(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)
Ride my bike
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 OneSweetEarth.blog