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#6 First Appointment with Dr. Murphy

In the three months that I waited for my October 1st appointment with Dr. Murphy, good stuff and bad stuff happened in my life that challenged the regularity of my exercise--Cucum-Evail supplement--Epsom salt bath--nighttime ibuprofen pain-management protocol. (Whew!) It became clear that missing out on one or more elements had a clear impact on my pain.

My mother, who had dementia and then had fallen and broken her femur and needed to be in a nursing home, did not rally and eventually got sicker. I was on the Massachusetts Turnpike many weekends, doing my best to support her, my father, and my siblings who lived near her. Lots of tense sitting in the car. Mom died in mid-September. All of that was the bad stuff, except it helped me appreciate even more the closeness I have with my family.

The good stuff, which was inspired by my mother, was deciding to be a singer-dancer in an October production of Mama Mia, along with my husband. (Mom encouraged me in my teens when I was in a lot of musicals, then she went on to get involved herself!). However, my hip was beginning to become more unstable, and I was worried about whether I'd be able to do the show, especially a sideways galloping action in a circle that I needed to do in a dance number, leading with my right side. A whole group of people was counting on me to make to the other side in time. But I did it. Yes!

My first appointment with Dr. Murphy took place during Tech Week. I was expecting to be able to get to my rehearsal in Craryville, NY after my 1:00 appointment with Dr. Murphy in Boston. OK, that might have been a little overambitious. As it turned out, Dr. Murphy was running quite late, and I only made the last few minutes of the rehearsal.

All of which is to say, I was antsy and doing exercises on the examining table while I waited for him to come in. When he finally came in, he turned out to be a laid-back kind of guy, not rushing. I liked that! However, he probably didn't get the impression of a person in a lot of pain or unable to function. He looked at me. He looked at my tests. He moved my leg in my hip a few ways. He sat quietly and thought. Finally, to my great disappointment, he said, let's check back in January. Aaaugh! I had geared up to walking away with an appointment for surgery, having spent so much time thinking about it. He was sympathetic, but it wasn't time yet. He did mention, though, that given my relative youth and good health, perhaps I'd be a good candidate for his special orthopedic clinic in New Hampshire, where hip and knee surgeries could be done on an out-patient basis.

Another issue was that the MRI I had had done a few months earlier did not show a labral tear. He said that it was not that uncommon not to see it, but that the MRI technician appeared to have stopped taking pictures at about the time and place that a labral tear would have shown up. So, at this point, there was no test that proved I had a labral tear, which bothered me, and probably had something to do with the wait and see outcome of this first appointment. I left feeling uncomfortably in limbo.

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