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Dont Be a Martyr

Posted Dec 19 2009 6:46am

Martyrs, my friend, have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood: never.  Albert Camus (1913-1960) French novelist, essayist and dramatist

I first felt the hip pain in my left leg in May when I limped around Texas while visiting my niece, Amanda, at her high school graduation. The pain persisted as I went about my day-to-day activities. The pain intensified after a marathon-like dance rehearsal and performance on June 11. In July, after waiting a month for an appointment, I was finally able to see my primary care doctor. I was diagnosed with trochanteric (hip) bursitis and given a handout of exercises to perform. I was conscientious and performed them daily. I attempted to give my hip leg a rest in August, but resting has never been my forte. In September when the dance classes resumed, I didn’t want to miss my big birthday shindig so I danced through the pain. Our last dance performance of the year was on December 15, with a three week break until classes resume in January.

The hip pain became intolerable. I called my doctor’s office on December 16.

“Your doctor is out of the country for a month,” the nurse reported.

“I’ll see anyone,” I snapped back. By then the pain was excruciating, and I would have been willing to see the janitor if he was the only one available on the care team.

Two days later, I went to a salt-and-pepper haired doctor complaining once again about hip pain. He understood as he had treated hundreds of patients before with similar problems. He suggested treating the bursitis with a cortisone injection. I was desperate and consented to have the injection. Within less than five minutes, the relatively painless procedure was performed.

Coincidentally, when I arrived home yesterday, I received an email from Carolyn, who went with her husband to a physical therapist (PT) for a similar problem the same morning. Carolyn reported:

"The PT who is a specialist in balance and gait in Parkinson’s patients, told us that the research over the last 10 years makes it absolutely clear that the only way to get rid of this bursitis is a cortisone shot followed by ice and complete rest: NO repetitive motion or even any PT exercises. Just rest. She also said that if you don't get rid of an acute case, scar tissue forms, and then you have it all the time."

So yesterday, I put ice on my hip and attempted to “just rest” (the most difficult prescription of them all). I woke up this morning feeling GREAT like my old pre-bursitis self.

Moral of the Story: If you think you have a medical problem, pursue it until you can find a solution that you can live with. Don’t be a martyr.

Further information on trochanteric (hip) bursitis: and

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