Saturday, January 9, 2010

Clarity, finally

So I finally understand what's going on with my hip and why we have gotten to where we are. The last few weeks -- since I saw the rheumatologist -- have been confusing. Her xrays showed no arthritis; not only no inflammatory arthritis but no osteoarthritis, which (I thought) was the chief reason to have a hip replacement.

What I have is called FAI: femoral acetabular impingement. I came across this condition in my research months and months ago, but no one was really listening to me (ah, our healthcare delivery system) but apparently now there's consensus. It's a long complicated name for what's not really a complicated problem: it means that the ball of the hip doesn't fit in the joint. It can be structural -- meaning you're born with it, or caused by trauma, but what should be a nice smooth fit made possible by nice smooth surfaces doesn't exist. It's possibly why the labrum tore in the first place, and then it's made far worse by the absence of a functioning labrum to cushion the joint. And because of the nature of the condition of course it makes perfect sense that none of the interim, conservative therapies would work -- why would they? PT, anti-inflammatories, injections, even arthroscopic labral debridement -- of course none of these can help address this rough bone problem.

And it explains why the best way I can describe the pain (and have been well before the medical community gave it a name) is that it feels like my hip doesn't fit. I know what fit feels like; the left side fits just fine.

So now it's on to the hip replacement. Got my date: 1/29. According to Jose it's the only thing guaranteed to work, and now I understand why. Long, strange trip if you ask me.

Apparently there's some prep involved beyond the usual pre-op testing. I have to donate blood, in case I need a transfusion. There's a class I'm supposed to attend at the hospital (can't wait to meet my fellow classmates) and I think some stuff we're meant to do in the house to make it easier when I get home.

It's time. This needs to be fixed and at least now we know what the "it" is. Enough already. But clarity helps.

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