Write In Between

Monday, November 06, 2006

Just call me "hippy"

Tomorrow I go to see a leading orthopedic surgeon to discuss total hip replacement. This is my fourth major consult on this subject. For four years now I've been limited in motion by pain from a degenerating hip. It is caused by bilateral hip dysplasia, a congenital deformity that is finally catching up with me here at mid-life. One hip is in poor shape and the other is starting to show symptoms. Finally we will be discussing not if, but, when this surgery will take place.

For months now I have longed for a precise diagnosis--having bounced around between doctors these past few years. Not every surgeon wants a hip patient in the their 40s. Now that I have a correct diagnosis and a competent doctor, I'm sad to know what it is and even less enthused about the corrective measures I need to take. And yet I need to do something as I'm getting worse. This past year I've endured two painful injuries that have resulted from my unsteady gait.

Already I have lost so much. Rolling over in bed can be painful. I can't wear fashionable shoes. I used to love to live in my loafers but no more. I used to walk vigorously for miles. Now a mile's walk feels too tough. I loved to hike outdoors in the woods, but now stable, flat terrain is mandated. The last mountain I climbed was in the summer of 2000. I used to take stairs two at a time. Now I gingerly watch my step and firmly use handrails. Riding my bike doesn't bring the same joy it once did. My exercise workout times have gone from 90 to 60 to 40 minutes. My weight has gone up 10, 20 and 30 pounds the past three years. (Now, I'm slowly reversing that thanks to Weight Watchers!) Sitting in the bleachers at my daughter's games can be punishing. A fall on the ski slope gives me pause. Worst of all, standing or even sitting and playing my guitar for anything close to an hour, can wreck me for hours afterwards. For these and other reasons, I should really seek the help I need. But I guess I'm just nervous and pessimistic -- like what if I'm worse after such a radical surgery? No one can really give me definite answers to these ponderings, I just have to weigh the risks and the benefits, and as you can see, I'm complaining enough, so alright already, let's get on with it.

It all makes me feel so much older than my years. I know several people who sing the praises of total hip replacement-- and all of them are 60+. I have yet to meet someone 45ish who has done it, but allegedly one of my girlfriends met a bartender who did and sang the praises of all things titanium. So if any of my readers have any hip replacement stories or any young friends who have had this procedure, I'd welcome those comments.

In the meantime, I'm searching my family calendar for open chunks of time in which to book this adventure in orthopedics. Lord knows the impact this will have on the whole family. Moms just ain't allowed sick days, you know.

If nothing else, this should give me some interesting material to write about in the coming months.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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2 Comments:

  • Pat, I have a good friend who's an ortho surgeon - I'm going to ask his opinion. If I were you though, I would schedule surgery tomorrow and get on with it - it's never going to be convenient and you might as well get going on the next phase of your life. Besides, maybe you're meant to write the book about youngsters and life after hip replacement!
    Book the appointment girlfriend - you deserve to live your life to the fullest.
    Lisa

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 AM  

  • ahh google!! I found a few spots for you to check out:

    http://www.topix.net/forum/health/hip-replacement/TVCBPN8KFTERBM5N9

    http://www.aboutstryker.com/hip/stories/joan.php

    http://www.pennhealth.com/bloodless/newsletter/fall04/success.html

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5381991

    Hope these help you feel encouraged!

    By Anonymous Margo of St. Mike's, at 10:32 AM  

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