Growing Old is Not for Sissies….

Each morning, when we get up, my husband and I look at each other and remark that growing old is not for sissies. An incident Tuesday proved it. We’d been at a son’s house for dinner, and when we came out onto his back deck, it was dark and drizzling. I missed a step, and went down hard on a brick walk, fracturing my pelvis and clavicle.

I’m posting this from the hospital, and it looks as if I’ll need a couple of weeks in a rehab facility before going home. It will heal and I’ll be fine–but it will take some time, and it requires juggling a lot of commitments and inconveniencing a lot of people. (If I miss a day or two of posting–which I hope won’t happen, but may–you’ll know why.)

When something like this happens, it not only interrupts the habits and daily flow of life, it also prompts some unwelcome thinking about growing older and the fragility of life. On the other hand, it’s a reminder of what’s really important–family, friends, and meaningful work.

But you can never entirely take the nerdiness out of someone who teaches public policy, so this was also an occasion to be grateful for good health insurance, and to wonder–once again–why efforts to extend that same peace of mind to others evokes so much resistance. A fall like mine could bankrupt someone without coverage–a missed step on a rainy night could mean loss of a home, savings, the ability to send a child to college.

Why would anyone fight to continue a system like that?

On Facebook a couple of days ago, someone posted a picture of a hat shaped like the one Donald Trump has been wearing–the one he emblazoned with “Make America Great Again.” This one, however, had a different ¬†and far better sentiment.

Make America Kind Again.


  1. Sheila, please hurry and get well! You are our daily dose of rational in an otherwise crazy and topsy-turvy world! Wishing you the best, along with all these other admirers of yours!

  2. No kidding!
    Maybe down, but not out. Thoughtful voices like yours are essential. We await your next post, though we can’t be demanding at a time like this. Heal well.

  3. Sorry to hear of your fall, Sheila — hope you get better soon and return to full action…
    Andy Emerson

  4. Shelia: My best for a speedy recovery. I have had the same thoughts on many occasions. We are fortunate to have the health insurance we need. All Americans should feel as secure. Amen. Ruel

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with your statements and point of view. Get well soon!

  6. Yikes!!
    All the best to you in your recovery! As someone who spent 14 years working on an inpatient rehab unit I absolutely agree with the commenter who said to always take your pain medication before therapy. (Preferably a half an hour or so before you begin!)

    Push yourself, but be kind to yourself right now and you’ll be up and running the show again before you know it!

  7. Wishing you a speedy, recovery! Get some rest and kno that we are all thinking about you!

  8. Hmmm. Topics been on my mind very heavily. Growing old is certainly not for sissies – but it beats alternatives. Sounds like a near miss and somewhat lucky it wasn’t worse. See ya soon and follow directions as long as you can stand it. Hmmm

  9. As a high school teacher I constantly tell my students being a grownup is so overrated. Don’t rush take your time enjoy being a teenage, a lot of times its not fun being an adult. And now with regards to getting old OMG! you are so right it is not for sissies, at times it really sucks. My mind say jump, run and my body says ” you better not, if you know what’s good for you”, lol- get well soon and remember the struggle continues.

  10. No way a tumble and broken bones could keep you down! Still, sending healing thoughts and good juju for a speedy recovery.

  11. I took a fall last year that required my first trip in an ambulance. What was scary was the realization that this could have easily happened at time when I was alone and invisible to anyone else. I was thankful to have my husband there. Consider all the elderly women who live alone. I begin to understand their fear and anxiety. Getting old is not for the faint of heart.

    I hope your recovery is swift and as painless as possible.

  12. Take care and get well soon. I so agree with you and wonder how people who campaign on getting rid of Obamacare can live with themselves. I know it isn’t perfect, but it is better than what was before. Let’s work on fine-tuning it and vote against those that have convinced the people that need healthcare most to vote against those that support it.

  13. Thank you, Sheila, for your thoughtful, intelligent and often instructive blog posts. I love reading and learning from you.

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