The sad part about this account is that there was no one here to laugh. I would have been glad to pose for a photo if anyone had been here to take it.
The story began when we lived on Long Island, and I bought a balance ball to use as a desk chair. Our grandsons loved it, rolling about the alcove where I had my computer. I thought it was good for me, keeping my knees active for hours. All along I suspected it was a bit too big for me, but it worked, and I was happy.
I lost my computer desk when we moved to North Carolina, because it fit our new office perfectly. One of us was addicted to New York radio stations, so we could not share office space without driving the other crazy. The solution was to buy a bare-bones table which we put in the kitchen near the fireplace. I thought that would work well. I could write while baking or waiting for a pot to boil. The concept was excellent, but the execution nearly killed me. There were two things wrong. This table did not have a keyboard tray that slid out, so I was too far away to type comfortably. Blisters appeared on my big toes, big blisters that hurt! I was putting so much pressure on my feet to stay in front of the keys that it caused blisters. The ball was pushed aside in favor of my dad’s office chair.
After I changed the orientation of my computers, Dad’s heavy chair was not comfortable. The solution was to buy a new balance ball, one that was low enough for me to sit before a TV table. As you might guess, downsizing was trickier than it seemed. John helped me measure the height I needed, and I ordered a new ball from Amazon. It arrived the day our grandsons left.
I perceived no danger. After all, I had a good history of sitting on a balance ball, didn’t I?. The new one looked awfully low, like it was the height of a kindergarten chair. It has been about 41.7 years since I was confident about rising unaided from a kindergarten chair. I placed the ball in front of the computer and should have paid attention to my reservations about its lowness. I didn’t. Ohhhh! My knees were bent less than 90 degrees. I wish Rebecca, my physical therapist after knee replacements, had been there to measure that angle. She would have been so proud of me. Whoops! Watch out! Shifting just a little bit was much more drastic than on the bigger ball. I had about a foot of leeway on the old one and an eighth of an inch on the mini-ball. I would have to learn how to get on it at just the right place.
Accidents happen in a silly millisecond, but it’s amazing how much your brain can process in next to no time. The mini-ball was intent on dislodging me, having the mind of a stubborn bucking bronco. As I began rolling to the right, I grabbed for the flimsy TV table. These are the thoughts that went through my mind, “You’re going to fall. Hold onto the table. The table is wobbling, and the new computer is going to fall on the floor. You don’t want that, do you? Let go of the table. Try not to kick it as you go down. Golly! The mountain out there is at a funny angle! Who knew mountains could go that way?”
The brain continued racing, although the body was suspiciously still. Brain thought, “No bones are sticking out of flesh. I survived a balance ball crash, didn’t I? Nothing hurts, does it? Why did I try this with no one else in the house? Did I really think I could balance on a marble? Where is someone to laugh with me? I would have chosen daughter Lise, being the most reliable laugher in accidental situations. She could have shrieked uncontrollably for 10 minutes had she witnessed that unbalanced dump. You better see if you can get off the floor before you start laughing at yourself.”
Uooffff! Dad’s sturdy chair was right where I needed it. I was up before the five-minute rule that says nothing is broken if you stand up before time runs out.
I’m not totally dumb and was leery of using the ball again without an audience. However, I am a miser, a really extreme one. I will not send back that glorified beach ball and get a bigger one, because I am going to sit on it if it kills me. You are supposed to get back on a horse if it throws you, aren’t you? OK. I will listen to one bit of advice. I will put Dad’s chair beside me, even if there is very little room to maneuver. What I really need is a cage or four walkers, one on each side. A safety pendant might be a good idea, too. Here is one last question. Where is the wisdom that comes with age? I know the real answer. I’m not as old as I thought I was!