Posted by: chlost | December 8, 2014

Falling down on the job

The day was drizzly, with sleet and freezing rain mixed together. The streets and sidewalks were left with a thin white coating of snow and ice.

As I made the one-block return trip to my office with my to-go lunch, I stepped gingerly amidst the patches of ice-melt pellets and the snow-covered paving stone sidewalk. Then I stepped across the ice-covered curb to cross the street.

My foot slid across the ice like a kid’s tongue on a popsicle.

I watched the action in slow motion. I saw the food container and my billfold slide across the pavement in front of me. My body soon followed. Although I tried to catch myself with my hand, I ended up landing on my side along the curb and gutter of the intersection. It would have made a hilarious youtube video, I’m sure.

Oh, God, I hope no one has a video of that.

Two different people asked if I was okay, but the only thing truly hurt was my pride. It was embarrassing to struggle to stand up again without falling once more. I am not a graceful person by any stretch of the imagination. It’s been more challenging to haul myself up from the ground ever since my knee replacement, let alone on an icy street pavement. In front of concerned onlookers

Luckily, I fell on the knee that is still “natural”, so my knee replacement was not endangered. Somehow I must have had the instinct to protect that knee. My hand, shoulder, hip and the other knee didn’t fare quite as well. I am not hurt, but I am  stiff and sore.

This happened when I was by myself. No one from my office knows about it. When I returned to the office, I just ate my lunch (and took a couple ibuprofen) with the group as usual. It crossed my mind to say something, but then I decided that I didn’t want them to know. They are almost all my kids’ ages. I don’t want them to think of me as an old lady whom they must worry about falling on the ice. I feel like their colleague. I don’t want them to feel like I’m their aging parent.

Add to that, there was a summary of my projected retirement benefits awaiting me in the mailbox when I got home tonight. I had asked the benefits office for a comparison of my benefits if I were to take the early retirement option or if I were to wait for several more years. After falling today, that early retirement option begins to be quite tempting.


I know that I will continue to live here most of the year as long as my kids and grandchildren live here.

I know that I won’t retire for at least several more years.

It does mean that I am going to be making travel plans for later this winter, though. It will be a lot harder to fall on a slippery sidewalk along an ocean beach. Even in January.

My stiff arm and shoulder should be healed by then.



  1. So glad you are, for the most part, OK. Falling in Minnesota in the winter is easy enough for anyone to do, no matter your age. And I understand the extra caution given the artificial part. I have an artificial right hip.

    I love this line: My foot slid across the ice like a kid’s tongue on a Popsicle.

  2. I feel your pain. Literally. I slipped last weekend and wrenched my back a bit and keeping the new knee and what’s left of the “natural” knee out of harm’s way took a toll on my shoulder. Pass the ibuprofen! I’ll never be able to completely retire, but I am doing a lot of serious thinking about how to approach the future. I need to stay active, but safe. Minnesota winters aren’t a good place to be for that.

  3. Oh, honey, that sounds crummy–and it sums up all that sucks about winter, eh? I hope you’re less sore by now…and gleefully planning even short get-aways from our terrible winters.

  4. Ouch, that can be so painful (and yes, embarrassing.) I’m glad you weren’t seriously injured and I do hope you get a vacation to somewhere warm.

  5. Ooh, sorry about the fall. Getting away during the dead of winter sounds like an excellent idea to me!

  6. Glad there was no damage to either knee. I walk like a penguin in the winter to avoid falling. So far it has worked. 🙂

  7. Very sorry to hear of your fall, and like others, am so relieved your knees are OK. When young I never minded ice or snow and happily slithered all over the place: now I am much more cautious. I do hope you manage a sunny get away.

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