By Sue Scheible, The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.
WEYMOUTH - If Dot Anderson was going break her hip while skiing at age 90, at least she could have done it when she was going down the slope.
But Anderson met a different fate. She joined a weekend downhill ski trip with the Top of the Hill Gang of New England, "energetic adults 50 and older," and that's just where she was Jan. 22 at the top of the hill at Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont. She was getting off the ski lift when she "miscalculated," stepped sideways and toppled over. She felt no pain but when she went to get up, her left leg was limp and "wouldn't do anything." "It was a big goof," she said this past weekend, seated in her living room. "I've been skiing since I was a teenager."
She was taken to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital where surgeon Michael Wack performed a partial hip replacement, inserting a titanium ball in the top of the hip joint. "The Mount Snow Ski Patrol and hospital staff were wonderful," she said. After a four-day stay, her daughters Shirin Anderson, of California, and Lynn Tribble, of Plymouth, drove her home to North Weymouth, where she is recovering and counting the days until she can get out again. While she can walk normally, she has to be careful to not raise her leg more than 90 degrees and not cross her legs when sitting. She uses pole grippers to pick up things and put on her socks.
Always on the go before the mishap, she is "reading some good books" and keeping busy with her volunteer work with the group that opposes the natural gas compressor in North Weymouth. She has been active in protests against the proposed natural gas compressor station for four years. "Dot is quite quite the spirited elder!" said Eva Borsody Das of Hull who knows Anderson from the protests. When she turned 90 on Sept. 14, Anderson said she believed that "you are only as old as you feel" and that she felt like skiing, hiking, joining civic protests, serving as an elder ombudsman, keeping up longtime friendships and making new ones. That hasn't changed, although at her daughters' urging, she may replace the downhill skiing with cross-country outings from now on at the South Shore Country Club in Hingham. Her advice for others who enjoy an activity is "Don't stop. That's the scary part. If you stop it is hard to get going again. "We'll see how it goes. If you still have that interest and the joy of getting out and doing things, you don't feel old. You feel like you want to keep doing it."