Falling and the real suffering


I wrote this three years ago but it’s still relevant today, especially after a five hour wait on the living room carpet last Friday night.

I think we can all agree that falling is one of the biggest slaps in the face we have to endure. The tripping demon has a pertinent sense of timing, choosing the exact moment for maximum effect (and usually before an assemblage of spectators). This is one of the genuine stealth symptoms of a number of conditions but particularly of MS, as we have been conditioned to be wary of such spectacular mishaps. I try to stress to whomever is present when I dare take the challenge to cross a room by ambulant means, that making me laugh whilst trying to walk will have a disastrous outcome. One is also aware of intense staring eyes, scrutinising every bumbling step:

"Are they willing me to fall?! I ask myself. “Are they waiting for that moment when I meet the ground and release an explosion of drama, when they can all leap into action and rescue my poor crumpled heap, thus partly relieving their strained feelings of sympathy and guilt?”

It’s a big thing. From the first time, when my poor head met the bottom of a lamp post on a busy street in Leicester, I’ve had to face up (or down) to falling as a daily hazard. As a sporting youth I would brandish my scars as some form of medal, showcasing endeavour and bravery, but now? I’m just happy to get up again. Few people mention the bumps and bruises these days-I just get the looks and the heads cocked to one side. What use is dignity, when it just keeps kicking you back?

The thing that people without MS, or without such problems walking, don’t necessarily understand is that walking and chewing gum simultaneously is impossible for some of us, let alone trying to have a conversation whilst staggering a few feet!

I’m sorry you’ve had a recent fall Steve. And a 5 hour wait isn’t the most fun thing either. My last couple of falls were in the bathroom, so I got cold as well as uncomfortable sitting on the wet room floor waiting, and waiting, for the paramedics to arrive with their inflatable chair thing to get me back up.

Dignity! Hah, I laugh in the face of dignity! That bird flew away a long time ago.


indeed, dignity is another victim of colatteral damage. In one of my best / worst falls I launched my carkeys into the middle of the road. I get very bored that my body constantly tries to throwme on to the floor, sometimes the boredom leads into frustration and then anger before the conscious part of my brain says “No point in wasting valuable energy being angry” I do derive support from the fact that there are others who really understand some of these feelings. I hope that you feel a bit supported too. Mick

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Oh poor you!

It was due to my falls getting more frequent and damaging that made me decide to go for wheels full time. Couldnt move my feet forward any longer and backwards shuffling caused even more face and floor meets.

It`s a chuff lad, a proper chuff!


Hi Steve, I say that we leave our dignity at reception when we book into Hotel MS. However, on one occasion I fell getting out of the car. It was about 10.30 at night and I’m way too heavy for my wife. Suddenly a man appeared. He lived across the road and had seen me fall. He came over and helped me to my feet and across to our front door. We’d never acknowledged each other before and now we wave and chat every time we meet. Dignity restored. Anthony


Hotel MS: you can check out any time you want but you can never leave.



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Well, yes and no.

Yes, in that people’s eyes certainly are drawn by unstable disasters waiting to happen (most of us on the move, for instance - even with no drink taken…)

No, in that, rather often, people aren’t paying us anything like as much attention as we think they are: they have their own stuff to deal with. :slight_smile:

They’re both true, so I try to reassure myself with the one that seems to suit best at any given moment!


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Poor falling people.

At least us ladies can wear make up to cover facial bruises.

I got a cracker on my chin when I fell in my works disabled toilet… ok it’s funny now.

Luckily lots of grab rails to get me up again.

By good fortune I had my face to face that week. The make-up was taken off for the meeting-proof of falls which was mentioned in my report.

Agree can’t walk and eat, or turn round to see who’s behind you.

Stay upright everyone.