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April 7, 2018

High beds with thick mattresses are a trendy bedroom style. They look like something from the children’s story, “The Princess and the Pea”. Some of these beds are two and a half feet from floor to mattress top. Oh, I enjoy the look, but it brings to mind another children’s nursery rhyme about the old man, who bumps his head on the end of the bed and didn’t wake up until morning. Thirty-one inches doesn’t sound high until you fall off of that beautiful, fluffy bed.


I can totally relate to the old man’s plight, because that happened to me. I never saw it coming. Whack! That pretty, fluffy mattress didn’t stop me from tumbling out of bed. I remember very little of my fall, I know only what I’ve been told.


Sixty-seven stitches, three surgeries and two weeks later, I went home from OSF Medical Center; using a walker, a raised toilet, plenty of help from my family, friends, in-home nursing and therapy. If that wasn’t enough, I also had an alert button around my neck, in case I took a nose dive when left alone. Oh yes, and lots of pills.


I was married to a man who sold furniture and real estate for fifty-five years; so, I appreciate the look and style of a beautiful room. Colorful throw rugs, sleek looking bathrooms and pretty beds are pleasant to look at, but there are hidden dangers. There comes a time when we need to re-evaluate our surroundings. Take it from me, being safe in our homes, beats living in the hospital!


So, today my bed is twenty-three inches off the floor. This allows my feet to be flat on the floor before I stand up, and though I don’t use my walker anymore, I keep it close to my bed in case I would need it during the night. The phone is on the bedside table along with my alert button. The bathroom has a sturdy, strong bar in the bath area and no fancy throw rugs.


Fortunately, my washer and dryer are on the main floor, so basement steps aren’t a concern. If you use the basement for laundry, you might want to consider moving your washer and dryer, as this can be a safety issue.


The fact is, and I hate having to admit this, but none of us are getting any younger. I can’t seem to keep my eyes open after eight at night; all my grandkids are taller and look down on me, and more often than I like, my memory fails me. All this serves as a reminder that time is passing; so, I’m trying my best to be my best. This means getting equipped with what I need to stay safe and independent.  I have a group of family and friends for which I am eternally grateful. Now is the time to get realistic, they all have lives I want to be a part of, but I can’t if I take unnecessary risks.


Just remember what the famous boxer Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has plans, until they get hit.”   Stay safe, Betty



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