Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Hip and Happenin' Dude

The body is an amazing thing; so different than technology and far more awe-inspiring, yet it's technology that allows us to understand the human machine.

I had x-rays taken of my hips and pelvis this evening. This machine, peering through cloth, skin, and flesh to reveal the essence of my structure. Such odd looking things, bones. My face is highly personal -- to see it is to see me. My bones, however, are anonymous, though unique to me. Stripped of flesh, no one would know how I am, but without the bones, my flesh would be without form and unrecognizable.

My left femoral head (the "ball" of the ball and socket joint) is properly round, though the socket is decaying. My right femoral head is no longer a ball, or if it is, it looks like one my puppies have been gnawing on, and the socket is also pretty chewed up. To my inexpert eye, it doesn't look like it's to the place where it will begin to dislocate yet, though I suspect if an accident pops it out, it will stay out. I'm hoping replacement is still a year or two off and that the constant dull pain won't get too much worse before then.

And yet, technology... I can eventually get a hip replacement that will make it better than new (at least my new, which since the bone disease of childhood, has never been great). A titanium spike driven into the femur from which the head has been cut off, and a titanium ball that fits into a titanium socket. A friend with the same bone disease had his hip replaced five years ago. Because hip pain is a part of our lives, he was able to get back to work three days after the surgery (with a walker, then a cane) and now he feels fantastic. After constant pain, he (we) sublimate so much of it that we don't realize what no-pain feels like.

The coward in me who has never had surgery wants to put it off as long as possible, but to be able to ride a bike again, and ride a horse again, and maybe even ski for the first time... at least until the left hip starts to go... maybe surgery isn't such a bad thing.

And who knows? Maybe they'll inscribe my name on the titanium spike and my bones won't be anonymous anymore. :)

Wonder what a hip replacement surgery is like? Click