DEAR ABBY: "Just Clumsy in Amarillo" (March 24) could be my twin. I am also a klutz who bruises easily. Years ago, when I was a brand-new EMT, my arms were so bruised and purple from lifting stretchers that co-workers started asking if my husband was beating me. Luckily, my husband, a submariner, was on patrol at that time so it let him off the hook.
My husband used to tell me the only reason he didn't worry too much about me at work was because I wore steel-toed boots, and he suggested I buy steel-toed flip-flops and slippers. I can walk through the house and trip over nothing at all. I once broke all the toes on one foot sliding off an exam table in a doctor's office.
Tell "Clumsy" to hang in there. She's not alone. Lord knows there are a lot of us klutzes out there and she's in good company. As long as she can keep a sense of humor about her condition, she'll be fine. -- ANOTHER KLUTZ IN UTAH
DEAR ANOTHER KLUTZ: I received many responses regarding being accident-prone. While many readers shared their "graceless" moments, others pointed out that it could be caused by a medical problem. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I have an inherited neuromuscular disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, also known as CMT. It is also called motor sensory neuropathy or peroneal muscular atrophy.
CMT affects the peripheral nerves. A common symptom is short wide feet with very high arches, weak ankles, and tripping over our own feet. Falling UP the stairs is what we do best. At family reunions, we sit around comparing our funny feet and the bruises from our frequent falls.
"Clumsy" should see a neurologist for nerve conduction testing. The extent of her frequent "accidents" and bruising is not normal, and she needs to know what the problem is. -- ESTHER, AN R.N. IN IDAHO
DEAR ABBY: You were right to tell "Clumsy" that she shouldn't avoid her friends as that would only increase their suspicions. However, she also needs to include her fiance more in their social activities. If her friends get to know him and discover that he is a kind and compassionate person who respects boundaries and knows how to control his temper, their suspicions of abuse will be allayed. -- CARLA IN VIRGINIA
DEAR ABBY: As a child, my mother always chided me to "watch out, pay attention and look where you are going." I had bruises all over from bumping into things. At 45, I learned from an ophthalmologist that I had NO depth perception. Now I understand why I must look down when stepping off curbs or drive five car lengths behind other cars, etc. "Clumsy" needs to get a thorough eye exam and have her depth perception measured. -- MADE SENSE OF IT
DEAR ABBY: I am 31 and have been clumsy all my life. I have fallen on ice a few times this winter, even though I tried to be very cautious. Thankfully, I have sustained only some bruises and a few pulled muscles -- no broken bones.
I, too, have seen the looks, rolled eyes and heard the sighs of concerned friends. It's hard not to become defensive when your friends might have a negative perception of your husband. I just smile and make playful reference to the fact that this has been going on far longer than I've known my husband.
To "Clumsy": Drink plenty of milk to keep your bones strong, and maintain a lighthearted attitude when the subject comes up. -- NOT-SO-GRACIE IN NEW YORK