My children recently asked me what I want for Christmas. Most people want MP3 players and games consoles, or clothes or boxes of chocolates but I want something you can’t buy from a shop. I want freedom from pain. I want a new hip.
The day I found out my left hip had worn out was the lowest point of 2011. I also found out at the same time that my son had a genetic disability, so it was right up there with my grandmother’s funeral for pure entertainment value.
The Asian doctor stared at me from under his eye glasses, his mouth ever so slightly upturned in an almost smile, whilst holding up a large X-ray picture of my hip.
“You have arthritis in your hip,” he said, “And the hip socket is worn away!”
I stared back at him and the picture. I had been hurting for more than a year and a half, pain that was completely cancelled by glucosamine, a tip I learnt from working for EmpowHer.
I suspected I was slightly arthritic or that it was my fault for not doing my physical therapy. Anyone who is disabled and is put through the weekly visits by the physical therapist knows that by the time you are old enough to be signed off pediatrics, you never, ever ever want to see another physical therapist for the rest of your life.
I rebelled, determined to live my life the way I wanted without endless trips to clinic and people making a big deal of my disability. I didn’t even think about it unless someone else asked me what was "wrong" with me and I was puzzled until it dawned on me they were referring to my disability. So from the age of 16 until 34 I had done what I intended and lived my life without a single consultation regarding cerebral palsy, or any help from anyone.
“How old are you?” the doctor interrupted my thoughts.
“Thirty four,” I replied.
“You’re only 34 and you already need a hip replacement!” he exclaimed, emphasizing the "only’".
Gee, thanks doc, I thought, you were probably absent from medical school the day they were teaching bedside manner because that really didn’t help.
From that day on I descended into the world of osteoarthritis.