Old People Don’t Bounce

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on March 7th, 2018

My family and co-workers will attest that I have periods of clumsiness. Sometimes the incidents are resolved with a bandage and other times, not. I often was compared with the accident-prone handyman in the Tool Time television show of the late 1990s. Luckily, most of my accidents happened out of the office and the artwork has never been compromised.

The latest mishap occurred two weeks ago, at noon on Saturday. The sun shone brightly after a snow shower. After an ice storm earlier in the week, the sidewalks and roadways were not in ideal condition, but the sun was so inviting. Our Labrador retriever, Parker, and I try to walk every day; the weather conditions rarely stop us. Even at eleven and a half years, Parker is not content without some sort of outside activity, even if brief. My husband warned me, and I promised we’d walk on the less slippery streets as much as possible.

Parker and I were one block from home when – for just a minute – I was distracted. I missed seeing a large, slick, ice patch covered by the recent snow. I went down fast and hard with little time to catch myself but enough to extend my left hand which took the brunt of the fall. I was in shock and in pain but managed to use my phone to call for help. Some neighbors saw me go down and came to my aid; my husband was there in less than a minute.

After several doctors and X-rays, a removable brace, two fiberglass casts, and restrictions to not lift anything heavier than a toothbrush, I’m on the mend. I struggle asking for help and easily get frustrated by my inability to button, zip, or carry anything. It’s the start of week three – halfway through the healing process – so the end is in sight.

The recent accident couldn’t have come at a worse time: right before two weeks of exhibition installations. Luckily, even one-handed I could help a bit and lessen the assistance needed from others who thankfully pitched in. For the most part, I didn’t lift with the left hand or compromise its healing.

This was a great life lesson. I’m humbled by how friends and colleagues came to my aid – shoveling snow, doing dishes, and lifting and toting any number of items weighing more than a toothbrush. I hope to return the favors, but don’t wish a fall or broken anything on anyone.

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