My left hip hurts. It hurt before I got hit by a car. It has hurt worse since. I had an x-ray about 6 months before the accident. The radiologist report said “mild arthritis.” Everybody over 30 has arthritis. It didn’t seem important. I got physical therapy. My hip was more comfortable. Which is one reason I was out biking to my yoga class the day I got hit.
In the hospital, before I woke up, they x-rayed everything. Again the radiologist report came back “mild arthritis.” Again I went to physical therapy. My PT told me to do the Egoscue exercises. If I do them daily (which I’ve only skipped once in the past year) I can walk. I can climb stairs. I can ride my bike. But, I’ve been needing to put on more and more wintergreen cream. And lately there have been days when I needed DMSO.
I went to see a Sports Doc. I brought him the 19 month old x-rays from the hospital. He took one look at the hip x-ray and said I have “a lot of arthritis.” He said I’m going to need a hip replacement within the decade. And he’s sending me for an MRI next week to see what else might be going on.
Yipes! I thought if you knew how to read an x-ray, it was like reading a book. Different people would still see the same thing. Apparently not. So, now I’ve gone from healthy exercise junky to impending disaster, all because of different readings of the same x-ray.
The scary thing is that I suspect the disaster reading may be more accurate. Okay – I admit it – I don’t feel old. Health problems are for other people. I come from a family with longevity. I take care of other people when they are sick or hurt. Aging and its attendant problems were never on my list of how to spend my old age, any more than learning to play cards or watching soap operas. I was going to get gray hair and wrinkles and one day I would not wake up.
I was upset enough about spending time in the hospital after being hit by a car – but that is not outside my view of life. A hip replacement? Me? Why not put my brain into a robot body and be done with it? Okay, the technology for that doesn’t exist yet.
I was upset about taking time to heal when I got mugged, but that is not outside my view of life.
To learn that my hip is going to quit on me. That I’m going to voluntarily go into a hospital and ask to be cut up – that is totally outside of anything I ever considered. I need a whole new image of myself. I am a mortal machine with replaceable parts? After all the time and energy I’ve put into maintaining the parts I have, this is going to be a difficult thing to wrap my mind around. I don’t know if a decade is enough time. And I don’t know if I have a decade.