• Ashley Rippentrop

Fall Risk in Aisle 4

I was at the grocery store this past weekend in the gluten free section and picked up a box of fig-filled cookies (brand Jovial). A woman next to me comments, "There's nothing jovial about it. About anything gluten free." We laughed and she proceeded to tell me which brands she liked and which she didn't.

We talked about her struggles with having to go gluten free, how it affects her life, and how difficult it can be to find things at the store that actually taste delicious. She was a pleasure to chat with and quite humorous.

We'd been chatting for maybe 3-4 minutes, and I started to feel a bit more lightheaded and dizzier than usual. I knew where this was going. Next came the increased cognitive issues, brain fog and headache getting worse. My standing threshold was about up and I knew I had to sit down ASAP or my body would make me. I realized I'd forgotten my portable stool at home so it was either I get out of this situation as fast as possible or I am going to have to straight up sit down in the middle of this grocery aisle.

I didn't want to get out of the conversation just yet as I was really enjoying our chat, but I also didn't think sitting on the floor of the grocery store would make a great first impression. So I slowly began to pivot my body around her as if to motion my escape in a nice way and thanked her for her tips.

Lessons learned:

- Avoid getting into lengthy conversations while at the grocery store unless you're by a bench or have a means to sit

- Always bring portable stool to the grocery store

Advice to all my fellow POTSies when going to the grocery store:

Be as quick and efficient as you can, even if that means mapping it out ahead of time. Keep moving because the moment you're caught standing for too long, you may be at risk for a faint or other increased symptoms. Always bring water and your meds. Invest in a portable stool or chair, especially if the check out line is long. I got this GCI fold up one from Amazon and it fits right in my purse. I strongly recommend one of these or something like it because then you'll have a chair wherever you go!

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