Diary of a Hippie Excerpt.
It’s been years since I was diagnosed with needing this procedure. I’ve put it off for one reason or another. Mostly out of fear, probably. It’s major surgery after all. I’m not good with that. Funny because the damage done came from a lack of fear. A belief that I would be invincible forever… competitive sports, military service, taking the hits and not stopping. That was me. Diving for shots in racquetball. Playing keeper in soccer. Skiing moguls and double black diamond trails.Extreme hiking. Doing everything exciting that I could find during my military career. Go. Go. Go.
My first indication that something was wrong came as I was walking up eighth avenue in New York. I had a pain on the outside of my right leg. And for some reason, I just started hitting my hip every few steps with my fist. I thought maybe that something was popping out and when I hit the side of my hip, it felt better. I would learn latter that this is not the preferred method to treat arthritis.
The pain would come and go, and then stay a bit longer. I really wasn’t sure what was going on so I made an appointment with my general practitioner who gave me a consult to a senior Orthopedic Surgeon at the same hospital. I got my x-rays and waited patiently with my wife for the doctor to come into the appointment. The clock ticked by. The city below kept it’s normal pace.
He entered brusquely and took a look at those reversed black and white pictures of my bones.
“Sucks to be forty and need a hip replacement, doesn’t it?”
WHAT!!??? What the hell was he talking about? I don’t need a replacement… I’ll just heal it, I thought. He pointed to my hip on the screen.
“See, here, here, and here. You have almost no cartilage. You have some here, but it’s going to shrink.”
He had a point.
“How do you think this happened?” He asked.
“I think jumping out of airplanes from extremely high altitude might be bad for your joints,” I answered.
“Probably,” he said. “Walk for me.” He pointed down the hall. I obeyed.
“Yeah, you’re shifting your weight. How does it feel?”
“Not too bad,” I said. “Is there anything other than surgery that I can do?”
“You can try physical therapy. I’ll write you a prescription.”
He paused for a second and studied the chart again. “The problem is, if you get a replacement now, you’ll probably have to get another one in your sixties. Eventually, you’ll need to get it replaced.”
“Is there anything other than surgery? I’m not sure I want to do that,” I said.
“Not it in the end,” he said. “You might not be ready now. You’ll know when you’re ready. Your body will tell you.” He closed my folder. “But in the end, you’re going to need a replacement.”
No I won’t, I thought. I’ll find another way.
There was no other way.
Diary of a Hippie goes on sale October 17th.