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AVN, or, Who Knew?

I have a new, somewhat troubling, and indisputably true diagnosis:  avascular necrosis, sometimes called AVN, of my hip joint. 

This means that the flow of blood to my hip joint has been cut off, via some presently unknown physical process/cause, and the head of the femor is dead.  The surrounding bones are crumbly.  Total hip replacement within the next month. 

Initially, I was paradoxically happy when I found out that I needed a new hip, and gathered, from the surgeon, that it was because of osteoperosis.  However, I had a cd of the x-rays and the doctor’s note sent to my husband.  He called me when he got it and told me the true results.  He asked why the surgeon hadn’t told me that it was really  AVN.  Welcome to the world of civilians.  He had just said “You need a new hip last year.” 

I was happy because here at last was proof that I was not crazy.  I’ve been going to doctors for the last ten years about my leg, hip, pain, and inability to walk.  I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, anklyosing spondylitis, and other things about which one can do little, including, probably, Severe Chronic Hypocondria (i.e., here’s that crazy lady again).   To be fair, none of my doctors have really responded that way; they were just all at a loss, it seems. 

A diagnosis of AVN before total collapse of the joint requires an MRI, which no one had ordered.  My last x-ray was eight years ago, and looked normal.  My internist orded the x-rays in mid-March as part of a general checkup, and the reason I can’t walk was quite clear with just one glance at the results.  My main concern now is trying to figure out the process that caused the problem so that I might be able to prevent it from happening in other joints. 

I’ll be up and walking, pain-free, some time in June if all goes as advertised.  In the summer of O8 I climbed from Newfound Gap to Mount LeConte Lodge and went down the Alum Cave trail the next day, total elevation in up and down hiking 7,000 feet.  It really hurt, but I made it.  Right now, I can barely make it across a room.  Farah Mendleson loaned me her Fabulous Collapsible Walking Stick at the ICFA meeting last week, which enabled me to at least hobble around.  I’d thought about not attending, but all the arrangements had been made and I always have a marvelous time, so I went.   I did have a marvelous time, but retired to my room a lot to rest.  Thus I missed the marvel of David Hartwell, among others, climbing the trees around the pool in the wee hours of the night.  Alas!

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March 28, 2010   No Comments