Five years ago I had my right hip replaced. The procedure was very successful and I have had absolutely no problems or limitations. When I was told that my hip was a mess, I thought what irony.
I had spent a great deal of my life teaching exercise and also cycled, played tennis and hiked a lot. Being in good physical condition was a goal I always tried to pursue.
Well, here’s the rub.
When I like something, I go full speed ahead. Over the years I jumped, spun, ran, and pumped iron. I taught yoga and could twist myself into a pretzel. I’m sure at various times my joints have screamed for mercy.
But, hey I felt good and even when I felt slightly off, I ignored the signals I was getting that I might want to give my body a rest.
I know I’m not alone.
In fact, doing physical activities to extreme has become a big part of American culture. We like to push the envelope. Today it is not unusual to read about individuals doing one hundred mile marathons (that also include dragging a dog sled behind you with your teeth, or snowboarding across glaciers while balancing a hundred pound iguana on your head!)
A few months ago I watched a program about skateboarders and how exhilarated they felt as they flipped and twisted through the air. Unfortunately a few a them seemed not to recognize that they were human. Even extensive injuries did not curtail the pursuit of what they considered to be “the ultimate high”.
I can totally resonate with this type of feeling. The first time I leaped through the air in one of my dance classes I knew I had to do it again. I felt incredibly exhilarated and knew at that moment that I wanted to access that feeling often.
However, there are prices to pay for trying to achieve that goal, and I’m paying. I now have to have a knee replacement. More than likely it will end up being both. My shoulders aren’t that great either. I hear creaks and groans coming from my body that make me feel like I should audition for a horror movie. Bouncing up and down the stairs is no longer an option, dragging is more the rule than the exception.
But the good news is that joint replacements are more sophisticated than ever. My hope is that in the early spring I will get my knee done.
Who knows, if I live long enough I may have more new parts than old! Then I may be able to get a show as the new bionic woman.
<em><a href=”http://www.lorettalaroche.com/”> Loretta LaRoche </a> writes the Get A Life Column for the Patriot Ledger.</em>