Health Goddess

Growing old reluctantly

It started in February this year.

I had gotten out of bed and felt a niggling discomfort at the front of my hip. I use the word “front” loosely, I really didn’t quite figure out where the odd sensation came from. It was towards the front of my hip, yes, but it also felt deep. But I had no time to think about it because shortly after, we went into COVID overdrive. First it was Mr 10 and my helper who tested positive, and then I did too, three days later.

I emerged from the pain of COVID (truly one of the WORST experiences of my life – and I say this coming from years of stabbing myself with needles and hormones) with a hip that was significantly worse than before. The discomfort had spread and now I could not even get in and out of the car without pain. Unglamorously, I had to use my hands to lift my leg up whenever I wanted to enter or exit my vehicle.

Many months of physiotherapy and dollars later, I was back at square one. My hip was stubbornly refusing to get better, and it taunted me whenever it could. Like when I tried to go into the Asian squat. Or when I glided into warrior two during yoga. Freaking hell, I was mighty talented at doing the squat until then.

“I think you had better find an orthopaedic doctor and get a MRI done,” my physiotherapist texted me. “It is probably a hip joint problem.”

A quick and casual check with Dr Google brought up a series of possible ailments: arthritis (don’t you have to be, like, old to get that?) or a tear or – gasps – BONE CANCER. I made a quick call to my insurance agent who confirmed that despite all the money I had thrown at his company over the years, such injuries will not be covered by my policies unless I am hospitalised.

Okay, restructured hospitals it is. I secured an appointment with the polyclinic so as to obtain a referral letter, and two weeks later, left the with the prized letter tucked into my purse. My relief was short-lived, however, when I discovered that my appointment with the orthopaedic clinic was in 4.5 months’ time.

“If I am not immobile now, I would be, by the time the appointment rolls around,” I said to whoever would listen to me.

Fortunately, I had the bandwidth to explore private healthcare options. I turned to my favourite crowdsourcing platform – Instagram – and asked for orthopaedic surgeon recommendations. I ended up with SO. MANY. (Thank you, my lovely Instagram community!)

Not five minutes after I posted my SOS story, miss ene sent me a text message.

“My cousin is an orthopaedic surgeon at XGH,” she wrote. “Wanna see him?”

And then another five minutes later: “He will see you next week.”

Followed by: “Oh yes, go back to the polyclinic and get another referral letter. But make sure it says XGH.”

(Birds fly high, hard to catch. Friends like her, hard to find. Whoever came up with this, wtf it does not even rhyme.)

So, hospital. After an excruciating 4.5-hour wait – that included a series of x-rays taken with me lying at extremely awkward angles because, groin – I got my diagnosis: hip impingement. Essentially, my femur bone is slightly thicker than it should be and that causes friction between the bone and the socket. All that spinning and squatting and lunging had caused the hip area to wear out.

“As we get older,” said the doctor sagely. “Our bodies tend to recover slower. We are no longer the same. You know those people in their 50s or 60s who are in the newspapers because they are so fit and buff? It’s because they are a rarity, that’s why they are featured. Most of us will have to slow down.”

Tl;dr YOU ARE GETTING OLD. ACCEPT IT ALREADY.

The thing is, I know that I am getting older but I am also resentful because for the better part of my 20s, I was busy hustling and trying to earn a living. In my 30s, I was either pregnant or breastfeeding or clutching a child in my arms. For the first time in more than a decade, I feel good about myself.

I know, I know, I can always modify my activities or do things that aren’t as, sniffs, high-impact. But it’s so frustrating that though my mind is sharp and clear and ready to take on more, my body is at the stage where it is slowly falling apart. I liked seeing my progress, from collapsing in a heap after lifting 5kg weights to bouncing up and down in my lunge, an 8kg dumbbell in each hand. I am my own worst – or best – enemy because I am all, veni, vedi, vici.

We are supposed to accept ageing and be graceful about it. I know that being able to grow old is a privilege. That’s what mature adults do and think. I will, eventually, but right now I am just urghs. I have months of PT ahead of me (SIGH) and I don’t now if I will ever recover to the point where I feel 100% again. Fingers crossed that my mind and my body will come to an agreement one day, and co-exist harmoniously again.

GROWING OLD IS A BITCH.

You can pry my drink out of my dead, cold hand for I will never stop drinking. Never!