Falls – the good, the bad, and the ……

Falls are a fact of life for people with multiple sclerosis or other disability that includes mobility and balance problems. But, those of us who take the tumbles know they are not all the same.

We divide them into bad falls and good falls. So, what is a “good” fall? How can any fall be good?

Well, from personal experience, I know that some falls can be thought of as good. I will try and explain.

falls First of all, there is the matter of injury. Any fall that incurs no more than bruises and scratches has got to be thought of as nothing to worry about. I have learned to relax and roll

Injuries, though, are not the only factor. Here I can only speak with my knowledge as a person with MS. I know that people without disabilities fall sometimes, and MS is not behind all my unscheduled meetings with the floor. After all, anyone can slip or trip.

Those of us who have MS know full well what can be blamed on the disease. In my own case, muscle weakness in my left leg can lead to my left knee giving way without warning. At other times, I cannot maintain my balance or am just too tired to move or stand up any longer.

These falls are all attributed to MS as it affects me. You may have other symptoms and effects. We all know, however, that every fall is bad if it is connected to MS.

However, other unplanned descents can be totally unconnected with the disability and so are “good” falls. These can include slips, trips, misjudging distances and so on.

Not all falls can be blamed on MS

Some recent mishaps in my life have included misjudging the distance to an ottoman and only half sitting on it, ending on the floor. Another time, I turned over in bed but was too close to the edge and so found the floor again. Both of these left me completely unhurt and helpless with laughter. Neither were linked to MS.

Another risk you have to look out for is moving obstacles, namely pets. In my case, we have three cats and two are good at keeping out of my way but the eldest (19½ years) doesn’t. Indeed, she manages to get right in the way and then stop – as though daring me to get past. So far, no accidents there but I have to stay alert.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Clinical Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

MS seems affected by sun; great prescription service

Poached eggs on the way.   Poached eggs on the way.

It was good to get back behind the wheel this morning and drive for the very first time since the automatic gearbox decided enough was enough on Christmas Eve.

It was an early start too. Well, early for me as we needed to be in our nearest town where Lisa had a 9am appointment at the medical centre. Even when we lived in Wales, I was a night owl and not an early riser and there was no need to change habits when we got here. Today was different.

Actually, talking of the appointment, it was just for Lisa to get her repeat prescriptions. Back in the UK, this had to be arranged a month at a time but, here, she came back to the car with a prescription for six months’ supply of her medications. Now, that is service.

The appointment this morning was also quite an achievement for Lisa as she went through it all speaking only Spanish and understanding the doctor’s replies. That’s something I could not do yet but I am working on that.

After leaving there, we returned home and I have to say that the car was an absolute pleasure to drive; I only hope that continues. Arriving home, my beloved headed straight for the kitchen where she prepared breakfast, as we only had a cup of tea before our trip to the medical centre. In fact, breakfast marked Lisa’s second ‘first’ of the day. It was the very first time in her life that she had cooked poached eggs. For a first attempt they turned out brilliantly but the cook wasn’t happy with her own work and says she is determined to do better next time. All I can say is, ‘yes please’ and ‘the sooner the better’; you might guess that I love poached eggs.

Having now lived in Spain for more than two months, during which we have enjoyed the autumn and early winter sunshine, I can say that living in the sun seems to be having a beneficial effect on the multiple sclerosis that affects me.

Sunshine is not a cure for MS but it does have two effects. First of all it helps your body create more vitamin D and, secondly, sunny days generally lift your spirits. Bearing these facts in mind, I feel that I am maintaining my balance better and am certainly falling less frequently. In fact, thinking about it, I have not had a real fall for weeks and even the number of times when my knee has given way has reduced significantly.