Judith Wolf Mandell/accident

Guest post by Judith Wolf Mandell

What are the chances?

Fourteen years ago, my granddaughter, then 2, broke her femur, ending up in a purple chest-to-ankle fiberglass cast for a miserable month.

Judith Wolf Mandell
Judith Wolf Mandell broken femur/accident
An x-ray of Judith’s broken femur

Fast-forward 14 winters: I broke my femur, ending up with an assortment of titanium hardware in my thigh, two weeks in rehab and months of at-home therapy in store.

The coincidence has spurred me to ponder “accident.”

“A sudden event…that is not planned or intended and that causes damage  or injury,” says Merriam-Webster.

It’s human nature (or my nature) to replay an accident. Rushing, not looking down, I crashed off an uneven curb – OOPS! – onto to a coarse surface below. Clumsy, stupid me! Take that, Judith. Pow!

“FALL RISK”: a bright yellow wristband branded me in the hospital and rehab. I scissored it off within moments of returning home, but the image is seared in my brain. Facing weeks more of pain, therapy and nixed plans, it’s understandable to fall (no pun intended) into a morass of self-blame.

Result: depression, diversion of focus on healing. Benefits: none.

Aging brings with it a plethora of warnings: beware cords, rugs, slippery floors, strewn dog toys and so on, throughout the house. Do not mindlessly stand up on a foot that has fallen asleep.

As we get up in years, aging also brings a raft of benefits conferred by exercise: improved balance, endurance, flexibility, strength.

Whether indoors or outdoors, the primary caution is to watch where you’re going: keep your eyes peeled – up, down, around. To which I add: respect the cushiony soles of athletic shoes! The rubber can snag on uneven cement surfaces, hurling you to the ground. That’s what happened to me.

If (I sincerely hope not) you get hurt indoors or outdoors, be kind to yourself. Resist adding insult to injury. Your takeaway, worth repeating, is Merriam-Webster’s definition of “accident” as “A sudden event …that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury.”

In other words, accidents happen.

Judith Wolf Mandell
Sammy's Broken Leg/Accident
Sammy’s Broken Leg

 I wrote a blog post in 2017 about Judith and the children’s book she wrote that was inspired by her granddaughter’s experience. Sammy’s Broken Leg (Oh, No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed It has reached nearly 4500 children around the world and received nearly 150 five-star reviews on Amazon. Read more about the book and meet Judith’s granddaughter here.

Judith is not the only one to suffer a recent fall. Here in Maine, icy sidewalks have brought down a number of people I know. Coincidentally, when she reached out to me about sharing her experience I was also writing a cautionary tale — Important: we have to watch where we’re going.

Stay safe!