Notes From A Tripod

(Another take on my knee injury a couple posts back…)

The doctor reviews my MRI and informs me it’s a wear injury- a polite way of saying you’re getting old. The cartilage in my knee has worn thin from age and a simple turned ankle on a hike tore the meniscus which led to a stress fracture to the head of my femur.   “Stay off your knee for 4 months, non-weight bearing- crutches.  Watch that left hip.  It shows low bone density.  Don’t gain weight.   We’ll go from there.  No surgery, no easy fixes. See you after the first of the year.” Appointment concludes.  Crabby surgeon departs.  I remain in a state of shock.

What the doctor didn’t tell me is how to cope with this loss, this massive change in my life- no walking and no clear path to recovery, no dangling hope. All he sees is the injury and not the humanity surrounding it.  The quick fix laparoscopic surgery I expected disintegrated into months of recovery with no clear resolution.  My world shrinks from a universe to the size of an orange.  Will I get to walk or hike with my friends again?  Will I ever again see the tips of my cross-country skis cut through sparking snow?

Every day humans are faced with diagnoses, injuries, and other nasty things that upend their lives instantly.  It can be a lonely path to navigate.  Every day you’ve got to stave off the demons and keep on going, reframe your life, lower your expectations.  For me being a highly creative person and very goal-oriented, this is a challenge.  My big native plant garden project? – canceled until further notice.  Travel?  I don’t think so. Grocery shopping, housework?  NO. Cook?- barely.  This is my first major injury in six decades of living.  I am such a beginner

After weeks of flapping my wings against my cage, I’ve had to revise my life.

Focus on what I can do…

Get a new doctor (check)




Watch movies


Play guitar


Ride my bike

Get outside

Clean out some drawers



  • I have to remember to ask for help (hard).
  • I have to permit myself to pamper myself- hire a housekeeper, get a massage, buy audiobooks, get a therapist. (hard) 
  • Be humble- I just ordered a wheelchair as my back aches from weeks of crutches.
  • I have to allow myself some days of just being pathetic even though I know things could be worse. (easy)

I emerged from the doctor’s office that day feeling my mortality diminished

but still, I felt a pulse

and I had to drive home to beat traffic.

Said the tree to the sky

My limb is broken

I will have to find a new way

To dance with the wind

Artwork and poetry by the author

See my other blog on sustainable living at

17 thoughts on “Notes From A Tripod

  1. Dang! Dang! Dang!
    There’s my articulate reaction to your articulation dilemma.
    I once had a serious ankle break and total dislocation : cast, then crutches for over six months. I taught school through it all and I live in a tri-level home… by myself. You are much more creative and resourceful than I am, Alanna. You will be brilliant in this new challenge. Get ready to learn who you are in a very difficult situation. You will be surprised at your resilience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Madeline- So if no one presented a you with a medal for that you deserve one. Thanks for all your faith in me in this ridiculous situation. I hope I can live up to your expectations!


  2. This is challenging news. And you were injured doing what you love. You do have your writing, your art. I absolutely love that poem you wrote. You made such a wonderful analogy that I find comforting. See you are comforting others as you find a new normal for you. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my! I haven’t followed your blog Alanna – I should! Such good reflections on how our life seems to ‘shrink’ from an injury that affects our mobility. You are not alone. So many of my peers are struggling with this – but not as eloquently as you! I’ve had some PT experiences from falls myself, but so far things are healing. I have that osteoporosis big time & I wonder if & when it may begin to alter the quality of my life. I am so sorry you are going through all this. I agree – find another doctor. One that values your hiking life and is dedicated to your progress. Keep us all posted and take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Alanna, for sharing what so many of us experience in some way or another. Your frustration, pain, vulnerability, questions in the face of the unknown, all so important to acknowledge and share. I love your drawings – the “why me,” the pressure cooker, the wind vane…, your checklist, what you are learning (remember to ask for help – hard) – Thank you for your courage to show us your very many creative resources in action to face this challenge. Hugs to you, Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And thank you Sarah for giving me this affirmation for this post, one which I was hesitant to share as it laid deep my fear and insecurities. Hopefully it might help others when they face a similar situation.


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