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#1 What?! That Can’t be Possible!

First Doctor Appointment, August 2017

I was stunned. I’m sitting on the orthopedic doctor’s examining table and she has just told me, in a blunt and off-hand way, “You have osteoarthritis. In your right hip.”

What?! No way! I had just turned 60, surely too young to have this problem—arthritis is when people can’t get up and down easily or move without pain. That wasn’t me! I could do everything I love doing without pain. Pilates. Hiking. Biking. Afro-Caribbean Dance. Zumba. Contra Dance. Swimming. Long dog walks!

I was in her office because I had pain in my right leg at night. “An orchestra of pain!” I told her. "Different voices of pain rising up and sinking away. Brief moments or long episodes of pain moving from my groin to my knee to big toe to outer hip. Like tympani, horns, violins, and the ting of a triangle when it gets to my big toe! It keeps me awake at night."

She was not impressed with my poetic description. “Yes. That’s how it starts. At night,” she said. “And the pain can show up in the knee and other places, but the source is the hip.”

She said she would order xrays to confirm her diagnosis, see me after that, and walked out.

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