I am not narcissistic to believe that only I can be investigated by the health services for underlying conditions after a fall resulted in a broken finger but I cannot help wondering if it mostly happens to people of retirement age, not 40 year olds.
I fall over a lot and have done for years. Hubby and Beautiful B have got to the stage where I can walk into the house with scuffed knees and palms and all I get is “How have you managed to trip over nothing again?”
I fall without the benefit of alcohol which at least reduces the risk of investigation for alcohol related conditions and I am sure that carelessness is not yet considered to be a medical condition. Neither is a potential weak ankle as it is my right one that momentarily goes on strike a lot; but that could equally be me not watching where I put my feet. The latter being dangerous because I once walked into a lamp post as I was looking in the wrong direction.
Alternatively I have twisted my ankle by not watching where I was putting my feet but I have to blame myself for that episode because as an 8 year old I thought it was clever to walk over a border with stones cemented in random patterns so that half of each stone stuck up. Clearly they were not meant for walking on but at least that day demonstrated that any thought of joining the circus should be dispelled immediately because clearly I wasn’t going to be any good at the high wire.
At work we have security boxes – you wave your pass across the front of it like a wand and there is no need to stand with your arms outstretched in front of the door shouting “Open Sesame”. Before the box I use are 3 steps and I am more then careful walking up and down them; after all, at least I can learn a lesson or two.
One particular day I walked carefully up the 3 steps and as usual did not trip up them but suddenly I was falling. In true Ribena style I couldn’t fall normally – oh no, I had to fall and realise I was falling having not remembered starting to fall just as I was about to land. I at least managed to try and stagger forward to catch myself only to scuff my knees and hands but also smack my head in the security readers post. Ignoring any injury or pain I quickly stood up and looked around to ensure that no-one had seen my mortifying attempt to stay upright.
That day we had a team meeting at work and more than one person asked if I was okay. Popping Tramadol at the back of the room I could be heard saying “Oh yes, it is just a sore little finger; very sore but its okay.” After all it had to take the weight of a baby elephant today. By the end of the day it wasn’t so sore and felt more bruised than anything else. Nice and swollen like a sausage for a week but not hugely (as one would expect if it was a serious injury) which to my delight resulted in the loss of ‘age’ lines on that finger I wasn’t complaining.
I walked around with the said 'bruised' finger for a week and managed to do all sorts of normal things with it and it did not feel overly sore. I did start complaining slightly when the swelling reduced and I had a nice straight and square bit stuck up above my knuckle. Sure it had not been like that before I entertained myself for hours randomly holding my finger out opposite my other little wrinkled finger and highlighting the differences to any random person; family or stranger that would listen to me.
After a day or so I went to the nurse in the family and Beautiful B cringed when she ran her finger of my bony bump and declared it not normal like the rest of me and sent me to the GP surgery who promptly scared the bejeezus out of me by saying it looked very much like I had torn the tendons because I couldn’t straighten my finger properly – what? I thought I just had a sticky up bit? And surely a torn tendon/broken whatever should be more painful than a bruised feeling? And please don't be telling me I will need physio on it because how stupid am I going to look excerising a little finger in a room full of people with 'legitimate' problems? Not that my mind over-reacts at such news - much.
At the same time, I kind of hoped for a broken bone because I have never broken a bone before and while I knew I couldn’t pick a pretty pink cast for a broken finger I could at last join the rest of the population is saying “Oh yes, I’ve broken a bone.” But I could say “It’s not that painful. Labour is worse; much worse. Mind you, with labour you get a baby out of it and hopefully not too many stretch marks (Beautiful B decided to give me millions of those!) but you don’t get the slightly drunken feeling from that injection they will give you during childbirth with a broken finger.”
