Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

August 20, 2013

Could You Take A Hard Fall?

Filed under: Back pain, General Health & Wellness — Tags: , , , , , — doctordilday @ 2:26 pm
InnerSpace Caves in Texas

InnerSpace Caves in Texas

While in Austin last week the three of us took a tour of the Inner Space Caves, a series of limestone caves that runs for miles in all directions just 50 feet or so below the surface.

I didn’t size up our tour group of about twenty people but later when I looked them over I realized that predicting the weak link would not have been hard.

We slowly descended into the dimly lit cave guided by an enthusiastic 20-something who warned us about hitting our heads on the sometimes low ceiling. Inside the temperature was in the mid-seventies, the humidity was the same – so it was damp, the floor was wet.

In places where the eight foot wide trail dipped down there were rugs placed on the ground, the kind you get at Costco to put outside the front door of a business. I didn’t see how they were attached but when I stepped on the first several I made sure that it wouldn’t slip: they were secure.

The floor was otherwise uneven, wet rock. I was wearing toe shoes with rubber bottoms so I was aware that I needed to be careful on the steeper parts of the path where I could not walk on the rug.

Halfway into the 20 minute descent I noticed a commotion up ahead. A 60-something grandmother with her daughter and granddaughter had nearly fallen. All the usual words were said, and then they moved on. The woman had on tennis shoes. The good support and wide base would have been a great choice any place but here; the hard rubber bottoms were even slicker than mine because they were so hard. She was average height but obese, clearly “out of shape” and she was wearing bifocal glasses.

While mentally doing the math on how many heath conditions this woman likely has (and therefore how many prescriptions – think side effects like dizziness), and how poor her balance probably is under the best of conditions (most people have no idea how poor their balance is), I watched her from behind for a while, and noticed how much difficulty she was really having. Embarrassment likely kept her from asking for more help, and she assured her daughter that she was Ok more than once. I don’t think anyone else even noticed, but I positioned myself next to her just in case. (I don’t like First Aid – after the fact – heroics at all which is one reason I pay attention in situations like this in the first place.)

The daughter was up ahead a ways with the granddaughter when the woman finally fell. Catching her so that she didn’t hit the ground, I suggested that the daughter take a hold of her as they walked so that she could provide some support. She didn’t let go until we were all the way back out of the cave, so I stopped paying attention. It all happened in less than ten seconds and we didn’t make much of a fuss so, again, few people noticed. The guide didn’t.

Slowly we descended. On the way out the 20-something guide continued what was a normal walking pace for him. It was all up hill though, and others were not so spry, including the 60-something woman who had stability issues. Several people were winded.

I asked the guide how often they have to call the aid car for people touring the cave who have trouble of one kind or another. He said that they don’t call the aid car too often, but that they have a tram that they send down to bring people up now and then (what else could he say, right?). I’ll bet they do.

The poor light, the wet slippery floor, the hard bottom rubber tennis shoes, and the distinct lack of awareness all conspired to make this woman’s tour a seriously dangerous event. I was happy to be useful and glad that she wasn’t a fall statistic that day.

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