Monday, March 25, 2013

Interesting Falls I Have Had

Susan Skoney

I was in a perfectly straight line, flat on my back, half in, half out of our powder room, with my head and shoulders resting on the seat cushion of my wheelchair. The cushion had slid with me and I’m sure it had protected my head and neck from hitting the hardwood floor of the hallway. This mishap occurred on election night. My husband Michael came in the front door, saw me, dropped his briefcase and computer in the kitchen, and rushed over. My husband helped me get back into my wheelchair, pushed me into the powder room where I had been headed for my pre-vote pit stop, and before I even got up I was down on the floor again.

I started to cry while Michael stood over me and pronounced that he could not get me up and was dialing 911. He told me to get a grip. I did not appear injured and at least I had all my clothes on! As I laid there, my daughter Hannah appeared, with an “oh there’s mom on the floor again" look. At least she inquired about my wellbeing and from my prone position I reassured her I was OK. Then, without skipping a beat, she inquired if I thought she had too much eye shadow on. She leaned over me so I could get a closer view and we briefly discussed the concept of how less is sometimes better than more.    

As we waited for reinforcements to arrive, I remembered a summer when I had found myself in a similar situation. At the time I had a substitute aide, a woman of great proportion with tattooed eye brows. With the help of my petulant daughter, she dragged me out of the very same powder room and deposited me back in my chair. I was unhurt, but badly shaken. Hannah, sporting the same exact mom-on-the-floor look she had tonight, announced that she was going swimming. Then the aide asked if I knew that she worked in a strip club when she wasn’t doing home care. The timing was perfect: My mind immediately switched from self-pity to bizarre fascination.
As I remembered this fond memory, the EMTs arrived and quickly had me back in my chair. God bless them! They even told me to never hesitate to call. I pulled myself together; Michael and I voted; we grabbed a bite to eat and returned home to watch the returns. Hannah came in and joined us. It was as if the evening’s earlier events had never happened. I don’t know about you, but falling to me is one of the most frightening aspects of having MS. Injury, embarrassment, loss of control and that nagging little thought that a fall could happen any time, any where even on a good day. But, on the other hand, my family’s ability to take such mishaps in stride reminds me that life does not stop for MS. Maybe it pauses sometimes, but it does not stop. And even from the floor, life can be interesting. A strip club?

Susan Skoney was diagnosed in 1999. She lives in western New York with her husband Michael and children Hannah and Alex. She worked many years in public relations and advertising, and has just started writing about her MS in the last few years.


  1. Glad you're ok. Have to add if aides were paid better, they wouldn't have to do stuff like work in strip clubs:)

  2. Oh I love your story! And I feel the same way. I have managed to have many close-call not-quite-falls in the past decade or so. I've done a lot of slipping slowly backwards and getting stuck in closets, not being able to fully stand up and slipping down into the street gutter (THAT one was NOT pretty), bouncing off things, barely managing to land on soft things. But I had my first stiff-as-a-board flat on my back arms flailing fall last week. I'm not even sure what happened. On my way down my arm hit my (full) steel water bottle. Just as my head hit the floor it came down and landed right on my chin (a half inch higher and it would have knocked my teeth out). I had stars and little birdies flying around my head all day. My husband came rushing in to my aid... but for some reason (it was mid-morning) all he was wearing were these wild little bikini underwear... why? idk. (He's 52 but he looked great!) Maybe there's some sort of a MS / strip club connection?

  3. I hate that stuff like that has to be 'normal.'

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I am without "family " nearby and M.S. is a frightening and independent disease. You don't get a say in what happens often. Plans change constantly as it decides for me what I can or can't do. My "significant other " does not understand the full scope of the issues and as a result I have that same fear of being caught "Pants Down" in the bathroom by "strangers "(paramedics I don't personally know) I also have epilepsy so an added surprise. He used to get so upset with me before my seizures were diagnosed with a # of EEGs. I would be on the floor or worse (stuck between the wall and toilet thinking WHY can't I move the way I want. I sometimes fade in & out of semi -reality during seizures, bits and prices of reality, but took a long time for a dx.on that.Still he will go off to work and leave me in an unconscious state. I've laid there with vomit in my hair and ears and not been able to do a thing about it. He's not a mean person ....just not educated in medical at all. My days of walkathons (20 miles 2 years in a row) and shorter MS walks are over and I'm feeling useless. I suppose this will get easier or Ilk get more used to being that way. I'm such a high energy 'soul " that I don't know what to do with this body that has stopped listening to me (uncooperative) And my mind is still the same as 40 plus years ago....I'm still a teenager my mind.

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  6. Sorry that happened to you, yes I know how you feel.
    Last month I was standing on a small bench trying to put up new curtains in the bathroom. I lost my balance, started to fall backwards and ended up in the bathtub. My legs were over the side of the tub and my head hit the side wall of the tub. I didn't know what to think and started to assess the situation. When my cat came into the room peeking over the toilet to see what happened. Well, her worried face made me laugh, and I couldn't stop laughing, then I really couldn't get out of the tub! Think I spent a good 45 minutes before I figured how to get out safely!