can pull to summon police, or firemen, did you ever need to pull one?

I've never had to use one, but recently three people have given me two insights to share:
First, seeing my apartment,one remarked that the cords were in bedroom and bath, yet I spend 80  or 90 per cent of my time in the big living room, with no cord.

Two more told me they only put the cord in the tub, which is the one place I might not only fall, but not be able to get up

The next night, in the kitchen, my knee buckled for the first time in years.  It was a little shaky for a couple of days, so I felt dependent on the cane.

When mild exercise doesn't help, and I need a shampoo, I know where to put that cord!

I wish you health.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


I rarely fall, but sometimes I'm clumsy, or think my balance is worse than it is, or...

 This UPI Health News made me stop and think, and : remember

"Some medications, driving are dangerous duo" by HealthDay News

I had to search in upi to find this article again under "driving." but I suggest you look it up if you're interested in the driving side of side effects.

" some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can cause side effects that make it unsafe to drive," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns."

As I see it, The partial list of what these meds can do, has DON'T WALK Even at home written all over it. 

" side effects can include

blurred vision,
slowed movement,
inability to focus or pay attention
nausea and excitability."     

They note that some meds wear off quickly, and others not til the next day.  That's helpful for driving, but maybe we fall most often at home. How do I know which is which?  I have to ask or look it up.

I had bad drowsiness years ago with codeine pills for  cleansing grains in my eye.  Had to set down the phone and lie down in the hall.  My LA doctor said once you've had such a problem, you could have  same years later!  So...I have a note at the top of my meds list "no codeine."  

fell a few years ago here in Texas, as I may have mentioned, after taking 1/3 of an Rx muscle relaxer .  So they are another warning at top of my meds list.

And, I write:" average dose of some medicines are TOO strong for me.  People of different ages have different needs sometimes.

Please tell me you have any warning you need at the top of your meds list.  And please tell me you HAVE a meds list for your doctors.  That way the Dr. may discuss falling with you.  Don't let an assistant dump all this under allergy.

Oh, and my friends confessed cutting allergy pills in half, and I confess I do, too, since they affect my dry eye as well.

So many drugs, so many dangers including falling!

The main thing I do for possible side effects including falling:

I look up the pill he suggests on line, from some real doctors medical group or major hospital I trust, and write down any side effects that might make me get careless, stumble, or fall.  
I don't have a good source for how long it takes after I take it for a pill to be safe against falls.

 There is a pharmacist I trust here, but he is often on anther shift.

 So I read that huge warning list that they stuff in the bag with the pill bottle!

I wish you health.

I also 
Most people I know seem to know that allergy pills can make us drowsy--I idn't really think much about it until lately.  But my doctor mentioned a couple I took years ago.  When I tried on here in my o livinwng room, I turned to my left to pick something off my desk, and had to grab a chair - instant dizziness!   

several friends and one relative now cut a popular allergy pill in half.  Confess I secretly do that, too.

You and I know by now what can happen 

How do I know which one is really dangerous for Me/  And HOw dangerous.

Maybe you stay at home if you only know which ones make you sleepy. 
Sleepy enough to forget about that pretty littel bathroom rug?  Should it be replaced with a big, safe real bath mat?  The good ones arent so eacy to slide around on, and I know mine is right there by tub and toilet.  I need one, though, that's hard to wrinkle up when I wake at night.

And I do use my cane at night when I've been asleep and no bright lights are on.  

Have to restrict myself to the bottom step of my "step stool" because the top step is just in the wrong place and has nothing to hang onto. Some people tell me to brace myself against the cupboard on that one, but.....NO.

Several meds are on my med list I give the doctor.  At the top are my warnings to doctor that at some time I have had trouble with them,
 the nurse or assitant asks twice or 3 times if I am allergic to them.  I should SPELL it out: 
" this stuff made me dizzy,:  : I fell after taking this med once," fell asleep once after taking it, 
faintness, dizziness, drowsiness. I fainted for a minute on this med.".

 Not to mention what else we do during the day, (or night.P

Saturday, July 27, 2019

FALLS: You? Me? Why some fatal?

A wonderful showhouse, a nice, warm evening reception.  Wine, music, the whole thing.  I had been invited at the last minute to ride along.  Grabbed my purse, keys, all but one thing: a drink of water.

We mingled, admired rooms, picked a favorite, had some wine, of course.  Then, returning to  the ca,; I knew I was going to fold gently down onto the sidewalk.  The fire dept was summoned, the fireman gave me a bottle of water, told me not to get up until I drank the whole thing. Emergency over.  

Was that a fall?  Is sliding down onto the bathroom floor after a third of a muscle relaxant pill a fall? 

Falls, I always thought, are big, sudden things I do not want.  Still have a bit of gravel in one knee from learning to ride a bike in a gravel driveway.Those were falls.  In adulthood, decided not to learn to ski. 

Still afraid I might fall.  Is this curb too high for these shoes?

 On line, I see everybody is hellbent to be the Best  Experts on falls for OlderAdults. (Could the big $ profit  on "helper gadgets" have something to do with this?)   

Sometimes it really can be as simple as a drink of water, which, as whole countries check in with over-100 temps, many people may not get in time.

I decided to find out why older persons are racking up all those falls with accompanying broken bones or even death.  Along the way, readers please give me your experiences.  

Meanwhile, get Mom or Dad or yourself a dependable thermos or a water bottle.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Leftover Tamoxifen, My Doctor, and me

Because of prescription dates, I had a jar or two of Tamoxifen left over on the last day of the five years.  I hate waste, so I asked the doctor if there was someone who needed the rest of the pills.

Suddenly I got an unwelcome shot of reality.  "Throw them away.  They're cheap." he said.  He looked me in the eye and added firmly, "Do you know one pill for cancer can cost $9.00?"

Suddenly we were in two different worlds.  I'd heard astonishing prices for any cancer medication;  Far more than $9.  Far more than I would be able to pay..

I also knew the cost of those last bottles of Tamox.was noticeable on a retirement budget and Medicare. Affordable at that price for people near me?  It didn't really feel cheap.
 And what about women who need Tamox along with other meds?

We're all (I hope) a little more aware of Rx costs because of the desperation of people needing Insulin.   And my measles test (not immune) and the shot that I did need.  Yes, I think I'm still paying.
These are tough time for other people, too.. Someone has attempted to forge my identity for her heart treatments.

So is it silly to pass along Tamoxifen?

I still secretly have some left. What are your thoughts?