A while back I thought, hey, my eroding right hip has started to cause me a lot of pain, like constantly, and I have to lean harder on my cane every passing month. And I’m kinda tired of having one leg shorter than the other, which wasn’t the case before but which is what happens when the cartilage all wears away and the bone underneath starts grinding away bit by bit.
Yep, time for a hip replacement. The specialist who is doing it thought it was past time — “you want to see this thing? It’s quite a sight.” is how I recall him putting it (my memory may not be perfect, but that was the sense of it).
BUT WAIT NOT YET. Because on the other hip, the good one, there was a spot of dead or dying bone. Necrosis. I expected that kind of thing out of my black sheep jerk of a right hip, but not my golden good boy left hip. Geez.
So on Thursday, two days from my writing this, I go in for a “core decompression” on the hip I thought was a nice guy who wasn’t going to give me any trouble, because the osteo specialist figures it’s a good idea to safeguard the health of the better one before replacing the one we already know is getting hacked out with a saw later.
This is a low risk procedure, but of course I’m still a tad anxious. If I croak you’d better buy lots of books so my kids will be able to afford college. I’m counting on you!
(and I’ll see y’all back here after the surgery — never mind my dramatics)
Sometimes I see people out and about who are in a similar position to me: still relatively young and limping. Maybe they have degenerative osteoarthritis in one hip like me, maybe rheumatoid, maybe injury. Who knows?
But what I do know is that they almost never have a cane or crutch. Maybe if they’re wearing a cast, or if the condition is severe. But otherwise, most of them prefer to gulp some pain pills and limp.
We like our pain meds in this country (the USA), don’t we?
But that’s not the only reason. We also like to look young, and canes aren’t young. We’re vain, and most of us would rather make our infirmities worse faking not being infirm than just taking care of ourselves.
By using a cane, I slow the degeneration of my hip. I stay off pain meds by taking care of myself and accepting a little daily pain as my lot. I increase the chances this won’t be crippling in twenty years. I put off having to consider a hip replacement, maybe for a couple of decades, maybe for the rest of my life.
I’m not worried about how my cane looks to you. I’m worried about what my cane can do for me.