Sunday, March 21, 2010

Backstory (Hip-story?)

When I started "Young and Hip" in August, my motivations for doing so went a little something like this: "Well, damn. I have been stuck in bed for six weeks and I'm bored as fuck and if I have to watch one more happy-people-buying-houses reality TV show I'm going to punch a hole through the wall, which would likely lead to a broken hand and render me even gimpier, so why don't I start a hip-replacement blog to keep my family and friends up to date about my progress (read: to complain to someone other than my mom) and possibly give some other young people having hip replacements a head's up that this shit is not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows? That should keep me occupied for a few weeks until my hip magically gets better."

Well, it's late March and my blog has been going strong for 7 months and is nearly 400 pages long when put in a word processor (concision: you're doing it wrong). Lately, I've been getting emails along the lines of, "Hey, love your blog. That part where you talk about your detached ass and compare your walking to a heroin-addicted Phantom of the Opera: LOLZ! But, uh, what exactly happened to you?" (In fairness, people who have known me for my whole life are asking the same question).

So, here, for those of you who are just tuning in, is the story of What Exactly Happened to Me:

When I was 11, thanks to a freak inner-tubing accident and probably some DNA-based wonkiness, I slipped the growth plate on my left hip. It was pinned back on, the pins caused avascular necrosis (which translates rather dramatically into "bone death"), the pins were taken out, my adolescence got an extra serving of awkwardness thanks to a bright-blue half-body cast that stuck my legs out at 45-degree angles and meant that anything I wore on my lower body had to have snaps up the side like a baby onesie. (You'd think such easy-access underwear would have made me a hit with all the gentlemen, but you'd be wrong). The ensuing years were filled with crutches, canes, wheelchairs, arm-crutches and me growing to over 6 feet tall, but long story short: after 15 years of avascular necrosis, my femoral head basically began to look like Mickey Rourke's face.

While all this was going on, I was busily playing wheelchair basketball (I was on the national team from 2001 to 2007 and won two World Championship golds and a Paralympic bronze), getting degrees in Creative Writing and History at the University of Victoria, writing and publishing a novel called "Post," then doing my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois so that I could play wheelchair basketball with the U of I varsity team. Oh, and I also make ridiculously intricate cakes.

In November 2007, a few days before my 25th birthday, my hip decided it was fed up with me subjecting it to hours of wheelchair basketball, ill-advised attempts at hiking (though, granted, "hiking" in the midwest is more like "strolling up small hills with grand names like The Eagle's Peak"), and generally running it into the ground. My hip tried to quit me by either popping out or hooking itself on my femoral head, (doctors never did figure out exactly what it was doing), and I basically re-enacted that scene from "The Exorcist" (puking! Shaking! Leg twisted at sickening angles impossible to recreate by people who are not in the circus!). Over the next 18 months, it became clear that my hip was Just Not That Into Me because it was straying more than Tiger Woods in Las Vegas. There was only one thing to do: become a cyborg.

On June 23rd, 2009, I headed into the O.R. to become to proud owner of a Freaky Cyborg Hip. I was so confident that my hip replacement would go well that I had booked a cake-making gig for a week after the surgery, since everyone had told me that "they get you up and walking the same day! My 95-year-old grandpa waltzed out of the hospital after only 3 days and has had a successful career as an extreme sky-diver ever since! It was the best decision I ever made!"

Yeah, not so much. I was awake during the surgery (I actually got to see my femoral head after it was taken out), but when the epidural wore off, it became clear that something had gone terribly awry. I couldn't move my leg. I couldn't walk without inching my toes along the floor. My doctor went on vacation, I was stuck in the hospital, and no one could figure out why my Freaky Cyborg Hip decided to take a long nap.

To make another long story short (you can see how this blog got to be 500 pages), my original surgeon sort of dumped me after they discovered that my gluteus medius was detached, which was causing part of my problem. My new surgeon found out that my left leg is two inches too short and that my socket is probably loose. It also turns out that I am like the medical equivalent of Stonehenge because no one can figure out exactly why I'm still having so much trouble (maybe I'm crazy! Maybe the screwed-up-ness of the rest of the hip is preventing even working muscles from operating! Maybe evil trolls have cast a spell on me! Maybe my Freaky Cyborg Hip is too busy plotting to take over Tokyo to bother with that whole "walking" thing!)

I'm going to be having surgery this summer, but for now I'm living in Urbana, Illinois (I have friends here and the rent is super cheap) until America breaks up with me and sends me back to my native Vancouver. When I'm not blogging about my hip replacement, I work as a Communications Consultant, enjoy creative writing and am mildly-to-moderately obsessed with Canadian indie rocker Dan Bejar.

And now you know.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was remarkably concise!