One hip mama part 1

24Jan12

This post first appeared over at my running blog.

So I’ve had hip troubles on and off since I was pregnant with Sami, who is now three. I’ve done a stint in PT that made a lot of difference, but the pain has never completely gone away. My wonderful new doc sent me for an Xray, which was negative for some bad stuff. Yay! But I then needed an MRI to rule in/out some other stuff. Boo.

The very exciting part about all this is that in order to get a good view of the joint, I needed to have an arthrogram – basically, an x-ray where they inject dye into your joint. This involves a long x-ray so the radiologist (a PA, actually) can visualize that the dye is going into the right space during the injection, and the space is all filled up. One nurse took my sworn statement that I wasn’t pregnant (though I had already signed a waiver with another nurse before), and handed me off to another who got me positioned on a table under an x-ray machine. She made all kinds of jokes about not wanting to fry my eggs in case I wanted to have more kids as she swaddled me in lead. Then she realized that my arthrogram was for my hip, and not my shoulder, and unswaddled me, leaving my eggs to fry. Nice.*

The PA numbed me up good, and got started. Even with all the numbing, there is no way to disguise the fact that at stranger is injecting dye right in to your joint. Especially since you see it on an x-ray screen. It was over soon enough, and a nurse helped me hobble down the hall, into the elevator, up a floor, and down another hall to the MRI. Did I mention I was wearing a hospital gown for this whole journey? Fried eggs with a side of humiliation.

I was pleased to discover that I was waiting for the flagship MRI of the brand-new hospital – the 450. Its wide bore is suitable for bariatric and claustrophobic patients. What a relief, not to be in a tube that is barely bigger around than me. However, at the last moment, I was whisked down the hall to the mobile unit. Yes, I was getting an MRI in a trailer. My gown, drafty by nature, provided no protection against the cold breeze in the waiting area.

I rode the power liftgate up to the trailer, and asked the MRI tech how short a straw he had to draw to get this assignment. He said he actually liked being out there with no one to bother him, which made me feel like I should apologize for intruding on his solitude. He readied the machine and the computer while I locked up my purse and clothes.

And then in I went. Holy crap, I went waaaaay in, feet first. I had done some advanced googling to try to prepare myself for how far in I’d have to be. My expectations were way off. I’m only 5’2″, so all those pictures of smiling, average-height patients in up to their chins weren’t quite accurate for me. Basically, the top of my head was out, which might as well have been nothing. If I arched my neck and craned my head around, I could sort of see one wall, which had a mural of a mountain scene.

Moments later, the tech came bursting back in, shouting, “Ma’am, are you pregnant?” I had, within the past hour, discussed my very personal reproductive issues with a nurse upon check in, two different nurses and the PA prior to the arthrogram, and I had signed a waiver stating that no, I was not pregnant. So when the tech asked me that with panic in his voice, I wondered if he’d seen something on his screen that I should know about. Getting pregnant again is one of my deepest fears, so there I was, sure I was pregnant, trapped in a teeny, tiny, drafty tube. My panic level was off the charts and I deeply regretted not having asked for Ativan, or Valium, or Xanax, or at least a Bloody Mary.

I said no, and he hustled back out, leaving me and my adrenaline all by our lonesome to deal with my deepest fears. So, it was a super fun way to spend my lunch hour. Did I mention that the tech had had to rubber-band my feet together?

Once it was over, I headed back to work where I proceeded to have the most unproductive afternoon as my body processed all the excess adrenaline that I’d been pumping out during the scan.

My doctor called with the results a few days later…on a Sunday. It’s never good when doctors call on a Sunday. Sure enough, I have a labral tear.

More on labral tears and their treatment coming in a future post….

*We’re done having kids, so I’m not really worried about my eggs being fried, scrambled, or poached.

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