Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hip to the Hop a Hippy to the Hop and You Don't Stop

I have re-written this post a hundred times.  Sometimes it comes out whiny, other times it comes off sad.  When I go for that brilliant mixture of self-deprecating humor and wistfulness, it ends up sounding deranged and fishing for attention.  So, taking a deep breath and diving in.

First, you  must know that sympathy  makes me uncomfortable.  If you must offer me sympathy, please use a good curse word when you do it.  I don't know why it feels less sharp when someone says to me "Aw sh*t, that f***ing sucks a**" as opposed to "Oh, honey that's terrible."  It's probably because I have a tear-duct reflect to sympathy.  If you want to see me cry, just have my mom call me up when I'm having a bad day and say "Oh, punkin..".  I'm a grown woman and this reduces me to tears instantly.

I went to the orthopedist yesterday to figure out my hip issues.  My hips have always given me problems, especially after my accident 20 years ago where I ripped my hip flexor tendons.  So I wanted to go in and see if I was doing more damage by riding.  After waiting an hour and a half for my morning appointment (and no one apologized for the super long wait which should have been a red flag), the orthopedist came in.  He sent me for an x-ray and then sat down with his fancy pen and drew some angles on the screen.

"You have hip dysplasia." 

"You mean like German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers get? "

He gave me the kind of look you give an idiot, eyebrows raised, pen paused in mid-air.  


"Nevermind.  I...just...uh...hip dysplasia??"  I've seen my fair share of hip dysplasia in dogs over the years.  I've recommended supplements for owners with large breeds and concerns about hips.  Supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, designed to help re-build the sonovial fluid in the joint.  So, no big deal.  I'll just start taking supplements.

The orthopedist at this point was talking and pointing and using his mouse to draw new angles on the screen.  I was only half listening as my mind was calculating how much glucosamine I should take and what foods might have high natural sources of it.

"blah...blah...blah....hip replacement....blah....blah....blah"

Scrreeeeeech.  My brain halted.  Stuttered.  Rewound. 

"Hip replacement?"

"Not yet, no."

"Phew.  You had me worried there for a second."

He explained that I have had hip dysplasia since I was born, but that over the years it has gotten progressively worse.  He told me that as I get older, it will continue to progress and that he will probably see me again for a hip replacement.  But since I didn't need a hip replacement now, he felt like some physical therapy would be appropriate to help deal with the pain and the scarring on my hip flexors.

"Now," he said as he leaned forward, pointing his pen at me.  "Do you want to able to work out, to ride horses or to not have your hip hurt?"

"Yes!"  I answered enthusiastically.

"This is not an 'or' question."  He frowned at me, giving me that look again as if he couldn't believe how stupid I was.  I laughed, sure he was joking.  His eyebrows raised again and I shut my mouth mid giggle.

"You're serious?  I have to pick one??"

He nodded and leaned back in his chair.  "Oh, I see,"  he smirked.  "You're one of those people that want to have their cake and eat it too."

Was he joking?  How is wanting to stay in reasonable fit shape, not having pain and riding horses wanting to have your cake and eat it too?  I thought doctors wanted you to exercise on a regular basis?  What the hell??  I took a deep breath in through my nose and tried again.

"So, I can't work out AND ride horses?"  He shook his head.  "I can't not be in pain AND work out?"  He shook his head again.  I sighed.

"I want to ride."

He nodded briskly, scribbled out a prescription for physical therapy and said "Stop riding right now, take ibuprofen three times a day and go see a physical therapist three times a week.  They'll tell you when and if you can ride again."  

And with that dire statement, he handed me the prescription for physical therapy, nodded again and left.


  1. So what is your plan? I know what docs say... I also know it was riding that got me walking again. Though I don't walk all that well after a bit. I have L1, L2, L3 disk compression injury. So screw the docs.

    Do your phsyico - get stronger - then ride!

  2. Maybe time for a second opinion...

    Have you tried any yoga? It would be optimal to find a class where you can discuss your hip situation ahead of time with the instructor. If they are a quality instructor, they can tailor the poses for your limitations. Yoga has opened my hips up considerably.

    If you can find someone who practices the Alexander Technique - that's the most helpful thing for my messed up hips that I've ever experienced. Very very gentle, with powerful effects. And some practitioners do their sessions mounted, or seated in your saddle.

    (That doctor sounds like an a**!)

  3. Get a second opinion if you can but I would see a good sports physiotherapist and see if they can help. Never believe what the first doctor says!!

    They told me in 2006 I would never ride again. I will never again ride like I used to, but I still ride.

    I would consider getting a saddle that fits you better, the dressage saddle seems to trigger the issues?

  4. Pft, probably said by a doctor who knows nothing about riding!

  5. F*'ng piece of...

    ; )

    You ain't a German shepherd, so you'll be fine ; )

  6. First, that doctor is an a--hole for not even discussing your needs regarding riding and coming up with a plan. Second opinion is a start and I like what Calm, Forward and Straight is recommending, too. Where there's a will, there's a way.....

  7. Thanks for all of your support and cuss words! I fully plan on figuring out a way to ride.