Friday, October 15, 2010

Snakes on a Cane - The Highly Anticipated Sequel

For the past six months, I have been in the market for a new cane. Before my most recent surgery, I didn't want to get a new one, even though mine makes an ungodly clinking noise when I walk and the handle is falling apart faster than my plans for a more robust dating life. I figured that if my gluteus medius got fixed, I eventually would be able to walk unaided and I should save my money for dealing with Vancouver beer prices ($4.50 for a warm PBR! Seriously, people!). But since the reattachment didn't work and I'm still legitimately half-assed, it looks like the cane will be my permanent +1. It's time to upgrade to a better model. Or at least a model that doesn't leave little gummy bits of handle rubber on my palms that resemble snot. (I know. So sexy).

I've been down the cane-buying road before: the cat-themed canes; the sword canes (I can barely manage to not kill people with my regular cane. Lord help us all if I ever get one with a lethal weapon inside); the canes with a silver skull on the handle (unless it shoots lasers from the eyes, not interested); the ones made of lucite or topped with a wolf/eagle/dragon/mudflap girl/dolphin. Seriously, I like dolphins and all, but who likes dolphins enough to put up with brass dorsal fin sticking into your palm every time you try to walk? And also, someone needs to put a disclaimer on those canes that have the mudflap girl on them that if you use one, that's going to be the only naked girl riding on your shaft for the rest of your life. (Too far? Too far.)

No, I attract enough attention walking down the street as it is. What I need is a cane that blends into the background, like some kind of a secret service agent. A cane that says, "I have a permanent disability, so stop asking me if I've sprained my ankle because if I hear the phrase 'Gosh, what did you do to yourself?' one more time I am going to shank someone" while also saying "Oh, and by the way, I'm not 90 years old and can still bring the hotness." A cane that does its job as a mobility aid but doesn't look like a lifestyle choice.

You'd think this would be easy: go online, find a cane that's tall enough and unobtrusive, purchase it and have it arrive to my door thanks to the power of the internets. No. Incorrect. For one, the website design of most online cane stores looks fresh from a Geocities fan page circa 1996 and it's nearly impossible to navigate any of them. Plus, just out of principle, I'm not buying anything from a store that has a GIF of a snowman dancing along the screen or that claims to be marketing its products to the "enfeebled."

The second problem, however, is that I've discovered that most canes have names more suited to sex toys and I cannot take them seriously. Here are some examples:
  • The Black Mamba
  • The Tuxedo Night Stick
  • The Blackthorn Premium Knob
  • Mylord With Grapes
  • The Magician's Wand
  • The Regency Scrimshaw Bulb
  • The Lady Blowing Horn
  • The Alpaca Horn of Plenty
  • The Burgandy StripTease (not even kidding)
  • The Powder Pink Soft Touch
I'm sorry, but do I want some delivery person coming to my house and asking my mom if she'll sign for a Power Pink Soft Touch with adjustable shaft? No. No I do not. It's not happening. Alas, I have a feeling that the Great Cane Hunt of 2010 is going to last longer than SurgeonWatch 2009. The excitement around here really never ceases.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ass Lasers to the Rescue!

If you look at my calendar, you'll see October 20th circled and surrounded by stars, hearts, butterflies and happy faces. No, it's not my birthday (though International Arley Appreciation day comes up on November 15th, so you might want to stock up on some more candles and incense to spruce up your Arley shrine). October 20th is the day that my hip restrictions will finally be over.

Yes, my life is about to get marginally less awkward! No more will I have to explain to passersby on the street that my ass cushion is not a very large, squishy briefcase. No more will I have to say the phrases, "No, I did not sprain my ankle. I had a hip replacement. Yes, I'm very young to have a hip replacement. I'm glad to hear your grandma's doing well after her knee replacement in 2005." No more will I trip random waiters because I have to stick my incredibly long leg out into the aisle when I'm sitting down (although my chances of getting attractive men to land in my lap is now significantly reduced).No more will I forgo dates because visions of cartoon old people in the post-hip-replacement sex manual getting it on are dancing (and by 'dancing' I mean 'f*cking to the point of hip dislocation') in my head.

Yes, there's light at the end of the Tunnel of Hip Replacement Ridiculousness. For the past few years, my diva hip has been the star of the Arley show. First, my hip was subluxing/dislocating/migrating south for the winter and I spent a good year traumatizing my family and friends by having them tug on my leg to put it back in the socket. Then, there was the first hip replacement and the ensuing melodrama and the second hip replacement and the ensuing hours spent in physio getting dating advice from old people. I am now equipped with a full-time post at the Ministry of Silly Walks and a lifetime of jokes about being half-assed.

But while the hip crisis is beginning to go from "Life-Consuming" to "Generally Annoying," other body parts are stepping in for their moment in the sun. For the past two weeks, one of my ribs has been out of alignment, which is causing breathing to be very difficult and is generally making me crankier than a cat at a water park. (How did you pop your rib out of alignment, Arley? know...just living the dream).

This means that not only does my poor physio have to teach me how to not walk like a crack zombie, she also has to stand on a stool so she can get enough leverage to push my rib into its home while trying not to push my spinal facets or SI joints out of alignment. Sometimes it feels like my bones were designed by Picasso. Having a Skeleton: You're Doing it Wrong.

Granted, I didn't do myself any favours when I fell down the stairs last Friday, which is the exact thing that the 85-year-olds at physio are always warning me not to do (along with not dating tall men to avoid having daughters with big feet, but that's another story). I got a little cocky and thought, "Since I am the Queen of Recovery, for my next trick I will go downstairs backwards on slippery stairs in equally slippery shoes and that should work out well for me." As I felt myself falling, I panicked, grabbed my crutches, and twisted my hip hard, which caused my semi-detached gluteus medius to swell up to a gluteus maximus.

To calm the swelling and force my body parts to play nice, my physiotherapist pulled out the big guns: lasers. At first, I was worried, since my familiarity with lasers comes from the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and I am already part evil robot. I was assured, however, that the lasers would calm the swelling and reduce the pain. Bring on the happy lasers! Cut to me, a few minutes later, laying on my side with my pants down as my physio (wearing large eye-shielding goggles reminiscent of the ones old ladies who have had cataract surgery wear to drive) presses the laser into the side of my hip and my ass. Ass lasers to the rescue! Dignity not required! I'm pretty sure this is not the way most people spend their Friday afternoon, but I have to admit that that the lasers did the job. The swelling in my ass had gone down enough by Friday evening to cram myself into skinny jeans. And if skinny jeans aren't a benchmark to recovery, I don't know what is.