I thought I’d write another post today about my arthritic hip which would include updating my National Rust readers how things are progressing with my New Year’s fitness campaign, designed in part to assist or stave off the hip’s problems and potential eventual replacement operation.
For few amongst you who do not hang upon my every word, first a quick recap.
In October 2013 I caused a self-inflicted early onset of osteo-arthritis in my right hip by attempting to yomp the last nine holes of a golf round with my playing partner in order to keep ahead of the pack following behind.
After a month of discomfort (feeling like a pulled muscle in my hip/groin) I first went to my GP and then – via a series of x-rays, ultrasounds and eventually MRI scans – I was diagnosed with osteo-arthritis. The recommended treatment was then a stereo jab, which should help for about four months, and then a review to see how things were going. The last of these took place on the anniversary of the ‘problem’, i.e. in October 2014.
At my review I was asked to register any remaining discomfort ‘issues’. I duly reported a long list, expecting the consultant to suggest further courses of treatment. That didn’t happen. Instead he smiled, said “That’s fine – I’ll sign you off, then …” and told me that the end-game was an inevitable hip replacement operation, though he counselled me to hang on as long as possible (e.g. until I could just not take the discomfort or symptoms anymore) before signing up for the replacement, because an individual could only have each hip replaced once.
… and that’s it, really.
Since that consultation and ‘signing off’ in October 2014, I’ve been engaged in trying to live with my hip.
I have declined to take pain-relief tablets (as was suggested I should when and if I felt this necessary) simply because of my conviction that pain is your body trying to tell you something is wrong and I’d rather be getting those signals when they occur than not (e.g. because I’d taken pain relief measures).
The upshot is that I walk with a small but noticeable limp and keep occasionally having to move my pelvis around in bed, or when sitting at a table chair, or slouching on a sofa, whenever the discomfort comes on, or builds up sufficiently that I sense such action is necessary in order to reduce it.
I also began a fitness regime on 5th January 2015, comprising a change of diet (including eating less) and taking more exercise, which in my case means a trip to my local health club and a target of 30 minutes of cardio workout, 15 minutes of pumping (light-ish) weights, a swim and 10 minutes in a sauna before relaxing for 10 minutes in a Jacuzzi to finish.
I’m not obsessive about this, but I keep a small diary in which I record roughly what I eat every day and also conduct a ‘weigh in’ every Monday morning. These have the effect upon me – albeit I accept this routine wouldn’t suit everyone – of keeping me ‘honest’, by which I mean only that it aids my motivation to stay on the regime, both on the diet front and as regards going to the gym. I reached the stage about two months ago where the latter became pleasurable. Actually, perhaps that’s probably not the best description. A better one might be ‘noticeably beneficial’ (in terms of my general sense of fitness and well-being).
So much motivation – in terms of diets and fitness regimes – is derived from the individual’s improved self-image and/or the ‘buzz’ he or she gets from taking regular physical exercise to the point of exhaustion. It’s all to do with the perception that ‘doing it’ (whatever that might be) is doing one good in the general scheme of things. This is reinforced, as you might expect, by the satisfaction to be gained in knowing that – whether it be in terms of the time taken to do a run, or perhaps the effort expended in a gym session – you can now doing things that you couldn’t possibly do before, well save perhaps in the heyday of your sporting youth, when of course you could (for example) play soccer for two hours in the park without noticing fatigue particularly, or indeed how long you’d been playing for.
Right now, as it happens, I’ve reached a semi-plateau. Having reached a ‘milestone’ as regards my weight loss, I’ve been finding it hard these past three weeks to drop any more. This is frustrating, but I’m sure my weigh-in later this morning will confirm that I’m about the same weight as I was this time last week … again.
Then, last Friday, I played golf on the Downs course at Goodwood with my brothers and a nephew. In deference to our ages and various infirmities, we took out two buggies. This was very necessary in my case – I could not possibly have walked 18 holes on a course as rugged and hilly as that one.
I also ‘ricked’ my hip early on, trying to follow through a shot (plainly a right-hander has to move his weight through his right hip/leg and onto his left equivalent in order to complete his swing). This made things generally worse and I suffered for it later that evening and indeed over the weekend.
Having set out with the medical profession’s advice that I should put off a hip replacement as long as possible, I keep getting repeated and consistent layman’s advice from those who have either had early hip replacements … and/or are close to, or know, people who have … that I should just ‘go for it’ and let the future take care of itself.
It’s no fun limping or being in discomfort.
I’m therefore wavering … and thinking about going for the op in any event, sooner rather than later.