Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Revenge of the Sith

Tonight my hip is playing up again.

I think I've mentioned it before? Have I?

If not, the short story is that my right hip has degenerated into what yours will look and feel like when you're (or probably does look like if you are already) about ninety-six.

Both the condyle of my femur and the acetabulum of my pelvis are rotten with arthritic buildup and jagged with bone loss. I've lost so much bone that my right leg is about 3/8-inch shorter than my left.

You can imagine how that affects my gait.

In order to keep from going in circles like a defective wind-up toy I have a heel lift in my shoes and boots. I can't wear any sort of sandal or open-heel footgear like slippers without listing and staggering like a British cruiser at the Coronel (sorry, I'm still reading Massie's Castles of Steel...).

The sonofabitch hurts, too.

Mostly it's just a low-grade sort of hurt, a dull ache or even a sort of hard pressure at the top of my leg, along with a lot of muscle soreness from compensating for the short leg length.

But every once in a while it decides to really attack. I had a very active day yesterday, clambering up and down a steep site on Sylvan Hill, and it got a lot of hard use. Ten years ago I'd have taken a hot shower and gotten a good sleep and been fine. Last night I lay down at 7:30 and woke up at 3am aching and too sore to go back to sleep.

That's not all that unusual. It's hard to sleep on the bastard; I can't lie on my right side or stomach, there's no comfortable position for it. Even on my left side the unsupported right hip eventually starts to spike at me. And on my back is usually okay, but even then the pressure on the hip joint does bad things after a while.

I'm not saying this to complain.

I got myself here, between hard use and outright abuse, and I'm gonna play the cards I've been dealt. There are a lot of people out there dealing with worse. But there are times when it gets a little tiring, knowing that the sonofabitch is always there, always poking me in the ass and reminding me that nothing will get better until I get a cybernetic implant, like this guy:

That's right. My destiny is to be fucking Darth Maul.

Oh, well.

I suppose it could have been worse.

Oh, yeah. That.


Barry said...

Get an implant. I got one done, and should have gotten it a year or two before I did. You'll be totally out of commission for a month, messed up for another, recovering strongly in the third, and working on full normality in the fourth month.

By six months, you'll be telling other people to get an implant, and not to wait like you did.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

I'm often heard whining about wanting my Borgified body NOW...something is up with both hips, but that is come and go. My spine tho'....

I sympathize, but yes, if you can...get the hip replacement. I helped my beekeeping mentor thru his recovery and life was so much better for him afterwards.

FDChief said...

Problem is the life of the implant. Both orthopods I've seen cautioned me that if I have one within the next 5-10 years I will need a replacement-replacement before I'm 70, and that the failure rate of those is quite high. They recommended I hang on as long as possible before going under the knife to get as much out of the first replacement as possible...

Syrbal/Labrys said...

Yeah, the time they last IS problematical. Likewise on knees; my son actually NEEDS two new ones....but starting at age 35??

But they are getting better...some of them.

FDChief said...

Yeah, I talked to the orthos about that two.

The one guy had a fair bit of good information. His belief is that we're coming to the end of the cycle for this replacement technology (metal-and-plastic). The current versions have improved significantly over the early ones, with lifespans well into the 10-to-20 year range.

Mind you - his comment was that the high-end value is based on the idea that the new hip will be in an old feeb whose most strenuous activity is shuffling down the Safeway aisle to pick out a bottle of stool softener...

Still, he thought that some time in the next two decades we'd see the "next wave" but wasn't sure what it would be; ceramic? Biologic, where someone in a lab would culture your bone cells and actually "grow" you new parts..?

But given the activity level demanded by my job as well as my general level of health he thought that I would very likely wear through the replacement within a decade. That's not a very good outlook.