Falling With Grace

Falling With Grace


It’s hard to avoid….the floor that is.

With multiple sclerosis, your balance gets as twisted up as underwear after a full day at the amusement park.

So you may take a fall or two….or three hundred.

We do our best to avoid them.  But sometimes, shit happens.


While falling in private is aggravating, falling in public is downright demoralizing.

That’s the lesson I learned (yet once again) at a recent banquet.

My wife and I took our seats and began to chat with the others at the table.

When it was our turn to go through the food line, we have a system where she gets my plate.  This avoids me standing in line.  (Using two canes, I am unable to carry a plate anyway, so our system is a win-win.)

After dinner and the program, the banquet comes to an end.

Everyone rises to say goodbye, gather their coats and leave.

Yours truly decides to stand and stretch his spasticity-filled body after the two-hour sit down.

Waves of spasms go up & down from my feet to my armpits like a percussionist playing a xylophone.

I take a small, zombie-like lurch to my left to shake a hand when I feel myself falling backwards.

Because my feet can’t move fast enough to restore my shifting load, I end up falling like a tree in the woods.

A lady screams.  Others gasp.


Lying flat on the floor, I’m surrounded by feet as I go through an abbreviated, post-fall body checklist…..



Arms & Hands?

Good, sir.


Sore, but OK.

Not actual photograph.  Event re-created.
Not actual photograph. Event re-created.



All systems responding.  Prepare to stand.

As I pull myself up, a voice asks “Are you hurt?”

“Only my pride,” I reply.

Yes, dinner and a show, I’ll be here all week.

Falling sucks.  But falling in front of a hundred people double-sucks.

Do you have a similar experience you would like to share?  The floor is yours…(so to speak).

Otherwise, if you take a spill (let’s hope you don’t), please do it with grace as the rest of us with MS have a reputation to uphold.

We don’t need any help looking bad!

Stay upright & fly straight.


3 Replies to “Falling With Grace”

  1. One of the first things I had to learn was ‘how’ to fall so I wouldn’t get hurt. Just let yourself stay loose. I know what you mean about falling in public, though. I, too, try to be funny, saying things such as, “…and for my next trick…” or “Not to worry — I trip on air all the time.” I guess the humor makes us feel less embarrassed. Knock wood, I haven’t fallen in 8 months!!

  2. My first fall was in a crowded church parking lot. It was so unexpected that some poorly wired MS part of my brain yelled “F******!” at the top of my lungs. Luckily Mass had started and hopefully the opening hymn drowned me out. But just in case, I waited until another late comer went in. Hopefully if I was heard, the congregation thought the expletive came from the nun that walked in in front of me!