Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up
To me, not much is scarier than falling or even just the inability to get up off the floor. I have severe muscle weakness, particularly in my legs. Just this morning, I was sitting in a very low chair to clean out the cat litter box. Usually, I can push up on the arms and stand back up, but not today. My husband was at an appointment and I was frustrated, angry, and scared. I scooted on my bum over to a soft recliner and tried to climb onto it, to no avail. My arms aren't strong enough to pull myself up and my legs were having none of it. I sat on the floor for five minutes with my cat staring at me as if to say, “What are you doing down here?” I knew I could wait for my husband to come home or I could really work hard at getting up in that recliner. My arms aren't much stronger than my legs but I managed to do a crab walk backward, pushing and leaning my way into the chair. By the time I reached a sitting position, I was thankful but exhausted.  I'm aware of the adage that says if you don't use it, you lose it. It's difficult for me to exercise much due to fatigue levels that keep me mostly in bed. I'm sure a big part of the muscle weakness is due to that, just as I'm sure part of it is due to my age. My leg muscles have become weaker and more fatigued over time. It's now been over eight hours since the incident this morning and my muscles still have not recovered. I'm so thankful that I have a walker, as it helps me get from one place to another without feeling like I'm going to collapse. Part of me wonders if there is a wheelchair in my not-too-distant future. I allowed myself tears of frustration for a short time, but then I just needed to get on with my day. It's times like these that make it difficult to stay positive, but I'm determined to
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10 comments

  1. Years ago my rheumatologist counseled me that when I was feeling my weakest was when I needed to exercise the most. I would look for some isometric exercises that could be done while lying in bed.

  2. Cindy says:

    Hi Robin! So sorry you had to go through that experience today. I regularly have to at least partially pull myself up from being on or close to floor level. I have four neat feline fur kids so I know the litter box dilemma. Here are some ideas. Could your husband build a stand with a slanted walkway so kitty can get in and out, or if you have a lower table that would accommodate a litter box (I am presuming you only have one since you mentioned only one kitty). I am suggesting these things so you don’t have to get so low to the floor. Here is a lifesaver for fibro ridden kitty owners. Use Naturally Fresh® Multi-Cat Ultra Odor Control Quick-Clumping Cat Litter – Natural (yellow gold bag works the best over other varieties). This litter is made of walnut shells and doesn’t have all the fragrance other litters have that bombards you or your kitty. It controls odors better than anything I’ve used in all the many years I’ve had cats and doesn’t have to be changed anywhere near as often as clay litters do. It comes in small or large bags and is relatively inexpensive. I get mine at Petsmart, Walmart, or Jet tho it can be had at other stores as well. One other thought comes to mind. Do you have some kind of alert necklace/bracelet you can use to get a hold of someone to help you if this happens in the future. Or even wear your cell phone. Hope your muscles have or are nearly recovered. I enjoy your articles very much. Hang in there kiddo and give your kitty a belly rub and treat for me:)

    • Robin Dix says:

      Cindy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your response to my column. Yes we only have one Kitty, she’s got up dysplasia so it’s really difficult for her getting in and out of the litter box. We have used for the walnut let for a couple of years now and I agree with your thoughts about it. I’m considering getting a pouch thing to hold my cellphone.

  3. Nancy J Abel says:

    Have you tried chair yoga to keep fitter? I use a downward dog pose to rise from the floor. A wheelchair would lead to new problems. There is on line info to learn the poses.

  4. mary t says:

    I had an epidural for pain a couple weeks ago. Last weekend I fell 2 times the same day! I got up myself. I have found that when I have pain I am weaker. My legs seem stronger with pain relief== nothing to do with exercise.

  5. Maxine Isaacs says:

    Dear Robin,
    I was Rx with Fibro in my late 20s—I am 77 now. Falling has always been an issue for me. It is especially embarrassing when it happens in public though I have been on the floor for hours when I am alone. Crawling to a firm object that is sturdy, is helpful. I am now using a WINNIE WALKER (3 wheeled walker) that I bought from Amazon and it helps a little with my balance. Overcoming my resistance to an aid(cane) has enabled me to be more of a participant. Fatigue also plagues me. My husband has been very helpful and patient. When we have to quit an activity, he understands.

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