Friday, December 19, 2008

Closure.

"So that's it?" My friend asked as we sat waiting for the play to start. "You're just DONE with the blog? It's over?" I made a face and did a little head wag while trying to come up with something conciliatory to say, but she wasn't done. "I need some closure here. You need to write a final post."

She was right, of course. I don't know if this is the absolute, final, end-of-an-era post, but I do need to wrap things up a little. It's the right time of year for it.

The Hip is: generally ok, with bouts of snarkiness that are short-lived and weather-inspired.

Will this hold steady? Who can say.

In the end, we can sit around and log every moment of discomfort, each twinge and ache, and try to create some sort of five-year viability projection out of safety pins and scotch tape, or we can recognize that we've tangoed with the MRIs, the CT scans, the arthroscopies, the surgeries, and of course, the raised toilet seat, and it's time to just have a life.

Thank you for the unflagging support through it all, and I can only hope that someone down the line facing what we've all faced will derive a little comfort from this, or at least a few laughs.

If I had to leave you with one last thing, it would be this: it's not about the hip.

(Go ahead - raise your hands to your face in horror. And then take a little time and think about it. You'll agree.)

And remember: Love is all there is.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reunited

And it feels so good.

My quadriceps above the knee on the surgery side has been doing a weird crampy thing for the past few weeks, and since I'm headed out on a pretty active vacation, I wanted to check in with Gym Teacher that I was cleared for takeoff. (I would tell you where I'm going, but you'd swoon with envy.)

It was the first time I'd seen her since before the revision surgery in April and she had a lot of questions. And her hands also had a lot of questions. Said hands were, as always, not afraid to ask them. She's all business about it and I love her, but under any other circumstances I might have needed to tell her I didn't roll that way.

Apparently, my pelvis is tilted and my sacrum is jammed on one side. She illustrated this by leaning on my hip bones with her hands and as she pressed on them said, "see - left side nice and mobile. Right side - JAM JAM JAM!" (punctuating each "JAM" with a press) and then she flipped me over and repeated it with her hands on my sacrum (read: ass) - "left side goes, nice, right side - STUCK STUCK STUCK!" And then laughed. I have to figure it's not that serious if she's laughing. And actually I know it's not that serious and the S-I joint can get stuck all the time so it'll be fine.

So the bottom line is that pain and whatnot can radiate out to all different places if the muscles have to overcompensate when things aren't moving as they should. She wants me to keep coming in to work with her and the massage therapist on staff. Massage paid for by my insurance? Don't need to ask me twice...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hypocrite for a Cause

I told Laura that I thought hip blogs should be about hip related things only. And now I have to be a hypocrite (or a hipocrite) but I think I can categorize this under "things I can now do that I would have had a hard time with pre-surgery" and if you're feeling very generous, you'll let me get away with it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSK4zB_33Xc

Please comment, rate, link to it, send to 50 friends, etc.

If you're a facebooking type, you can become a fan:

http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/Yoga-Thugs/43686281096?ref=nf

First and last time I do this, I promise. Although Vol. 2 is actively in the works and will be coming down the pipeline, so you may want to bookmark the page...

Hip is good, things are good, no pain, all is well. (this is sort of like when you talk business for 30 seconds at the end of your expensive dinner so you can call it a business dinner for tax purposes.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Special/Normal

The fact that I can walk around the city all day without pain still hasn't lost its shiny allure, I'm happy to say.

But I feel like I'm returning to the ranks of the regular, of 'normal' people, and as life often seems to, it makes me contemplative. Does what I went through over the past 2 years relegate me always to the ranks of special? And by special, I don't mean "we're all special in our own way/I believe the children are our future/I'd like to buy the world a coke."

I mean, special*. You know, special.

Special like when I was in class last week working on a challenging pose and the teacher said to the room, "that's Sarah, our miracle girl."

Living pain-free will always be special, and it is a gift that I don't take for granted. It encircles my every moment and allows me to step boldly into each day. It gives me freedom from living a compromised, less-than-total expression of myself, free from physical self-censorship (as in "no I can't come to your party in Brooklyn" "no I can't go out dancing with you" "no I can't go on a hike" with the unspoken understanding that my body just couldn't take it).

On the flip side, it's exactly that specialness that allows me to be normal, to say yes instead of no, to dance and run like any other person. And in many ways it feels good to be normal. The daily frustrations of living with chronic pain make it seem like the condition has you, like it exists even before your name in the way the world sees you and even, after time, in the way you see yourself.

Feeling normal, for me, feels special.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quotes

"Everybody laments. But the wisest people turn their greatest tragedy into their greatest triumph. Life gives you good practice."

-Shri Manorama-ji


"Some days, you're gonna have a day when you fuck up. Everybody does. And that's ok."

-man on street

Monday, August 18, 2008

Skyrockets in Flight

Insurance Delight!

If you're pre-surgery, along with the other 10,469 things on your mind, you might want to make a few insurance-related phone calls so that you don't get smacked upside the head with half the bill, thanks to a little something called "amount allowable" (or "allowable amount" - either way, it's heinous).

