Over the weekend, roughly two and a half years since my sudden arrival of my hip’s osteoarthritis, a copy of a letter from my intended surgeon to my GP flopped through my letter box onto the corridor floor.
It contained references such as ‘he limps, gets pain most of the time and has difficulty with his shoes and socks’ … ‘he walks with an antalgic gait’ … ‘some proximal muscle wasting on the right’ … ‘a fixed flexion deformity of 10 degrees, flexion to 70 degrees only and absent rotational movements’ … ‘x-rays show advanced osteoarthritis of the right hip with complete loss of joint space as well as osteophyte formation’ … and ‘the only option that will relieve his symptoms is a total hip replacement‘.
Armed with this diagnosis, it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that – had the subject been either a much-loved family pet dog, or indeed any third party individual that one didn’t know – the kindest thing of all would have been either a trip to the vet from which said pooch would not return, or alternatively, if he had been human, the gift of a bottle of Famous Grouse, a loaded revolver and an indication as to the best ante-chamber to retire to after a last three-course meal of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, two veg and onion gravy.
I guess that, as with every stage of life, when this ageing process thing takes you to a place beyond the first flush of youth, on one level it’s just another a challenge. But, on another, it’s a whole new ball game because one begins realising [I didn’t say ‘accepting’] that life isn’t just something that happens to other people.
Ho hum. I suppose that finally puts paid to my faint hopes of medalling at the summer Olympics in Rio, then …