For all its faults, the Internet can be a wonderful place. Officially, the cause of my dad’s hip problem was avascular necrosis. My mom mentioned that everyone was stumped how it came about. Curiosity got the better of me and found information on the Mayo Clinic’s site. Here’s what I learned:
- It’s most common in men from 30-60 (check!).
- The most common joint affected is the hip (check!). It’s frequently asymptomatic until the pain presents in the hip itself, thigh, or butt (thigh – check!).
- The most common causes are excessive alcohol intake (he drinks 2-3 beers a night and a glass of sherry – check!), cancer treatments (check!), and steroid use (quarter of check – he was on steroids for about a month for brain pain).
- He’s also an avid runner and trampoline jumper. Yes, I know the latter sounds ridiculous but it’s great cardio. I’m calling those checks as well for the frequent high impact.
- He rarely, if ever, drinks water. He freely admits there are days where his only liquid intake is coffee and beer. He freaks out wait staff when we got to a restaurant and he refuses the free water.
He may have legitimately had an infection in his hip from the previous surgery, but it did a great job of masking the bone death. Even if he didn’t have an infection, the bone death was clearly well masked. He literally couldn’t walk when he went to the hospital the first time. I have this hilarious mental image of my 5’4″ (163 cm for my metric system readers) mother tossing my 6’3″ (190.5 cm) father over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes to get him in the car. This is probably not that far from the truth. The adage says knowledge is power. Now that I had a name and a way to figure out what the hell was going on, I feel better. I took the same approach when he was detoxing from the oxycodone after his first round of cancer treatments in 2007. It’s obviously not fatal and will take a lot of rehab to get him back and up and running (quite literally). My mom really hit the nail on the head when she observed the hardest part is watching him have no energy or interest in what’s going on around him.
My dad is one of the most enthusiastic and exuberant people I know. It’s where I inherited a lot of my personality. This is the man who spent last October working in a haunted house scaring the shit out of people. He loved every second of it. This is the man who was out on the dance floor all night at my cousin’s wedding wearing a feather boa. One of my other cousins asked how much he’d had to drink. I laughed and told him clearly he didn’t know my dad very well. To see him sitting quietly in a hospital bed not cracking a joke or plotting an elaborate escape from aforementioned hospital is jarring. Who are you and what have you done with my dad? They’ll let him out sooner or later and life will go back to normal. Ideally, that day will come sooner rather than later.
In other news, I’ve been using my pedometer (a Withings Pulse) more regularly. It’s enlightening to see how much I walk on a daily basis. It’s automatically set to 10,000 steps a day. In Vegas, I blew that goal out of the water fairly quickly. Today, I haven’t even cracked 500 yet. Admittedly, I’ve been sitting on my ass all day reading and researching various maladies on the internet. The app lets you track your step count, pulse, sleep, and weight. I had the weight option turned off for a long time for reasons I won’t rehash again. Just for fun, I put it back on there and started weighing myself at least once a day. In one day, I can vary as much as 3-4 pounds. I know I’m confusing the hell out of the app because I keep changing the entries so frequently. Sometimes, you just have to see things for yourself. Weight is a stupid measure of health or fitness. It is merely how much the earth wants to hold me toward its center. That number has no bearing on my self worth. Watching the variance over the course of almost a week has driven that point home quite well. It’s like moods. Some days, I’ll feel banging and ready to take over the world. Other days, I’d rather hide under the covers and check Facebook all day. My mood doesn’t remain steady all the time and neither will my weight. That’s how life rolls. I’m not sure how you operate, fair readers, but I have to see something for myself to truly understand a situation. A year ago, I never thought I would be able to step on a scale with any kind of regularity and laugh at the absurdity I saw. Evolution is a grand, grand thing. N’est pas?