Living Well with Parkinsons Disease

Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski

If we fall, but no one notices, did we really fall?


By Sheryl Jedlinski

If we fall (like the tree in the forest), and no one notices, did we really fall? If we fall as a result of an incident that also would cause a healthy person to fall, is it a Parkinson’s fall or an ordinary fall, and why should we care? I pondered these questions from my vantage point on the sidewalk in front of my house. One minute I was showing my husband which branches I wanted him to prune from our parkway tree, and the next I was sprawled out on the cement waiting for him to notice me.

“What are you doing down there?” he finally asked, having seen nothing.

“I’m on strike and organizing a sit-in,” I answered, with my usual sarcasm.

“Did you fall?” he persisted, as he walked over to me.

That’s a pretty good bet as falling is a common occurrence among people with Parkinson’s, mainly due to our postural instability, gait impairment, and knee muscle weakness. The frequency and severity of falls tends to increase along with the advancing stages of Parkinson’s disease, and can lead to life-threatening complications, from hip fractures to head trauma. Ideally, we should focus on preventing frequent falls and minimizing injury through daily exercises that challenge and improve balance and coordination, build muscle strength, and increase flexibility.

My most recent fall was the result of carelessness more than anything else. I was walking backwards on our uneven lawn, while leaning back and looking up to get the best view of the tree we were pruning. My foot went into a divot in the lawn and down I went. Fortunately, my underused left arm took the brunt of the fall, and my knees were spared. I was feeling more anger and embarrassment than anything else.

“Anyone would fall under those conditions,” said my husband, ever my cheerleader. He held out his hand to help me up.

I thanked him, but insisted on getting up myself. It was a matter of pride. I refuse to let this disease get a leg up on me. I got up on all fours, in a perfect inverted “V,” the traditional down dog yoga position. Then I inched my feet towards my hands and slowly walked myself backwards and upright. I survived to live another day, with only a small scrape as tell tale evidence of my fall and my self-confidence still intact.

Standing there on the sidewalk, Tony wrapped his arms around me in a protective bear hug and I nuzzled my head into his chest. No words were needed. The silence said it all.

6 comments on “If we fall, but no one notices, did we really fall?

  1. Larry Williams
    September 21, 2015

    AWESOME! It says it all!

  2. 100wickedwords
    September 21, 2015

    I would have loved to see your hot yoga move in person! What a trooper.

  3. john silk
    September 21, 2015

    4days after being told I need anew knee ihad my last fd my last fall on t my right thigh onto a ceramic tiled floor’
    As a result no resistance from me!!
    So after seeing My endroconologist,mymovement disordrd specialist,my sleep Apnea specialit and a 11/2 hrmreting with a specialist Physician they have booked me in to go in October .
    Sheryl I am till fighting the wheelee but slowly it is catching up in the racee

  4. Lyn
    September 21, 2015

    Thanks Sheryl I am sure we can all relate to this. Great story.

    • Nina
      September 22, 2015

      I can always find something in your blog that gives me “aha” moment. I this one was a “knee muscle weakness” – I had no idea it was related to my PD. Now it makes sense and additional incentive to swim as a form of exsersise. I do yoga twice a week and very well familiar with down dog position. 🙂
      Thanks again,

  5. Mary L. Hoffmeister
    September 22, 2015

    Sheryl, you are an inspiration to all! As u know, I don’t have Parkinson’s but, took a bad fall and agree that exercise is a most important part to at least try to maintain a certain level. I admire u, more than you know. Kudos to Tony as he is “The wind beneath your wings! You are a great team!
    P.S. Keep chocolate on the menu! I had a piece of the best chocolate cake last week and thought of you! Mary Lou

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This entry was posted on September 21, 2015 by in Coping Strategies, Falling, Family Life, Parkinson's symptoms.

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