In my series, the RA Diaries, I’ve tried to write about the weird, the painful and even the comical parts of having a chronic illness. Very recently, I had what for many RA patients is a rite of passage: my first joint replacement. My new right hip, with its festive combination of titanium, cobalt and plastic polymer, is worth five times more than my car. And it will surely be a great source of amusement to TSA scanners worldwide, because on x-rays it looks like I’m packing some major heat.
Now, kind reader, let me tell you exactly how I went about getting my new hip. But be warned. It’s gonna get gross. And graphic. And, maybe once in a while, somewhat amusing. I hope you get something out of it. I’m certainly hoping I will.
“Your left leg doesn’t trust your right leg.”
I’m standing in my dining room, just a few feet from the Christmas tree. My physical therapist, Gaby, has been teaching me some balancing exercises. In this newest one, I’m supposed to put weight on my operated leg, then bend my left knee and move to the side, slowly. It’s a move half-way between ballet and tai chi.
But the left leg refuses to budge. I try to make it, using some Kreskin vibes and my best “Bitch, please” stare. No dice.
“You know, Gaby? You’re absolutely right.”
Not that I blame my left leg in the least. After all, it’s been taking up the slack for several years, and been let down repeatedly. Then, to add insult to injury, it got used as a pincushion by a gaggle of anesthesiologists. The bruises have only just cleared up. At this point, it would sooner trust Bernie Madoff with its 401 K (for all I know, my left leg may have a 401 K — it’s always been business savvy). Or agree to help that Nigerian prince who keeps e-mailing about his inheritance.