Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I should have been paying attention

Ergonomics. Body mechanics. Bend from the knees, especially when lifting. Spread feet to distribute the weight. Pivot with your feet, not your waist.

Boy, do I remember the yawn reaction when hospital employees--me included--would be required to sit through presentations on the above subjects. My coworkers and I (non-nursing staff) would often check out mentally, sit back, and pass notes (this was the pre-texting era). I will speak just for me; I thought the above advice had little or nothing to do with my life. And then my recent knee injury provided a reality check.

Being disabled, however temporarily, can be a major disruption. Oh, sure, the parking placard will be a help, but it cost me trips to the doctor's office and the Auto Club. My colleagues are being more than gracious about giving me a more accessible spot in our office, but I recognize that's putting them out for a while. And I'm only beginning to problem-solve how I'm going to provide for my mom's care after my upcoming arthroscopic surgery (it's a real feat carrying handfuls of stuff to and from her room while hobbling on a cane!).

My knee injury, of course, was an accident, but I can't help but wonder if some awareness and increased care on my part couldn't have helped prevent it. All those lectures on workplace safety could certainly have relevance in the home, which is where my mishap occurred. Since so many of us women have been diagnosed with post-menopausal osteoporosis, this should cause us to slow down and be mindful of potential hazards--before we hit the floor. And there's that sneak called arthritis, slowly stealing away degrees of our mobility.

I pulled up the AARP website, and found the following article, "Preventing Falls at Home," by Alyne Ellis It's a great safety guide for us boomers, as well as our aging relatives.

There is much written about minimizing hazards to the elders we care for in-home, as well as material about how to keep ourselves sane as we care for them. Perhaps more should be written about how to avoid our own physical injuries, from a body mechanics standpoint. Caregiving--unpaid or not--is one of the most demanding jobs there is. And beyond that are the rest of our lives, which we deserve to experience unencumbered.

My personal safety hazards, I feel, are largely due to my temperament. I'm impatient and prone to rushing and "overbooking" my day, and may have been doing just that when I twisted my knee like a sourdough pretzel. And that is another subject for another day...

I have every intention of getting back to my full speed. Here's to that day:

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