The Magic Chair (and a Note on Steve the Cat)

I’m told that health is what old people talk about, but I’ll report on mine anyway. Having written one post about falling, I think a second on the topic is warranted. I don’t want people to think I spend all my time crashing to the floor or calling the fire department.

Last week, I stopped taking Valium for insomnia and I haven’t fallen since. I use the walker with confidence. David no long trails me around the house.

He requires me to ride in the wheel chair from the house to the car, and I comply without complaint. I know he has visions of another tumble and doesn’t want to have to deal with the aftermath. I don’t blame him. He had PT for sciatica several months ago and doesn’t want to do that again.

Three days ago, I received the magic chair and like it, although since I’m steadier, I haven’t had to use it. Except once, when lack of Valium kept me awake all night and the next day I felt a little shaky. It seemed a good time to employ the device. After all, that’s why I got it. (After David said I needed it.)

The technician who delivered it was a delightful man. He gave us lots of information, including the fact that dogs, cats, and grandchildren love to ride on it. We have no grandchildren and no dogs, and the cats have shown no interest in going anywhere near it. That’s a relief. I was afraid Ernest would try to eat it, as he ate part of my old exercycle and offered to eat my little foot/arm bike. 

I tried out the chair while the technician was here and decided it wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. I guess I’d been expecting it to be like a horse, but no other vehicle is as much fun as a horse. And my knee surgeon won’t let me ride one anyway.

So I settled for admiring the chair from across the room. It really is most attractive.

I told David he could navigate and I would stand on the back.

He has become a skilled driver, although he says he has a way to go.

He hasn’t mastered turning around without clipping nearby objects. Fortunately, the only casualty has been a cardboard box containing 3-ring binders that was sitting near my recliner.

I’m not so competent. That shaky day, I drove from the bedroom to the living room and made it across the room to retrieve the hole punch from the bookcase, and back to my real chair, made a 180-degree turn, all without incident. No running into doors or the column in the dining room or anything.

Then I did what I knew I should not do. I drove it into the bathroom. It’s a large enough room to accommodate the machine; nevertheless, I managed to scrape the door and knock most of the paint off the walls. On the trip to the sink, I forgot my bare feet rested on the foot thingy, and I ran my toes under the cabinet doors. And yelled, “Ouch.”

I later told David that when I say, “Ouch,” that loudly, he’s supposed to break in and rescue me.

(I started to write loud in the previous sentence but changed to loudly for the sake of correctness. I taught English, and some of my students might read this. Loud, however, is the right word.)

Warning: The next paragraph contains possibly sickening detail.

To quote an aunt, I sat there in excruciating pain. One big toenail was split across, and the other toe split above the cuticle. They bled like a stuck hog.

I’ve never seen a stuck hog, but I take the word of those who have.

I drove out with less grace than I’d driven in. David got out Band-aids and the Neosporin and taped me up, and I put on socks, and David draped ice packs across my toes. I swore I’d never wear shoes again.

I also swore I would never use the chair again.

And I named it The Spawn of Satan.

Oddly enough, the toe pain quickly subsided. The next morning, preparing to go somewhere I wanted to go, I put on shoes. They didn’t hurt either. Neither did walking. 

When I removed the bandages, the toes looked fine. Nothing was split, and there were no scars. I rebandaged them. I may soak them in Epsom salt anyway. Just in case I missed something.

In fairness, I withdrew the label Spawn of Satan. The wreck was not its fault. I shouldn’t have taken it into a small room. I should have practiced. I should have worn shoes.

I’d thought about asking the technician if I should wear shoes but didn’t. I didn’t want to hear the answer.

I’ve never believed in wearing shoes.

The moral of my story: Stay off the Valium, use the walker slowly and carefully, let David follow if he wants, and continue to admire the magic chair from across the room. 


I heard about an 84-year-old woman who frequently falls. Her daughter figured out she’s falling because she likes having the firemen visit. The firemen said they don’t mind and that if it becomes a problem, they’ll say something.

I’ve always been a pretty good faller. My fourth-grade teacher said if you relax when you fall, you’re less likely to break a bone, and Mrs. Fricke had a habit of being right. So I relax. I’ve never collapsed. I go down full-length. Mrs. Fricke didn’t mention the possibility of hitting one’s head on a blunt object. So far I’ve been lucky.


My short stories have been published in the anthologies Murder on Wheels, Lone Star Lawless, and Day of the Dark, and online in Mysterical-E. I’ve also published a novella, Stabbed, co-written with Manning Wolfe. The books and the novella are available in both paperback and ebook.

My cozy mystery shows signs of being finished in the near future. A main character is named Steve the Cat. He is a cat.




5 thoughts on “The Magic Chair (and a Note on Steve the Cat)

  1. So sorry your toes were injured! The chair is lovely – All you need is a tiara and Ernest on your lap! Glad you are more steady (for the most part) – Great post!


  2. What a story! I admire your ability to have a sense of humor about the SoS. It might be kindling out back of the barn if it was at my house. Big hugs, but wear shoes.


  3. Your writing makes me smile so much. I love that you can see the humor even in pain. During our recent move, I dropped a shoe rack on my bare toe and it hurt so bad! I was sure it was broken/crushed/severed. Within 24 hours, it felt fine, but it did turn a lot of pretty colors over the next several days, so that got me a little sympathy.


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