Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Left Hip

In March 2009, while at the Danny Jackson Family Bark Park with Bob and Maggie (canines), Charlie and Sam (humans), I felt compelled to be a show-off and demonstrate just how far I could sling a tennis ball with my Chuck-it.

I reared back, dug deep, and flung that thing as far as I could. When my left foot came down, it missed the ground and landed in a hole. My leg was twisted, and the impact was quite painful.

Eventually the pain subsided...briefly. It slowly returned, reaching the level of continuous pain.

In June I went to see my doctor, and she sent me to the Bone and Joint Clinic of Houston to see Dr. Todd Siff. They took a couple of X Rays, and he diagnosed bursitis, along with moderate osteoarthritis in my left hip. He gave me a cortisone injection. That helped for a few weeks, but before long the relief ended.

I returned to Dr. Siff a few weeks later, and received another cortisone injection. This time it didn't work quite as well, or as long. He also prescribed Celebrex for the pain, and provided me with some samples.

I took the samples, and determined that Celebrex, which was a top-tier drug in our prescription plan, really did no better than Advil or Aleve. I figured the annoying pain was just something I would need to learn to deal with, so I attempted to do so.

After several more months, the pain continued to increase. It hurt to stand up, sit down, lift my leg into or out of the car, etc. Simply sitting in one place for more than about an hour was painful - I had to consciously get up and walk around about every hour or so. Our sofa at home is very low, and it's painful to sit in it for more than a few minutes. I ended up putting a couple of pillows under my butt to provide some elevation.

I returned to see Dr. Siff. When he entered the exam room and asked me to get on the table, rising from the chair caused my hip joint to lock (perfect timing!). When that happens, the pain is excruciating and goes from 0 to 60 in a split second (when it happened yesterday, I almost passed out). He referred me to his father, Dr. Sherwin Siff, who is their hip specialist, and sent me to have an MRI.

The MRI itself was painful. Strapping me and my leg down tightly, making it impossible to shift my hip, got so bad I almost pressed the panic button the MRI technician gave me. But I rode it out.

I went to see the elder Dr. Siff, and his first words to me were "It hurts like hell, doesn't it?" The MRI revealed that I had gone from a healthy hip to moderately severe osteoarthritis in about 9 months. He explained that I had two choices: fix it, or live with it. He was willing to take me on as a patient, and urged me to go talk it over with Deb.

We decided to go ahead and take care of it. I targeted March 30 for surgery - that would allow me to go to the Etail Conference in Palm Desert, CA, in February. I called to make the appointment, and he wanted me to come back in first.

During my next appointment, we discussed the pros and cons of waiting...and there really weren't any pros. So we set February 9, 2010, for surgery.