I’ve never not been able to get about. It’s one of the odd things about creaking hips – unless they reach the stage of ‘dire’ it’s usually possible to hobble about somehow or other. I hadn’t reached the stage of ‘dire’ but nevertheless compensating for the increasingly creaking hip meant that I tended to lop about, earning the nickname ‘hop-a- long’ from my wonderfully insensitive Dutch pastor (I like Lance, I understand his method, I think Lance and I probably skipped the pastoral care lessons when at college). So, it’s down to my physio Klaas both to get the new hip properly mobilised and get me walking upright – and not like some hairy creature that dropped out of the nearest tree to forage on the jungle floor.
It’s an interesting experience having to practise doing something that used to be perfectly natural, something you never stop to think about until you can’t, like walking. And, among other things, it requires a lot of trust. Trusting that this chrome cobalt metal hip joint that’s been rammed down the inside of your leg bone will a) not dislocate or b) not shatter your leg bone into a million pieces, is the first psychological challenge. The second is to trust your physio. I often hear a voice in my head saying things like ‘It’s ok for you, big lad, you haven’t just had a hip replacement’, or ‘You want me to do that ten times three times over – you’re pulling my leg’. But, I have to hand it to him, Klaas clearly knows what he’s doing, even when he has me on the bench and it feels like he is literally pulling my leg. Anyway, I’m by no means the first person he has managed to get up and moving again.
As I leave behind the need for crutches and anticipate my first foray on public transport in the next few days, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have access to first class health care and resources. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to become increasingly debilitated without the prospect of relief or repair, as is the case for many. So, I reckon the very least I can do is make the most of the opportunity that’s been given to me, learn to walk again and then go do something useful!