It’s been a while since I posted anything about my hip. How has my hip been over the last few years? I’ve been having regular injections and they’ve made a massive difference. Each injection vastly reduces my pain levels and, I’m grateful that I’m able to receive this particular type of treatment- they stave off an inevitable hip replacement. In fact, as I type this, I’m sitting at home, recovering from another round of treatment.
So why have I chosen to blog about it after a 3 year hiatus on the subject? I wanted to write about what it’s like having a physical impairment. My condition has been present since birth, and as I’ve aged, there has been an element of degenerative change. Specifically, I want to talk about my experiences and some of the attitudes I’ve witnessed. Here we go.
First of all, I get the “you look fine” attitude. I’m a young woman, I like walking and getting some exercise, I attend gigs, I enjoy travelling. I can’t possibly have anything wrong with me! What a silly assumption to make. What people can’t see is that I have to carefully consider how far I can walk on a given day. Feeling tired? Cold weather? Ice or snow on the ground? Type of terrain? Pace? Plans for the next day? Generally, if I over do it one day, the subsequent day won’t be a lot of fun. Cold weather makes my leg hurt more (yay, nerve damage). Ice and snow, whilst it’s very pretty, terrifies me. One wrong step is all it takes.
As for gigs- queuing to get a good spot at a general admission gig? Forget about it. Sometimes I’m lucky if I’m able to stand all the way through a gig without pain or stiffness in my hip or back. So why do I bother going to gigs? Well, the music makes me happy. Simple as that.
Public transport is also a huge problem. In terms of the train, standing when commuting is no good. If I get a seat, or if I sit in a disabled seat, I get the death glare and snide comments as if I shouldn’t be there. Last year, on one chilly winter evening, my train home was delayed by 40 mins, and it flashed up on the information screen saying standing room only. I asked the Scotrail staff at Dundee station for assistance (the only time I’ve asked for assistance in my 10 years of commuting). Did I get help? No, I did not. Instead, I was spoken down to. What did I expect? I don’t look like I have anything wrong with me, do I?
Sometimes people point out my limp. Just to be clear, I don’t mind if someone I know points this out (Dr. House jokes are totally acceptable), they’re just showing concern. However, when a complete stranger mentions it, it’s just rude. On one occasion, I got off the train to go home and an older man with a walking stick shouted to his wife “That lassie’s limping!”. Everyone heard. He thought I was mocking him.
Lastly, there’s those who don’t take my hip issues seriously. No, it’s not a minor thing that will just disappear. Whilst hip dysplasia is common, if you haven’t had multiple rounds of surgery and treatment all your life then no, you don’t have the same issue as me (in fact, I only know of 2 people out of all my friends and acquaintances that have the long-term complications associated with congenital hip dysplasia). My injections don’t “cure” me. Limited movement is something I have to deal with every single day.
I’m luckier than others- my impairment doesn’t compare to those with major disabilities. I’m not writing this blog to gain sympathy. I don’t need it. I have awesome friends and family who look out for me and know my limits.
People just need to be aware that not every disability is visible. Whilst someone may look healthy on the outside, they may be very unwell on the inside.