I Had a Stupid, Scary Spill, but It Could Have Been Much Worse

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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Actually, I spit out a shorter, one-syllable word as I took one of the scariest tumbles I’ve had in 40 years of living with MS. But this is a family column.

My last scary fall a few years ago happened from a sitting position, and I fell onto the carpet. This one happened while I was standing, and I tumbled onto the concrete floor of the parking garage at my apartment house. I’m OK, but I don’t know how. I was being just plain stupid.

The other day, I’d repaired some wiring on the lightweight scooter I keep in the back of my SUV. A few days later, I was heading to a haircut appointment and thought I’d check out the scooter to be certain that everything was OK before leaving for the mall.

I took my little TravelScoot out of the SUV’s cargo area, but left the seat behind, thinking I didn’t need to sit on it to test it. I’d just twist the motorcycle-like throttle on the handlebar and make sure the scooter moved. It did move, but then I thought I’d give it another twist just to play it safe.

To quote Julia Roberts in the movie “Pretty Woman,” “Big mistake. Big. Huge!”

Down to the pavement I go

I gave the throttle too much of a twist, and the scooter scooted. So did I. Before I knew it, the scooter had yanked away, and down I went — hard — onto my right side.

How nothing was broken I don’t know. The only damage was a very minor scrape to my hand and the bruising of my pride. Good thing nobody was around to see me flounder. Also, bad thing nobody was around, as I had to get up without having anything to grab onto.

My two canes were leaning against the SUV, which was about 2 yards away. My aluminum scooter was closer, but it’s too light to use as support. Somehow, I slowly managed to get onto my hands and knees. I don’t remember how, but I was able to move to the rear of the car, probably by crawling, and then I used the bumper to yank myself up.

I know about falling. I know how to fall and how to limit the damage if I do. But this time, I thought I was a goner. In those few seconds of free falling, I had flashes of an ambulance and a trip to the hospital. But down on the ground, when I checked out my body, I was amazed to discover that all of the parts were in place, and a call to 911 wouldn’t be necessary.

I’m stupid, lazy, and lucky. Somebody up there must be watching over me.

Just when you think it can’t get worse

That’s not the end of the story, though. After putting away the scooter and getting into the SUV, I turned the key.

“Click, click, click, click.”

A dead battery!

There would be no haircut that day. That would come later, along with a jump-start and the idea for this column.

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.  


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Ruth Hoham avatar

Ruth Hoham

Glad to hear you’re OK - I know the feeling and being glad no one was witnessing it!

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Thanks, Ruth. I think we've all been there, done that but this spill was really stupid. I was just asking for trouble...but I'm good at that.


Anita avatar


I know how that feels. Glad you made it! I’m still walking w/ a limp but happy that I’m walking. My most recent fall was w/ my dog-a Frenchie about 30 lbs and built like a linebacker. I was walking him and I have an extension leash that goes out 16’. I was almost home-10 steps from the driveway. I moved my leash from right hand to left as I was approaching my mailbox. My dog found a small seed pod cover from a palm tree. Grabbed it in his mouth and took off running behind me. He wanted to play. Instead of dropping the leash, I tried to turn around to get control. He ran off to my right and extended the leash all the way pulling me hard and I landed flat on my back. My wrist, elbow and butt took the hit. Same as you, no one saw. I laid there on my back saying oh, no. Took me about 30 seconds.I sat up first and said ok. So far, so good. Then I tried pushing myself up w/ my hands. I couldn’t do it. Pain. I said to myself, how the hell am I going to get up? I scooched on my butt to the cul de sac circle to get out of the street. I then rolled over on my hands and knees. Again, I couldn’t push myself up. I tried then making fists as opposed to having my palms flat and pushed up. That worked. I was shaken but walked myself to my house. My wrist hurt but I thought I was ok. About 2 hours later, it was throbbing. Bad pain and swelling. Went to urgent care in am. Ended up no fracture, just sprain. Had a splint for a couple weeks but I made it! I should wear knee and elbow pads when I walk!

I have had other falls w/ my dog. I have two and it forces me to walk which is good. I take them out separately for better control. But I do have to be careful and really watch what I’m doing.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Sorry for the delayed response, Anita. My wife and I have spent the past week traveling to Florida and then unpacking boxes in our condo.

That's quite some story and I'm glad that your injury was no worse than a sprain. When we had a Cocker Spaniel I "walked him using my scooter. It's the only way that I could and I'm glad you still can. But, have you ever thought about putting a 25 pound limit on your pooches???



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