I have fallen and I can’t get up

I had this bright idea to scrub the floor yesterday and since I’m a bit OCD, I chose to get down on the floor and lug my body along with a bucket of vinegar water across the room to ensure that every nook and cranny was cleaned.

I didn’t crawl around on my hands and knees as I would have done years ago. For me that’s an impossibility. I am unable to kneel due to numb and weak body parts. I just pull myself around backwards on my butt. I’m sure I am not the only person who does that. Surprisingly I am pretty good at it too. I’m actually better at that than I am at walking.

When I finished, it came time to get up from the floor. Now that’s a big deal. I am definitely more qualified at get down on the floor than I am at get up. The thing is, even though I know this fact about how my body functions, I still disregard it and find myself in these crazy predicaments without a planned solution to help me out.

It took me over 30 minutes to make my way off the floor. I tried all my normal tricks to no avail. I’m sure if there was a camera focused on me at the time, I would have resembled a beached whale in need of life support. I simply had no strength to pull myself up.

As I sat on the floor in tears and feeling defeated, I came close to calling a friend and asking them to leave work to help me off the floor, but my stubborn determination won out.

I remembered a video I had watched a few years back on how to get up from the floor MacGyver style! I used the “book method” since I had a nearby bookcase loaded with books. You have to watch the video to know what I mean, but I slipped books under my butt to slowly raise myself up to a height where I could pull myself onto my chair.

It took a bit of work, but I made it. I did nothing the rest of the day, but felt proud of myself for the accomplishment. It’s funny to me the things that make me feel proud lately. Getting up from the floor may seem trivial to a majority of people, but for me it was monumental.

Don’t avoid asking for help. If someone had been home with me, I would have surely had them help me get up, but sometimes you are the only one around and you have no other choice. You have to push through and figure out a way to make things work.

Never let a moment of defeat cause you to give up. We may have to do things differently than a majority of the population, but with a bit of creativity, ingenuity and determination anything is possible.

Now today is nail clipping day. That’s another task that takes some ingenuity and creativity for me to complete. I wonder if there is a MacGyver option for that too.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero


12 replies
  1. Roland R Clarke
    Roland R Clarke says:

    Interesting post and video although I am pretty beached when I fall. I fell out of my wheelchair doing a transfer on Monday, and my wife is unable to lift me back up. Fortunately, her grandaughter was able to come and get me back in the chair. We do also have a Hoya lift otherwise.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope for this scenario. I can’t do this as it is hard for me to even sitting up as my balance is shot to pieces and most areas are taboo for me. Last weekend I had a fall at the holiday motel we were staying at. It was a hot day and the tarmac was very hot and as I started to get out the cat I put my bare feet on the hot ground and it hurt. So I couldn’t put any weight on them so I feel over and couldn’t get up. so my wife got the man in charge of the place to help me and this he did. Now I know if the ground is hot or unsuitable then some things need to be done to help me.

  3. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Although I can walk assissted by a cane or the walls, I can’t get back off the floor when I need to do something down there or when I land there unexpectedly. I read your blog posts regularly, although I am often brought to tears, this is the first time the post was so spot on (and helpful) I decided I must comment. I recently started wearing an Apple Watch because it has hard fall detection (I live alone but I have renters in the other side of the duplex I own and they look out for me), but sometimes I just need to get off the floor since I am down there ( doing something I shouldn’t like previous commenters). I often feel embarrassed or weak when I struggle with this, and I needed to hear I’m not the only one, and the tips are very helpful. I know many people tell you this, but thanks for “being there” today.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  4. Donna
    Donna says:

    Thank you so much for the film! I’ve fallen a few times and watching the video empowered me as laying on the floor like a beached whale and crying is usually my coping strategy until I can get myself across the floor to a staircase and swing my legs over and down for leverage to stand. Only works with a down staircase though.
    The most empowering thing about this film is watching someone normalize a situation where I feel totally isolated and abandoned and embarrassed. I CAN do that! I’ve done that before and it worked for me but it’s a very long haul before you get to the final step of freedom when you can place your feet to the floor and stand! Watching this shows me the strength and ability I’m using rather than feeling stupid in the floor! I too have spasticity in both legs and cannot kneel. I didn’t realize I wasn’t the only one! I also have weight issues! What this film shows me is that I DO have power and control in some areas and I darn well need to use it! Physical therapy once a week has been a life saver!
    Thank you so much for this film Paula!!!

