On Becoming Bionic

On November 25, 2014 I become bionic. Well, at least my hip becomes bionic. My right hip to be specific.

I have had arthritis in my hip for quite some time but haven’t had issues until about 18 months ago when it finally inserted itself into my running life. It has progressed since then. To the point that I have opted to have hip replacement surgery. I’m bone on bone right now and it is now impacting my walking in general.

I started this post to talk about what remedies I tried and what worked and didn’t. But after reading my lists and comments, I felt I was not giving much more than you can find in hundreds of articles. I will tell you this, though.  If you want to prevent deterioration, you need to respect your diet, hydrate and move with energy. When you exercise, find good form. Focus on it. We no longer live in a world where we learn good form from birth. Remember, good form is always, always simple.

Sorry. I couldn’t help preaching a little.

For the record, here is an iPhone shot of the photocopy of the X-ray of my right hip.

My Right Hip

My Right Hip

As I walked the path of this post my muse kept prodding me. Telling me what I was writing was well done but not the right subject. So I had to go into the series of why’s. In good writing if you hit a point where you are not sure about your plot or characters you need to ask yourself why? And then ask it again and again until you get the real reason.

What was it about this post that I really wanted to say? I was diverting my mind by talking facts. Facts about arthritis and facts about evolution and proper running form and a bunch of diversions. And I never hit the nail on the head until I asked why for the fifth time. That is usually the max number of asks you have to go through to get to the root.

What I really wanted to talk about is fear and disappointment.

I’ve only had one operation/hospital stay in my entire life. At 13 I had a tonsillectomy and was overnight for a day. Outside of a common cold or the flu, I really don’t get sick much. This arthritis thing is a first real surgery I have ever faced. That has me a little worried, evne though I know I am in good hands. And the fact that my body has broken bothers me to the point where I have to distract the personal blaming of myself with finding facts that help me cope.

With computer assisted accuracy a high tech ceramic joint will be mated with a specialized plastic sleeve to replace my joint. It will take me a few days to get marginally mobile and a few weeks to get to about 80%. I’ve heard nothing but positive stuff about this particular procedure.

Nonetheless, it is a replacement part. They are never as good as the OEM piece of equipment it is replacing. Even with all of our fantastic technology and laser guided incisions, we can not duplicate the durability and adaptability of our bones, cartilage and muscle. And that is why I am reluctant to let go of a part of me. The replacement parts are good for 40 years, but the OEM parts, given regular exercise and maintenance, will last a century and then some. I was taking this personally. The fact that I couldn’t fix myself.

Now, I am realizing that it is what it is and I am actually looking forward to getting past this. What helped me a lot in getting perspective was the single truth I got from one of the four orthopedic specialists I visited. When I asked “What caused the arthritis?” He said, “We don’t know.”

Just about everyone gets it and it really has nothing to do with age as a cause. Many people have it and they don’t even know.

As a corollary he told me something else. The latest studies of people who have had replacements for longer than a decade show that you don’t have to cut back on activities. He suggested that I follow the physical therapy, keep active, and live the life that makes me happy. “Why else do the surgery?,” he asked. That made me smile. And it got me over that sense of personal failure. There was a light at the end of the hip joint. He put it in perspective saying that I’m getting the latest technology and if something wears out 10 or 20 years down the road there will be even better technology and procedures. He’s right. Since there are over 300,000 hip replacements a year, it is an industry that gets investment and focus.

So, I am going to be a bionic hipster and am looking forward to it.  Actually, I am looking forward to getting back to a normal life with a balance of running, cycling, playing with the kids, acting like a kid and not feeling limited. That is a pretty good outlook if you ask me.

Sorry that it has been a while since my last post here, but it has taken me time to come to realize what I am really feeling. Thanks for listening. As always, I am anxious to hear what your comments.

Run free. Run smooth and easy.

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3 thoughts on “On Becoming Bionic

  1. That is the right attitude to have! I’m sure you’ll be able to do more of what you love when you become a bionic hipster. Best of luck with the surgery! Also, what are your tips on running form?

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