Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Pain in the Ass

Artificial Joints, Arthritis, Femoroacetabular Impingment, Health Care, Hip Replacement Surgery, Pain In The Ass

I have been feeling a bit lowly lately.  Cranky too.

Right hip osteoarthritis with findings which should be correlated with the clinical scenario of cam-type femoroacetabular impingment. 

Staring at the email from radiology I scratched my hip and wondered what the next step would be.

Shortly thereafter arrived this message from my primary care physician -  

Your x-ray suggests that there may be a defect in the working of the joint when you are in certain positions, partially but not entirely due to arthritis, but an orthopedist should review your x-ray and your examination to make a better determination. Sometimes more detail from a CT scan or MRI could be beneficial. I left U a cell phone message to this effect, also mentioning that we often use the orthopedists at the sports medicine clinic or certainly would use one of your choosing. Simply let us know your preference and we will make the referral.

Over the years I noticed that from time-to-time if I pushed myself on my bicycle or after a day or more of chasing pheasants with Girlfriend my right hip would start talking to me.  It was saying something to this effect - You're pushing a bit hard aren't you?  Give me some rest.  And some ibuprofen please.

It has been a rough summer. 

Following winter's respite - early this spring that hip started talking to me. The chatter and volume increased. Then it would not shut-up. 

As the months passed the talking took on an angry tone.  It was muttering constantly and occasionally would shout or bark at me.

Consequently, bicycling was bought and paid-for with vicodin.  Trips to the gym stopped as the treadmill was out of the question.  Weight gain followed.  Dog training suffered.  The dogs were depressed - Jill was stressed.  Gardening became a mixed batch of joy and ordeal.  And I dared not climb a tree-stand for fear of the joint giving out and falling to the ground.  I bow hunt Terra firma now.  Curling is a non-starter.  All the while the hip was telling me - Take me to a doctor.  There's something not quite right with me.

More x-rays and an MRI followed.

The most recent visit - and third doctor - brought this revelation.  Sorry to break it to you but a  minimally invasive arthroscopic repair would have a low probability of success.  Two or more years ago we might have been able to squeeze another five, maybe ten years out of that joint.  Not now.  You have about 1 millimeter or less of cartilage remaining.  That's as thick as the tip of this pen.  I'm sorry I haven't better news but there is nothing I can do to repair it. You need to have the entire joint replaced.

Honest and to the point.

I mentioned at the outset I was feeling poorly - didn't I? 

I always figured that joint replacements were for really old people.  Heck, I cannot think of a single blood relative in my extended family, alive or dead, that ever had one.  Of course, many of those people were never very active.  Any number over the age of fifty have diabetes or heart disease instead.

Jill told me to shake it off  - Get over it.  It's not like you received something serious - like a cancer diagnosis. 

As a consequence of this grounded advice I'm trying to look at the positive side of things.  

For instance, I won't be in the predicament that my brother-in-law's friend who lives in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario finds himself.  He has to wait eighteen months for a new hip - six months if he travels to Toronto.  Can you believe that?  My scheduling will be on my terms.  I'm told that after I get my suspension replaced I should be able to do all the things I enjoy doing with few, if any, limitations.  Furthermore, my hip will be newer than yours.

Everyone knows you can be a pain.  What about that hip?  Does your hip feel like a pain in the ass?

Actually no.  It is more like a constant pain between the groin and the joint.  A stabbing pain when rotated in certain directions.  It's actually the change in my activities of daily living that is a pain in the patoot.  It's making me nuts.

Nevertheless, I now have enough steroids injected into that joint and some stronger pain meds to get me through the pheasant and deer seasons.  At least I'll be able to direct the conversation with my worn-out parts.

When I get that artificial hip this winter I am hopeful of muting the conversation entirely.  And it will probably improve my curling game.

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