  5. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    Oh boy, can I ever relate. I’m super strong willed and independent. No one likes to ask for help doing everything, it’s exhausting for those around us. I don’t know about others with these struggles but I try to ask only for help with things that are impossible for me. Everything else I do. My technique oftentimes is insane and I find myself in all kinds of predicaments. I try to be stealth and catlike. We all know how that is when you have MS. I’m usually trying to avoid getting busted by a family member doing something i shouldn’t attempt!! It’s exhausting trying to get up. I try to calm myself because I find I’m suddenly flooded with crazy emotions. I’m angry, frustrated, sad, yet determined! Thank you for sharing the video. I will watch it a few more times. Those of us that are crazy strong willed and stubborn will benefit from the video as well as anyone else that finds themself in a spot they never thought they would end up. Thanks again for sharing!! xoxo

  6. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    Sooo relatable! I had this happen recently when I fell trying transfer from toilet to wheelchair Christmas morning. Hubby was there to help but just as this happens hear his brother call him fromNY and as i was ok just sat on floor and let him talk. I was able scoot along floor and get out nail clippers to clip my toenails that bafly needed to be done! I’ve done what you have to do floors but as i can’t get up off flloor into power wheelchair anymore I’m just angry alot at what can’t do! Thankfully hubby is here now to help.

    • Peggy
      Peggy says:

      As far as suggestions on toenail clipping I have a time with that! Sometimes when on toilet can pull feet to knees & clip. Used stool to lay foot on while on wheelchair too. But yhinking my Mom’s idea of going to nail salons & getting pedicures is best idea…just haven’t tried it yet.

  7. Lynne Houck
    Lynne Houck says:

    Thank you for this helpful video. I have MS. Many times I have gotten down to do a chore and then I can’t get back up. If my husband wasn’t home, I sometimes tried for 15 minutes to get up. This was exhausting. I will try using some of these techniques. I have also shared this on my Facebook page. 🤗🤗🤗💕💕💕

  8. me
    me says:

    did the same thing at Christmas, got down to lay the fire, and clean out the grate, then found myself stuck on floor. people were around to ask, but mother has alzheimers and forgets I have MS, if I tell her she gets upset. So I had to get up alone, 4 spaniels weren’t that helpful other than trying to look after me. shuffled to a chair for supporting my hands. 30 mins later I was perched on edge of it. bit scary but I got there, needed a little rest, but did it. feeling of joy so big. keep positive. now have neighbour with key if I get stuck

  9. Leah
    Leah says:

    I can really relate to you and this issue. I fall frequently, unfortunately my legs are of no help to get up when due to severe spasticity. As you mentioned, going on my knees is extremely painful and again with spasticity, all the more difficult. I am lucky though because my husband works close to home, so in the event of a fall, he comes home and picks me up. I always have a portable phone or my cell phone nearby for just these reasons. Thank you for the video…I’ll attempt to make more of an effort to get up with these tips next time I fall. Bravo for getting up on your own…what an accomplishment!

  10. Stephen Harris
    Stephen Harris says:

    Yeah, all due respect to McGuyver and to you, but when I find myself down there, I struggle for a few minutes, and then, before every last ounce of strength leaves me, I say f*ck it, and call The Oh-Oh Squad. Within minutes, there are firefighters in my room to haul me back into my chair. Then I bake them a batch of brownies.

  11. Joelle Wells
    Joelle Wells says:

    I have the same problem getting up from the floor. My wonderful standard poodle, June, is my saving grace. When I say “home” she comes to my side and allows me to pull myself up using her strength. She’s a dedicated lady and don’t know what I’d do without her by my side.


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