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Friday, March 30, 2012

"My surgeon is only allowed to say seven sentences to me during an office visit."

That's what I told my physical therapist when she was testing my strength so she could send a report to Surgeon before I saw him on Wednesday. She laughed, "Not a big conversationalist?" "Nope," I said, "and I'm certain if he says more than seven sentences he'll explode all over the place. That's just messy."

My PT said, regardless of the taciturn nature of dear Surgeon, I was to ask him if I was released to begin running on the treadmill and track.

So I went to my appointment, put on the HUGE exam shorts (I seriously believe that "one size fits all" means that all the patients are supposed to wear that pair of shorts at the same time--and there would be plenty of room for everyone), and waited for Surgeon. This is how our visit went:

Surgeon: Lets see, we injected your hip because you developed bursitis. Did that help?
me: Yes, very much.
Surgeon (poking around where he stuck a needle in me six weeks ago): Are you still having pain?
me: Only when you poke my joint like that.
Surgeon: That is not your joint. It's your bursa.
me (rolling my eyes): Only when you poke my bursa like that.
Surgeon: Seriously, Sam, you've had major surgery. You need to know these things.
me: Okay.
Surgeon: You're feeling better?
me: Yes. So much better.
Surgeon: Good. Everything looks like it's healing nicely.
me (wondering how he can possibly know that when the only thing he's done is poke me through my giant exam shorts): My PT told me to ask you if you think I'm ready to start running.
Surgeon: Can you stand on your right leg alone?
me (obediently showing him): Yes.
Surgeon: With no problem or balance checks. Good. You know, of course, that swimming is the best exercise for anyone, but if  you want to run, you can start.
me: Treadmill or track?
Surgeon: Actually, as long as the surface is fairly flat and forgiving (no concrete sidewalks), you can run wherever you want.
me: Good!
Surgeon: Sam, don't push too hard. Start slowly.
me: Surgeon, it's been a year since I've been able to run regularly. If I make a mile the first time, that will be a miracle.
Surgeon: Well, just build up your miles a little at a time. And keep building the muscles--that will keep the bursitis from coming back.
me: I will.
Surgeon: And I'm very glad you're feeling better because I like you very much.
(I laughed--there really is no other response.)
Surgeon: No, really. It makes me happy when you come in. You're very positive and you have a great smile, so I'm glad things are going well for you.
me: Thanks! Me, too.

So there you have it--Surgeon said more than his required seven sentences, and he's very glad I'm getting better.

And yesterday I tried that running thing. I firmly believe that sometime during the past year, the joint fairy swapped out my hip with someone else's because that was not my hip I was using. I've run all my life. It's a natural movement that has always felt effortless. Not this time. It was all about effort. I had opted to use the treadmill just in case something like this happened. By the time thirty minutes had passed, I could barely walk.

So this running thing is going to take a little time.

The good news is that when I had rested for a couple of hours there was no more weakness in the joint and it felt fine. That means I didn't cripple myself. I think that's a very good thing.

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