I normally know what to expect after a fall, but not this time

When bruising with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome didn't go according to pattern

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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Every time I think I’ve gotten a handle on the patterns of my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), I’m pretty sure the universe laughs at me. Oh, you think you have it figured out? What about this? That’s pretty much what happened last week when I found myself surprised following a stumble.

I got home from work in the evening and found an Amazon box on my porch. Great! Who doesn’t love finding a package when they get home? I let the dogs out, and they happily bounced around the yard as I went in to put my bags down and get settled.

I came back out to the porch, grabbed the box, and opened it while the dogs explored. I love watching them play in the yard, so I was only half paying attention when I went to toss the now broken-down box into the bigger one that holds all the ones that need to be recycled. That toss was my downfall. Literally.

As I took a step to make it, I tripped over a leg of the chair that sits on the front porch. Ack. I struggled to right myself and tried not to fall, but ended up landing on top of a cooler I keep there for when I get local produce deliveries.

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A prominent bruise has a plus side for EDS awareness

Waiting on the bruise to show up

To be honest, the landing was relatively graceful. I didn’t crash hard, and I didn’t fall backward over the cooler. I basically wound up sitting semi-awkwardly on top of it, but I could feel that one of those killer EDS-style bruises was going to show on the place of my leg that hit the cooler’s edge. I felt that distinct type of pain that told me the bruise would be “one of those.”

But by the evening, basically nothing on my leg was visible. It hurt like one of those awful bruises, but all I could see was a light purple line that no one would notice without knowing where to look.

I was baffled. I’m almost never wrong about when I’ll get one of those over-the-top, deep purple, superpainful bruises, but apparently this time I was.

Occasionally, a bruise can take a little longer to develop, so I figured I’d see what it looked like the next morning. Fast forward to the following day, when it looked more or less identical to how it appeared the night before. Just a light line, but with a little bit of swelling and plenty of pain.

One of the ways I manage my EDS is by working to understand its patterns. It’s kind of how I work in general. I’ve always noticed patterns in data or people’s behavior, for instance. Therefore, it’s just second nature for me to organize my EDS issues in the same way.

As a result, I have a pretty good sense about what to avoid and what I can tolerate. But every once in a while, EDS throws me a curveball. Why? I have no idea. And long ago I realized that if I stress about trying to figure it out, I’ll go nuts. I’ve learned instead to laugh it off, take note of it for later, and get on with my day.

Note: Ehlers-Danlos News 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 another 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 Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.


Dorrit Barrett avatar

Dorrit Barrett

I, too, try to monitor myself, when things happen. I have cEDS and of course the scars to prove it. But I have spent years - 78 in all - on finding alternatives to what is the run-ogf-the-mill treatments. For one thing I no longer use the emergency rooms when my skin splits. I pull the edges of the wound together with streistrips or butterflies and leave the it in peace till it has healed. Result: next to no scarring. I have nemed the procedure Grin and Barrett.
I have written an autobiogrphy, One in Thousands - my life as a rarity. And have a webpage that is still in its early stages myedslife.com

Shandra S avatar

Shandra S

My Dermatologist has me superglue them. Works great.

Connie Chiasson-Douglass avatar

Connie Chiasson-Douglass

How do we get rid of brain fog, sleep issues, gut issues, ears ringing etc?

Shandra S avatar

Shandra S

I completely relate to this. In fact, I had a fall last month on my first day of the two-week trip to Scotland. I thought it was just going to be bruising. I had already broken two other bones this year from EDS. I knew what they felt like. I went to the ER, I broke my shoulder. No cast. I spent the next 6 weeks with my foot hurting, it was broken as well. And my knee has a weird injury that no one can figure out, and the shoulder is still healing. EDS, I stopped trying to figure it out, because there are no patterns, except my distraction level.

Bill Kakish avatar

Bill Kakish

I've been falling since I was 4. I'm now 71. All falls are dangerous. I was paralyzed from the neck down after one of them. I have a hypermobile neck that displayed no bruising after a car accident and hurt like hell that forced me to wear a cervical collar for a year. Everyone thought I was faking, until I injured the same spot on my spinal column in a fall that paralyzed me. I recovered. Three weeks in the hospital, a spinal fusion, and ten weeks of intensive rehab got me walking again, but it was a full 2 years before I could function normally. Just because there is no bruise is no indicator of the damage we do to our bodies. I'm an expert at falls. I've fallen in front of everyone I know and all my family and even all of my daughter's in-laws. Down stairs, under buses, in front of moving trucks, tripping over my own two feet when my leg drags and just for no reason at all. So get it checked out, If the pain doesn't clear in two days (the guideline from my PT), you may have a major injury, or one that will be major in the next fall.

Harriet Yeo avatar

Harriet Yeo

This happened to me the other week. My EDS related vascular fragility means that I can get one of ‘those bruises’ from muscle spasm but I whacked my leg really hard and barely a mark, like yourself! Like you too I just scratched my head and carried on. The one thing that you can say about EDS is that it keeps you on your toes.


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