Anyhoo, broken it was and I could concentrate on feeling slightly sick at the idea of having to wear a plastic splint on my finger that I couldn’t even take off for a shower by imagining all the germs and related crap that could fester there until I cleaned it once a day. I did not concentrate on how it happened until I went for a check up at week 3 when they asked how I fell and could only tell them “Well, one minute I standing up and the next falling with nothing in-between.” – “No, I did not trip up on anything.” “No, it was not uneven ground.” – “Yes I have fallen before.” – “Oh, I fall or trip on average at least once a month; that’s not a lot.” – “Oh, it is? okay, if you say so.”
A referral back to the GP to find out why I was falling resulted in blood tests – not sure why other than the requisite check for low iron; which I knew would come back normal. Okay, my blood pressure is a little on the low side but that is because of all the propranalol you give me to snaffle and one could argue an inherited low blood pressure gene from my gorgeous mother.
I continued not to be worried; after all my mind is usually anywhere but watching where I am walking so it is hardly surprising that I fall on average once a month; in fact, maybe instead of being concerned we should just be grateful. Though it did sit in the back of my head that isn’t it usually pensioners that are investigated for falls?
All of this just so happened to coincide with a repeat prescription. Safely sat in a chair minding my own business reading a book on my iPad I did not hear the pharmacist call for me until her third attempt. Of course I was happy to help her out with some research for her thesis - to do with migraines and seen as I have suffered from them since I was 15 some would say that I have tried every pill in that doctors bible of pills.
She checked that I understood what my repeat medications were for. That was evidence alone that she remembered my last prescription check when I confidently told her that one of the pills was my HRT only to discover that I do not take HRT (which would explain the hot flushes and night sweats – see what I mean; dizzy as….) and that the medication in question was for my nerves to try and reduce pain as a result of the slipped disc in my neck.
Getting to the propranalol the following conversation ensued:
P: What is the propranalol for?
Me: Originally to try and prevent migraines and has been the only prevention that has helped slightly but now taken to reduce anxiety because I worry about Beautiful B after she lost her father and sister.
P: What other preventative pills have you taken in the past?
Me: Oooh, too many to remember. You might as well give me the dictionary of pills, look up migraine and I will tell you the ones I haven’t tried.
P: So Propranalol works; how well does it work?
Me: Before the operation to gut my insides (at my request) it was reduced to 2 migraines a week on average; after the operation my migraines stopped completely. I got my first headache in 20 years about 3 months after my operation. Without bragging; it goes to show that hormones caused the majority of my migraines which I have been telling the Dr for 10 years.
P: That is fantastic! Do you think you could reduce the medication to 2 pills a day; instead of taking them morning, lunch and evening you could take them morning and evening and see whether your anxiety symptoms increase.
Me: More than happy to do that seen as I rattle like a packet of smarties.
P: (Lost track of what she was saying at this point as the cogs were beginning to turn).
Me: (After a couple of minutes) – So I am guessing by your suggestion with the Propranalol that I should space them out during the day and not take them all in the morning.
P: Please, please tell me you aren’t taking them all at once.
Me: Erm….depends how stupid a thing that is to do.
P: Ribena, what time do you take the pills?
Me: Quietly – around 5 - 5.30am.
P: and what time did you fall at work? (Obviously she had asked how I broke my finger when she first sat me down after seeing the rather ugly flesh coloured plastic splint).
Me: Even more quietly – just after 7am. (and here comes the excuse) But in my defence, I take them all at once because I get carried away at work and at home and forget to take them during the rest of the day.
P: You are likely falling because Propranalol works by slowing your blood pressure down; therefore Ribena, you are experiencing a massive drop of blood pressure when all 3 pills start to take effect at the time – that could be the reason for the fall.
Suffice to say I do not have any weird strange condition (as I kept saying) unless (and this should be seriously considered) scattiness and forgetfulness can be added to the official list of medical conditions. As you suspected; I have not fallen, tripped, stumbled or anything else since then (that is not counting any stumbling that I did while at CenterParcs but in my defence they weren’t my fault – they were the fault of uneven surfaces due to woodland things such as roots and Absolut Vodka!