Thursday, April 07, 2005


I'm reading the book "Learning to Fall" by the guy who died of ALS. It contains a lot of good truth, but I detect that the author is trying to convince himself of those truths. If you'll permit a bit of narcissistic back patting, I feel fortunate to live in the contented zone he's trying to sometimes attain. Biochemistry, I guess.

Speaking of learning to fall, I'm incredibly lucky I'm not in the hospital right now. Yesterday morning I was alone in the house with my son, bringing the jogger stroller up the stairs from the laundry room, in preparation for taking him to preschool. We have this plastic tarp on the floor there near the door to the laundry room, underneath the potty our daughter uses. A few months ago we prejudicially got rid of the one that was underneath her chair in the dining room, because I feared I might trip on it.

I tripped on the one under the potty. It must have been bunched up. My slower, weaker left foot caught on it. It would have been best if I had just let my legs go limp and had collapsed to the floor. A lesson learned. Learning to fall. Anyway, what really happened is that my good, stronger right leg came forward. But not quickly enough to stop me, just quickly enough to provide a fulcrum for my swiftly moving torso. I was headed straight for the corner where the wall meets the door. Not a protruding corner, a concave one. I suppose the reason I did not just collapse to the floor as I should have (not that I thought about it) was the water jug on the floor where I would have fallen. Maybe that pointy spout made my soma fear that my eye would get poked out. I just remember a brief flash of fear that I would run into it.

My quicker, stronger, right hand flashed out and struck the corner, which must have absorbed some part of the impact, since the heel of it was sore afterwards. The scary part is that my head smacked into that corner at the speed of a good sprint. Simultaneously, my left forehead struck the wall, and the right forehead struck the door. I felt the shock in my neck and through to the shoulders. In that instant of impact, I believed that my neck would break and my son would have to cope. I never played football, but it seemed liked losing your helmet and taking a head tackle from Ronnie Lott. OK, if it had been Ronnie Lott, I would be dead right now. But it felt like it.

My forehead left a grease mark on the wall at 45.25 inches up. That's 3.8 feet. I'm 5'11". I don't know what this tells us about velocity (F=MA), but maybe it indicates posture. The wall and door make a 90-degree angle. I appear to have hit exactly along the 45-degree angle between them, and the shock was distributed straight back along the 45-degree bisect, straight along my spinal column. I have marks on both sides of my forehead, and the skin on the bridge of my nose split a tiny bit. If I had hit at an angle I think my neck would have broken.

Anyway, due to incredible good fortune, and the miracles of physics and geometry, I did not break my neck but instead just had to sit stunned on the floor, not moving for a few minutes. "Ow..." my son said, sympathetically.

He put a Band-Aid across the small bloody spot on my nose. Later we talked about how he would need to call 911 if Dad could not get up, or could not wake up.

And then, while the kids were away, in the afternoon I was sitting on the front, concrete steps, and when I tried to stand, I fell and hurt my elbow.

I saw the chiropractor this morning. She said a couple of ribs, and my sacrum, were out of place. While I don't want anything like that to happen again, and while it was painful, the fact that it did happen is delightful and amusing.

Left grip is 45 pounds (42, 40, 45), right grip is 96 pounds (95, 92, 96), left leg balance is 7.2 seconds, and inhale volume is assumed to be 4500 mL, since I didn't measure it.

Triple A has this great program called Member Pricing where you can buy a car, with no haggling, at a certain percent above dealer invoice. The guy at the Subaru dealership says a base model 2005 Outback would be $23,388.
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