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Don’t Mind Me…

In my last blog, I mentioned that I’d joined a pickleball Meetup in Chicago. Here’s what I didn’t mention: I had a bad fall.

Now I’ll admit I’m a bit klutzy but the court has been painted on cracked asphalt, which makes for dangerous conditions. During play, I caught the edge of my running shoes (not ideal for court play) as I was shuffling backwards and fell hard.

I did not have the chance (or the reflexes) to break my fall so I landed first on my back and then my skull hit the pavement with a loud smack. I’ve never hit my head before and I now understand the idea of “seeing stars”!

Here’s what happened next…

I immediately jumped up, disregarding the throbbing skull and abrasions down my back. When asked if I was OK, I responded I was fine and insisted we resume play.

I was NOT fine. I was feeling unsteady on my feet and a bit faint. It didn’t help that we were playing in the hot sun.

God forbid I let on that I needed a break. That I admit the spill had shaken me and that what I really wanted was to sit down in the shade and cool off with some water.

Look away everyone. I’m tough. Nothing to see here!

I certainly didn’t want to interrupt play. To inconvenience anyone on my account.

Don’t mind me. No trouble here. So sorry to bother everybody.

What the heck is that? That reflex to NOT take up others’ time and concern? That instinct to NOT call attention to my needs and my pain? To NOT take care of myself?

I know I’m not alone in this. I see it with the women I encounter, my friends and the members of my THRIVE Personal Growth Community. We are so programmed to put everyone else first, even total strangers!

We can do better for ourselves. It must begin today.

I have so much unlearning to do. My new awareness—hitting me over the head, literally—is a beginning. I will work to claim my needs moving forward.

YOUR TURN: Do you relate? How do you put yourself last, even when it hurts your wellbeing? How can you prioritize you?

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  1. Mary Young

    When you hit your head like that, it’s best not to move in case you fractured a vertebrae in your neck. That said, next get yourself to an ER and ask for a x-ray/cat scan/MRI. Remember Natasha Richardson! You never know. The same thing happened to me — Unbeknownst to me, had a mild concusdion, a fractured skull, and a bleed (and spent a day in neuro-intensive care). You cannot trust ypur judgement after a blow to the head. (I acted normal, knew who was president, etc.) And you can never be toocautious.

    • Hélène

      Thanks Mary! We happened to have an ER doc staying at our house that night (a good friend) so I have followed his advice on watching for symptoms. So far so good!

      • Mary Young

        Terrific! So glad to hear!

  2. Laurie Stone

    I hoped you saw a doctor, Helene. I’ve heard of falls that lead to more serious injuries, especially head falls. Hope you’re feeling better and yes, you should’ve seen to your needs in that moment!

    • Hélène

      Thanks so much Laurie. Here’s what I’ve been watching for that would indicate need for medical attention: “Signs to look for include a headache, slurred speech, confusion nausea and vomiting as an indication that the person should seek medical treatment.”

  3. Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

    Falling is so scary. You never know what could happen. I tripped a couple of times walking dogs but managed not to get seriously hurt other than achy for a few days. But one bad fall can change your life.

    • Hélène

      So true! My dad had a bad fall 20+ years ago and ended up in the ICU with a subdural hematoma.

  4. Corinne Rodrigues

    Sorry about your fall. I hope your better now. Your response sounds just like something I would do – pretend that it’s all okay and that I’m tough. Asking for help is something I’m learning to do.

    • Hélène

      Thanks so much for validating my experience. Yes, I need to learn how to ask for what I need more readily.


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