I Fell Out of Bed the Other Day
I fell out of bed the other day. Well, not really. I fell while trying to get out of bed. I was halfway through my routine, propped on my elbow and beginning to push my way up. In the past, even if my hands weren’t properly placed or an elbow gave out and I couldn’t push myself to a sitting position, nothing like this ever happened. I’d just flop back down on my left side on the edge of the bed. Something different happened this time. Maybe I was precariously close to the edge from the start, but as my strength began to give in the transition from elbow to upright, I felt my hip begin to slide.
I no longer feel panic in these moments. Never mind that I was two feet off the floor, I don’t feel the same way about falling. There’s nothing to be done once it begins; I’ve been trained to just let it happen. Of course, if I were at the top of a staircase and felt my momentum begin to irreversibly shift, well, that would be different. I’d have to be braindead not to panic.
In an instant, I’d hit the hardwood, rolled off the mattress and bumped my head. That wouldn’t happen to many people, bumping the head, but my withering neck couldn’t prevent it. From my awkward position alongside the bed, I called out for help: “Mom…mooom!”
Perhaps a part of my nonchalance is knowing I’m not alone. I don’t have to get up myself; it’s unlikely that I could anymore. (I’m pretty certain I couldn’t, but it’s been three years since I tried to get up off the floor.) Mom came running―quite literally, I heard her sneakers come down the hall―opened the door and spoke the same lines I’d heard many times before. “What happened?!!” she asked, incredulous, as if it mattered. As if I had an answer; as if I wished to discuss it in that moment.
“I don’t know, I slipped. Just help me.”
She pushed the bedside table out of the way and rolled me a quarter turn onto my back. “Take off my socks,” I demanded. I’d been here before; I knew what to do.
My mom doesn’t have nearly the strength to get me to my feet on her own. Dad was home, but I don’t like to ask for more help than I need. She pulled up my torso and turned my back to the bed while I pushed off the floor with my feet. (Socks would have made this impossible on the hardwood.) In the sitting position, I continued to push the floor with my feet and began to snake my body onto the bed. My butt firmly in place on the mattress, legs holding me steady on the floor, Mom pulled up my torso. If I could do that myself, I wouldn’t need all the rest of it. Taking a minute to rest and place each palm on the mattress alongside each leg, babbling explanations all the time, I pushed myself to my feet, shuffled a few tiny steps, and fell back into my waiting chair.
No big deal, really. But it gets me to thinking about the next time. And the next. And the one after that, until eventually I can’t get up anymore. It’s impossible for me to believe that there will be a day when I’ll no longer be able to get myself out of bed. Even now, with every piece of knowledge and experience that are piled in my brain, I still can’t imagine what that will be like. Or maybe I don’t want to. I don’t want someone to put me to bed and get me up; I don’t want to lose another piece of my freedom. I guess I’ll try to enjoy those little things a bit more, making my own decisions, trying to hold on to another small piece of humanity.