The unhappy serendipity

A hard lesson that I have failed to learn throughout my life is the art of getting out of bed safely. Yes, you have read that correctly…..getting out of bed safely. Be warned, the simple process of shedding the torpors of sleep to re-enter the world of the living can be fraught with potholes and thorns along the road. Let me explain.

I am, of course, speaking from very recent personal experience. I became a ‘cropper’ the other day by simply getting out of bed. Hard to believe, I know. I can be counted amongst the majority of people (I think)  who return to waking consciousness in the mornings and delay the moment of getting out of bed, sometimes by minutes, sometimes by much more. Of course, waking up does not guarantee an immediate eagerness to get up. Two very different things. Last Wednesday, however, was an exception for this unwary riser. For some reason, totally out of character, I jumped out of bed with inexplicable enthusiasm and headed for the bathroom, only to find my blood pressure went into a downward spiral, and I landed in a heap on the floor, injuring my back in the process.

Jenny panicked, called the emergency services, prised herself into the bathroom and helped me get into the recovery position until the paramedics arrived. It’s only in situations like these that you really learn the true worth of people like paramedics. Working in a very confined space, they managed to administer all that was required, take ECGs, strap me firmly to a board stretcher and expertly lowered me down a very difficult staircase.

An X ray revealed a fracture to the T12, but it was inconclusive about whether it was caused by the fall. Apparently we can live many years with historic situations like these only for them to be revealed by accident in later life. There was much talk of me being fitted with a body brace, but I confounded them by passing all the physiotherapist’s tests, such as walking upstairs and toilet management. So now back at home, minus the body brace, plus a truly impressive array of pain-killers, I await follow-ups to check out the fracture in a few weeks time, and to determine the cause of the blackout. There are murmurings of atrial fibrillation……… Hey-ho!




About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on January 8, 2016, in Miscellany and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Hi frank, hope you are surviving ok. I was wondering if you, like me have osteoporosis ? After my bike accident a few years ago , when i like you broke my hip bone and got the pin and plate stuff put in, they tested me for osteoporosis. Was surprised when they found I had.. So now i’m on the weekly Risedronate little, but powerful pill ! Just wondering…but i’m sure you will know all this…

    • Sam, that’s something to be checked out. I had a bone scan after my femur breakage, and I was told I was within the normal range. But that was seven years ago.

  2. Sorry to hear of your troubles. Take all the rest you need, Frank. My experience occurred at the end of the day, 20 or so years . I felt fluey, but took my dog for his evening walk. Once home, I felt terrible, decided to bid goodnight to my wife and son and went up to bed. the downstairs duo heard a loud noise, and ran upstairs to find I’d passed out and fallen against a door frame. When I regained consciousness, I tried to move, but the pain was intense. It took the best part of half an hour to manoeuvre myself, with help, into bed. My GP came quickly, but made no hospital referral. Recovery was very slow. I returned to work after a few days, but suffered pain for two months before I requested a private visit to a specialist. He informed me that X-rays showed that I’d fractured a vertebra, which explained the pain. Treatment quickly sorted me out. I am very pleased that your fracture was diagnosed so quickly. So, behave yourself and do as Jenny tells you !

  3. Ah the joys! I had a slight fracture at the base of my spine which wasn’t diagnosed for over 30 years.

  4. Good job you do all that Cycling!

  5. Andrew Pooley

    Hi Frank
    Hope you are well on the road to recovery. If you want to know anything about atrial fibrillation talk to me, I have it and am now an expert in the treatments!! All the best


  6. Hope that your recovery is quick and as painless as it can be. I always thought that you must be super fit with all the exercise you get. Best to rest up in your arm chair for a bit ! Its very easy!!!!

  7. I used to pass out every Christmas before I moved to house with downstairs loo! After Christmas dinner, I’d watch TV lying on floor with head propped against chair (maybe we didn’t have enough chairs!). During interval I’d rush upstairs then faint while standing at the toilet, falling backwards against the door. On the 3rd occasion I had to repair hinges! Clearly just temporary loss of blood to brain in otherwise very healthy 30 year old cyclist.

    • One thing I have learned, Peter, is when you pee your blood pressure drops. That’s why it is now recommended that men in their ‘senior years’ should sit down to pee, and get up slowly.

  8. Not good news…
    Get well soon Frank.

  9. Glad to hear you are home safe and sound

    The bike will probably be glad too…give its tyres a rest !!

    X Joan


  10. Be glad it happened in January – best time to be off your bike!

    Get well soon.

  11. So sorry to hear of your mishap. I hope you get back to your normal superfit self very soon.

  12. Damn man. Heal fast brother.

  13. So sorry to hear your mishap. contact me if I can help.

    • Thanks David. I’ve got a few things in place as follow-ups to check why things happened. When I find out, as a fellow endurance sportsman, you may be able to share a few tips on managing these situations. I’ve always associated having the odd dizzy spell when standing up with having done a long bike ride. But, of course, it may be more than that.

  14. Oh, gosh. Get well soon.

  15. Leopoldo Castro

    Oh, dear!!!
    I wish you the quickest of recoveries… and a not inconsiderable amount of patience.

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