Fall Avoidance for People With Low Vision (Part 2)

This is part 2 of the above-titled article. The idea for this 2 part article came about as a result of a recent poll on our site, MacularDegeneration.net. The poll was titled “Have you or your loved one ever fallen due to low vision symptoms?”

In part 1 of Fall avoidance for people with low vision, I tried to outline some tips for fall avoidance and I also discussed my own vision, now in rapid decline.

The stairs

OK, enough with the boring explanation, let’s move on to the good stuff!
Let me start out with one word, a word that should strike fear into the hearts of VIP’s (Visually Impaired People)...that word is STAIRS!!! (Stairs can be substituted for street curbs, ground slopes, ladders, or any sudden change in elevation.). I have recent personal and painful experience with stairs!

What happened you ask?

Well, I live in a 2 story house (not recommended for a 72-year-old, visually impaired guy like me!)  I’ll paint the scene for you: it’s right before Christmas and even in the subtropical area near the Gulf of Mexico, I live in, it sometimes gets cold.

Let me digress, my lovely wife is a cross between Martha Stewart and any other interior design divas from HGTV you’d care to name. So remember, I said it was near Christmas? Yep, it was and Wow, the decorations, chat-skis, bauble, bibelot, curios, doodads, gaud and geegaws abound! I’m trying to say, she decorates the heck out of our house! It seems especially so this time, because due to social distancing, it’s just the two of us and our dog, Sassy.

Before the fall...

Like I said, it’s cold, and my winter clothes are still upstairs and my summer clothes are still downstairs. So I proceed to try and remedy the situation. I go up the stairs like a graceful Cheetah with no issues at all.

Remember I said my wife likes to decorate? She’d wrapped the stair rails in fake pine needles with red bows no less! You couldn’t even really grab the rails without disturbing her Currier and Ives like decorative pine boughs. The coming down part is where I got in trouble...

The fall...

It needs mentioning that it was dusk and low light conditions, and I hadn’t turned on enough interior lighting. So, the Cheetah (me) with a wad of warm clothes is coming down the stairs, all the while avoiding the chat-skis and gee-gnaws. I got to what I thought was the bottom stair step, only it turned out, it was not the bottom step.

With graceful agility I stepped out, thinking I was on the ground floor only to find myself sailing through the air and made a perfect 3 point landing. 2 points were my knees hitting the wood floor while simultaneously smacking my head on a door frame! The sound my head made was like a rifle shot! I saw a starburst and then black nothingness for a few seconds.

Did it hurt? Yes! But as luck would have it, the brunt of the strike was on my head and I don’t have much up there anyway.

Watch your step!

Some members shared their experiences in a recent poll, you can read a few of them below:

  • Yard and uneven ground (pro tip: check out trekking sticks.)
  • Gopher holes are the worst!
  • Tripping over things that aren’t supposed to be there (think chat-skis)
  • Thinking we can still ride our mountain bikes
  • Stepped in a hole in the shady part of the yard, porch (play spooky music)

I tell ya, it’s a jungle out there! Watch your step! Wishing you well on our shared journey!

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