To wit, your surgeon/anesthesiologist/hospital/whomever may choose to charge whatever they like, and your insurance company might choose to pay 70 or 80 percent not of what the surgeon/whomever has charged, but of what they consider the allowable amount for that entity. Said allowable amount may be a whole lot less than what your surgeon/whomever is charging. Like maybe, half as much. And then the coverage is only 70 or 80 percent of that. Which is even more less.

You will know when this has happened because several months after your surgery, when all is fine and dandy and life is a bunch of roses, you will find yourself post-lovely insurance lady (really, a sweetheart) phone call smacking your head into your computer screen, or another handy blunt object.

So, word to the wise. You're probably not going to like the answer whenever you get it, but at least you'll know. And as G.I. Joe always told us, that's half the battle.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Procrastinator 3: Rise of the Publication

Ladies and Gents, it's here:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/hip-dysplasia.htm

Try not to laugh too hard at the fact that it's called How Hip Dysplasia Works.

(I can tell you how it works... mumble *bleep*)

Lauren and I worked hard on the original piece, and although it's been jollied up quite a bit, it's still (I think) the most comprehensive discussion of DDH and all its various concerns and whatnots.

If you have a blog and want to include this link, please do - the more that desperately seeking people can find it (unlike most of our experiences which involved lengthly and unsuccessful hunts for something - anything! about DDH that didn't involve dogs) the happier Lauren and I will be.

And as if the inside of my leg hadn't seen enough celebrity, it's also featured on the FO page of the site... so even more reason to click through. (Same goes for Lauren's PAO, FYI).

Big shout out to Tracy at HSW for giving it a home!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Marrow

After a few days of circling and eyeing each other, MP and I are settling in to our new dynamic where she is now on the outside of my body. My initial urge to toss her into the river has passed, although if she hears about it I'm sure she'll pitch a fit.

I now carry her around with me wherever I go and shove her into people's faces, saying "Guess what this is?!?" If they know me, they figure it out pretty fast. (Strangers have been having a harder time identifying MP and generally just back away slowly.) I've had the conversation a few times now and it goes pretty much like this:

"Guess what this is?!?" (MP shoved into person's hand. Pause.)

"Oh my god - that was in you??"

"I know - crazy, right?"

"It's so heavy!"

"I know - crazy, right?"

"I can't believe that was in you!"

"I know - crazy, right?" (I've lost a little of my spontaneity.)

Except this morning, when I pulled MP out of my bag to show my student, and decided to just spill the beans for him rather than make him guess. "This was in my hip!" I said as I pushed it towards him. He was reaching to take it but at the words "in my hip" he recoiled and drew his hand back. "So you mean - it has your marrow on it?"

And here I thought I had sufficiently grossed myself out with every possible image.

No-one's ever busted out a marrow on me before. It made my stomach turn. But he was right, and I may have to readjust how aggressively I shove my marrow on people from now on.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Reunited

And let me tell you, that sucker's heavy. No wonder I was so tired all the time.

I'll let the pictures do the talking:


Attempted reenactment of 2007.




It's super scraped up. I'm wondering when that happened.






I have a bunch more pictures but it's so labor-intensive putting them up here that I'm just going to stick them on my facebook page. Go have a gander over there if you like.

It's kind of weird to have it back. Like when you run into someone you dated seven years ago and you're both like, "Sooooo......"

I thought I was going to be all excited - and I am - but it's still a little weird. I'm glad to have the chance to see it, but I might not be able to keep it in my house. There may soon be a throwing into the river ceremony.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Never Give Up

Gentle Reader, nothing less than a mini-miracle has occurred. Hold onto your pants, because:

Metal Plate was not, as previously suspected, thrown to the alligators in the pit beneath HSS.

Metal Plate battled through monsters and traps and pitfalls, the likes of which I'm sure approximated an Indiana Jones movie, and has made it to Dr. Buly's office.

The last ten minutes of the film, where MP is tearfully reunited with its long lost love/prior living quarters and then tosses off a sassy one-liner ("What took you so long?") will air in a few days.

All goofing aside, I'm actually as excited to see it as I would be a person. Is that weird?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Procrastinator 2: Publishment Day

I was scrolling back through the blog in an attempt to both find and figure out when I first referred to this, Gentle Reader. And it turns out it was almost a YEAR ago.

First of all, I can never quite believe how long this public streaming of consciousness has been going on.

Secondly of all, I am, somewhatly, embarrassed? That it's taken this long for it to come to any fruition. But really, not that much embarrassed actually, since I doubt that any of you were losing sleep over the future prospect of whatever it is ever coming to light.

Thirdified, it appears that this post is about creating the worstliest writing that I can put, both down or together.

However:

Just got word that it is, in fact, going to happen. In three or four weeks. Aren't you excited? Just in a vacuumy kind of way, since you still don't know what the hell I'm talking about?

