I'm a 29-year-old Communications Consultant from BC, Canada. I was a member of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball National Team from 2001 - 2007, winning two World Championship gold medals and a Paralympic bronze medal in Athens. I'm also a published novelist. My first novel, Post, was published by Thistledown Press in 2007. My second novel, The Time We All Went Marching, was released in October and is available here.
When I started "Young and Hip" in August on 2009, 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 been nearly two years and a lot of shit has happened. 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 went back in to try to repair the gluteus medius, but no dice. I did, however, get a fancy new hip replacement that doesn't clunk and pull and shift. I'm now seeing a physiotherapist who specializes in failed hip replacements to try to get some more function.
And now you know.