monthly cover
Senior Spectrum Newspaper
February 2018
Current Golden Pages Cover
Golden Pages
Current Generation Boomer cover
Generation Boomer

Senior Spectrum Publications

This 'n That
by Anne Vargas
top of page

Or, in my case,the driveway!

Anne Vargas
Anne Vargas

According to Merriam-Webster, the thumb is the short, thick digit of the human hand that differs from the other fingers, allowing greater freedom of movement. I hadn’t really thought about that before but it’s true; the thumbs do allow movement. If you doubt their importance, try life without them.

spill and a trip

I recently had occasion to do that after a vigorous encounter with the pavement. I tripped in the dark over a rock that I didn’t see and landed face forward on the driveway, cracking my head and fracturing my wrists. After a very long night in the ER, I ended up with stitches in my head and both hands constrained in splints. Happily, a subsequent visit to the doctor three days later resulted in different kinds of splints and mobility of one thumb; something I was ridiculously excited about but those 36 hours gave me a whole new perspective and appreciation of those previously unappreciated digits.

When it comes to life,
the critical thing is
whether you take things
for granted or take
them with gratitude.

G.K. Chesterton

"Mr. Google" lists the following things as being impossible to do without thumbs:

Put on a sock and shoe
Turn a doorknob
Brush or comb your hair
Button a button
Tie a shoelace
Blow up a balloon and tie it
Seal a plastic bag
Pull up a zipper
Pick up a coin
Open a jar
Apply toothpaste on your toothbrush
without getting it all over the basin.
Brush your teeth
Wash your face
Write. You Cannot Write!
Pick up a baby
Pick up anything for that matter
Turn a page
Play an instrument
Play volleyball Or throw ball.
Or basketball. Or pool.

Let’s hear it for thumbs!

thumbs up

I can add more. Turning on a lamp. Drinking out of any vessel without using both hands. Putting on a bra. Driving. Bathroom hygiene. Just eating…our son and his son both tried to eat their dinner without using either thumb in show of empathy and support; they couldn’t. If I had been restricted for longer, I’m sure I would have found many more things I couldn’t do.

For those three days, I was totally dependent on someone else (spouse) for help. I also had a huge, bloody lump on my head that was excruciating to the touch along with a bruise around my eye that progressed from purple to black and steadily advanced down my face. Hideous. Aforementioned spouse quickly resolved those issues: “Don’t touch the cut, don’t look in the mirror.” All of this because I wasn’t wearing my glasses (vanity) and didn’t see that rock.

A friend suggested I learn to fall correctly, a proposal I initially ignored; after all, I certainly wasn’t planning to fall again. But then she sent an article which explains exactly how important it is to know what to do in case you do trip over a rock. Or anything else. Perhaps if I had tucked this information into my head, I might have avoided all of this. I attach it here for mutual education:

STEP ONE: Stay bent. The moment you sense you’ve lost your balance, fall with bent elbows and knees. “When people panic they become rigid. Bend your elbows and have some give in your arms to soften the impact.”

STEP TWO: Protect your head. If you are falling forward be sure to turn your face to the side. Falling backward? “Tuck your chin to your chest so that your head doesn’t hit the ground.”

One slip

STEP THREE: Land on the meat. If possible, attempt to land on a meaty part of your body; i.e., your thighs or buttocks, not your elbows, knees, hips or tailbone.

STEP FOUR: Keep falling. Our instincts are to stop our body from falling. However, your safest route is to give in to the fall. Spreading the impact across a larger part of your body lessens the impact of one part of your body receiving the impact. “The more you roll with the fall the safer you’ll be. Michael Zimmerman, “Healthy You”

And since winter is still...