One caveat: it is not in the original form in which it was created. It has been, as they say, "punched up." It went from a very academic-sounding piece to - how can I put it - a little more simpler for folks to read...? I don't mean to sound ungrateful or diss the wonderful people who are giving it a place in the world, but let's just say it's not exactly my writing any more. However, I've seen and signed off on it because I want it to come out, and while I may take issue with the tone, it's got to be the best thing out there in terms of comprehensiveness (comprehensibility? comprehensation?). And at the very least you'll all be able to relax, finally.

I'll keep you posted. (That's seriously not funny in any way.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hips Don't Lie, the second

I feel great.

I just want to say that.

My hip rarely bothers me, and when it does, it's about one-tenth of what it used to feel like.

Like I said before, makes it hard to have a bad day.

In response to Laura's question about the metal - I can definitely feel that my leg is getting stronger without it - much stronger than it was all last year. And I'm watching the flexibility come back in my yoga practice to a much greater degree. I can do all kinds of crazy nonsense on that side again like dragonfly and flying crow and eka pada yada yada. I don't know what it is anatomically, but I really feel that the metal got in the way of the muscles being able to strengthen and stretch properly.

I know after one surgery the last thing you want to do is go have surgery again, but FOs, it's worth it.

In other, sadder news, Metal Plate may be lost to the bowels of HSS.

Don't look at me like that. I tried. I really did. They're all weird and possessive over there.

Laura, it's on you now. Make sure you ask for it like a month before removal.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Special Olympics

Red hand flashing for a good ten seconds. I'm still very much on the sidewalk trying to get around some tourists. Hand pings one more time and then holds red, but I am undaunted: I take off in a sprint across the street. I am not late, I don't have anywhere to be - I just want to do it because I can.

Late night on the LES, looking for a cab with friends, we spot one halfway down the block. At this hour we could stick our arms in the air and 5 cabs would run each other over trying to get to us, but I decide we're getting this one. I bolt like a gazelle (so says an eyewitness) and catch our cab. Friends not as excited about running in sandals, but admire my tenacity and lack of lopsidedness.

Add to the sprint, the long distance walk. I can walk for hours again, and do: through Central Park, along the Hudson, around the West Village, meandering for the simple joy of uninhibited movement.

[With love to all the angels whose ranks keep swelling: Barbara, Kevin, Lauren, Guido.]

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Ran, Part 2

It appears that I can run (!!, right?). Although I don't yet appear to believe it and only ever manage to do it when I'm not thinking about it. Last time it was in pursuit of a bus, this time it was crossing the West Side Highway (for non-NYCers, it's 3 lanes of traffic in each direction) as the hand was blinking. We were partway across when my friend said "Let's go for it!" and took off; I was left with no choice but to run after him. And I ran! Didn't hobble or lurch or anything. Not only that, but I ran without pain.

Which is a new theme - pain-free days. After the (literally) years of mental and physical agitation, I am free, at least for now. Which makes it really hard to have a bad day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Class Dismissed

Had my 6 week check up with Dr. B today. As usual, I was the youngest person waiting for X-rays, but once into Dr. Buly's waiting area I saw a woman about my age on crutches. I wanted to flash her the secret hip dysplasia gang sign, but I'm not sure there is one. Someone needs to come up with that. (Lauren)

In any event, I am doing really, really well. It was a refreshing change to waltz into his office, high-five his assistant (ok not exactly, but we had a high-spirited exchange) put on the snazzy shorts, let him wiggle my leg around and get the surgeon's equivalent of the locker room "get outta here!" ass-smack. It felt like I aced the final of this crazy 2 year class in myself. Or to continue with my vaguely sporty theme, like I hit it out of the park with no outs left and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. (I like baseball.)

Of course there are no guarantees that other things won't come up, and as Dr. B reminded me, not everything wrong with my hip was addressed. However. Right now, I feel sound of mind and body, and take great pleasure in that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Keep it Steppin'

Did 2 1/2 miles of the AIDS walk yesterday, with wonderful Lauren on hand in case I needed a fireman's lift, which as it turned out I did not. Feeling good today, not in any pain, and as always that feels like a gift, like stolen time. I have my 6 week check up with Dr. B next week, so we'll find out if the holes have filled in.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mobile

Walked solo today. Hard, but good. First yoga class back tomorrow. We'll see how that goes. I'm sure there will be many complaints from various areas...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

P.S.

[Because the scar pic was not yet at a scroll down spot, and I don't want to force people to inadvertently see something they're not expecting, especially over breakfast]

But also - heard today that Metal Plate, while still currently serving time at HSS, will shortly be up before the parole board. Fingers crossed she doesn't do anything stupid like yell, "Dammit, I'm Swiss! Let me out of here!" and mess it all up for the rest of us.

XXX Scar Pics Redux

As always, feel free to avert your eyes from this one.

It still looks a little gnarly, but overall is doing well.

One more week on the cane. Hallelujah.

OK, enough stalling:



Key:

Two white dots on upper left corner - arthroscopy from last year.

Big red blotch - site of former never-ending blister.

Long white scar - original incision.

And then you can see how starting slightly in from the left and extending about 2/3 of the way along the original incision is the latest one. For 3 weeks post-op, I think it looks pretty good.