Injuries take a lot longer to heal when you’re over 60 3



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Don’t injuries, even minor ones, take an awfully long time to get better? Several weeks ago I was unlucky enough (no, that should be stupid!) to trip over a garden edging on a friend’s flower bed, when leaving to return home after Jacqui and I spent an evening there. Alright it was night time and very dark, and (this is the stupid part) I was wriggling through the narrow space between the offending garden edge and my car, when my foot got caught and I went flying! It turned out to be a very short flight of about a metre, during which all manner of thoughts raced through my mind, the major one being, “PLEASE! Not my hip!” One reads such a lot these days about old timers like me falling, breaking a hip and being dead within a fortnight, though I guess I really shouldn’t have worried too much; I had a major bone density test a month ago and after she had completed it the girl operator reckoned mine was so good that if I fell on a concrete path I would most likely crack the concrete rather than any of my bones!

Anyway, on the night it happened I felt I was suffering from shock more than injury – there was just a little pain coming from my ankle, but there was a lot of pain in my dignity, especially as Jacqui, and our friend Enid had to help me back up onto my feet, or I would most likely have been stuck there all night, with nothing to hold onto, to lever myself to the upright position!

Surprisingly, for the first couple of days the ankle caused me very little trouble, a bit sore certainly but no swelling, discoloured skin or anything like that. And regarding these visible symptoms that is the way everything remained, apart from a mild swelling in the foot and part way up the shin. But inside the limb I was in considerable pain, which seemed to move, from day to day – now in my ankle bone, later in the back of my shin, another time further down my foot, towards my toes.

And that is pretty well the way things stayed until yesterday. I should insert here the note that I didn’t consult my doctor through all this, not because I was scared, but I just didn’t want to bother him over a minor thing like a strain, minor that is, apart from the fact that I could barely walk, and spent a large part of my time on the living room settee, much to Jacqui’s quiet disgust! Anyway, yesterday there was a sudden improvement – the ankle was still sore but at least I could walk on it again, albeit with a bit of a limp, but I was feeling so much better that I stopped taking the paracetamol tablets I had been using and that in itself felt like some sort of victory for me. Today I feel even better, with most of the pain gone, so that now I feel I am really close to full recovery, something I thought was never going to happen, a few days ago!

This little escapade reminded me of the time I had my tonsils out (for the second time), when I was 20 and serving in the RAF. After that operation my throat was so sore I could eat nothing for 11 days, except scrambled eggs and Guinness – not a bad diet really, but one I could have enjoyed more without the sore throat! It then occurred to me that my recovery then took about the same time as my recent adventure in the garden, which leads me to suppose this must be a pretty well normal recovery time for minor injuries. The average body obviously has a set procedure for recovering itself from any trauma, and I doubt that any interference on my part, like going to the doctor, would really have made a lot of difference to the ‘schedule’ stored in my brain.

Isn’t nature a wonderful thing?!

Share your thoughts below.

Brian Lee

  1. I would like to make a slight alteration to my above story! It all happened two months ago and I STILL have my ankle strapped up, so the thought that I might be over it in 11 days proved to be false. After a couple of weeks I had the area scanned and an x-ray and it turned out I had a chipped bone in the heel and a couple of injured tendons as well, so it was a little bit more serious than I at first thought. In retrospect I should have gone to my doctor much sooner – the trouble is, I’m a bit of an independent old codger and I don’t like bothering people unnecessarily – in this instance, SILLY ME!

  2. Independent old codger, indeed. Clumsy as well! Easy to have a dopey accident like that, Brian. I fell off a step only about 8 inches high from my son’s verandah and hit the dust with a broken ankle. Embarrassing and painful, especially when my son had to transport me to the car on the furniture trolley! Six weeks in a plaster cast, and now I am super careful about where I put my feet! We old codgers don’t bounce like we used to!

  3. Typical old codger My late husband was your age and woulg not go to the doctor with a sore toe He ended up having it amputated
    That was the start to his downhill run. At our age nothing is too minor not that I am at the doctor more than necessary

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