Because I was over 70 years old, when I last renewed my driver’s license, I was required to take the written test. California’s Division of Motor Vehicles issues a manual that reviews the rules and regulations considered essential in safe driving. Although many of the points made are intuitive, I did learn something new by reading the booklet: There is really no such thing as an accident. Even if a collision is unexpected and unintended, when an accident occurs, it is invariably the case that one or both drivers disobeyed some rule of safe driving. That motorist may have violated the speed limit, may have went through a red light or may have tried to stop, but could not, due to faulty brakes.
When two cars crash, as would be likely in any of the above situations, because neither of the drivers meant it to happen, we refer to it as an accident. But the occurrence of the accident is the result of one or both of the motorists proceeding in a dangerous or unsafe manner that could have been avoided. I recently had an “accident” of a different nature that I could have avoided if I had taken a simple safety step prior to it happening.
As the years have gone by, I have had increasing difficulty in staying asleep, without waking up with the urge to urinate. I find many of my friends, in the same age cohort, to have similar problems. The separate bathrooms my wife and I have provide us with sufficient space to not bump heads, especially, when we are getting ready to go somewhere. My bathroom is adjacent to our bedroom that makes it necessary for me to walk a few steps out of the bedroom.
Three nights ago, I took a sleeping pill that I do not use regularly, fell asleep fairly quickly and woke up around 3 a.m. In the past, I had never had any difficulty in reaching my bathroom as it is quite close to our bedroom. When I arose from my bed and headed to the toilet in the pitch dark, half-asleep, I felt disoriented and off balance. I was more confused than dizzy, and in my awkward attempt to walk straight without careening, I tripped and keeled over making a loud thud upon hitting the floor. I immediately could feel a streak of pain shoot through two areas of my body: my rear end and the left side of my lower back. When I tried to right myself and stand, I could not, at which point I called my wife who heard me fall, and she assisted in getting me back on my feet and returning to our bed.
In my drowsy state, I had gone a few steps past the bathroom that caused me to trip over one of the two steps leading into the living room. You know when you break a bone and, fortunately, I had not done that. Besides which, I was lucky that I had not banged my head against either of the two surrounding walls where I fell. Three days later I am still experiencing the pain in my back but it is not incapacitating and, I’m quite sure, will go away, hopefully, sooner than later. Since the “accident,” I have put a night light in the bathroom that neither of us can see from where we sleep. It is a very small change but it will certainly eliminate the risk of this same mishap in the future. My misadventure reminds me of the saying we can all heed: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”