What pisses me off: My two left feet 3

What pisses me off


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I’m pissed off with my two left feet.

My co-ordination has never been good. As a child my mother used to say I had weak ankles and that is why I was forever falling over. I was the scabby kid, who whether there was something small to fall over or not, ended up hitting the dirt. My dream was to be a ballerina, a tightrope walker or a gymnast. Never to be. The swan in Swan Lake died much sooner than expected, the tightrope balancing act never got off the ground so to speak and the dream of being a gymnast died after that first cartwheel and concussion. Oh to be like those little ballerina girls with their tutus and perfect rhythm. Not gangly and clumsy.

One would think the awkward duckling would have grown to be a delicate swan. No such luck. I was put into team sports – namely tennis and netball. I was really hopeless at both, but had a good time in netball. We were in the lowest comp team possible and even had one girl who couldn’t catch a ball. It was a lovely social group and we never won a game. I managed to give another girl a black eye when we were practicing – we both stood up at the same time. It wasn’t the same after that. They seemed to stay away from me for some reason.

So, I went through my 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s tripping, dropping, walking into things and definitely not dancing, but was lucky that I had strong bones so no breaks up until my late 30s when I dropped a casserole dish on my foot and broke a toe. If I tripped I was able to right myself, usually. I never wore high heels – I have the height and really, me in high heels, would be an accident waiting to happen.

It is a totally different story now I’m in my 60s though. With pre-osteoporosis each fall seems to equal another fracture. I tripped over seaweed while walking the dog on the beach and broke a rib. I tripped in the street, put my hand out to stop the fall and broke my wrist. I think it is a brain thing as well, as the brain doesn’t register the trip as quickly as it used to so you hit the deck before you even know you have fallen. I amputated the middle finger of my left hand when I slammed a gate. I’ve also slipped on the bathroom floor twice, hitting my ribs on the side of the roll top bath as I’ve come down. The first time I broke three ribs, the second I broke the same three and another one for good measure. Rib fractures are the most painful things. I’ve fallen up stairs and I’ve fallen down stairs in the past year. I now make sure I hang onto the banister. I walk instead of rushing and make sure my heel goes down before my toe. I still manage to bump into things, but it has been three months since my last fall.

I was born clumsy. It might be in the genes – who knows? To be able to walk into room gracefully would be wonderful rather than make an entrance by falling on my face. So, even though I have much to be thankful for in life, it would have been nice if, when co-ordination was being handed out, I didn’t miss out.

Can you relate?

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Jeanette Southam

  1. oh yes i can relate, the last few years things have really got me wondering am i jinxed or wat , the end result so far is a lot of tendon /nerve /muscle damage and the possibility of needed hip work later on .

  2. I can relate to this story.. I’ve been diagnosed with mild CMT a type of hereditary peripheral neuropathy.. It explained my lack of coordination and I found it was good to know the reason for my clumsiness.

  3. STOP stealing my autobiography! I was called bumble foot and I could fall over a cigarette paper and still do. I have been to most of the outpatients clinics. As of Friday, I have started rehab! Not the usual physio though. They are going to see if they can a) walk a straight line, instead of looking like a drunken sailor. b) try to strengthen my right side, so I can walk up stairs! Should be a laugh a minute. If my mother couldn’t do it, well…
    So I sympathise with all of us who have wobbles and would oh, so like to people in the shin who say,”but you can stop yourself from falling just grab something”. It would be nice to take them down with me

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