A Broken Hip

dab52fb9d6d005d8e4d8867e779c781bI literally broke my hip.

So, I haven’t been running in about seven weeks. For those of you who don’t know, I found out last week that I broke my hip last December. I didn’t fall in the bathtub or loose my grip on my walker or anything like that. No, I broke my hip by running and working out. To be more precise, I have a stress fracture in my “femoral neck”. Apparently it’s an overuse injury. This means I basically ran and worked out until I broke my leg. “How?” you may ask. To be honest, I don’t know. Sometimes when people run they pull muscles, and sometimes when people run they crack the largest bone in their bodies. I chose to do the latter.

It all started right after I returned from my thirtieth birthday trip to Florida where I was hit by a hurricane. That following week, I noticed some strange pains on my runs, but I didn’t think anything of it. Runners have strange pains all the time! Then in November, I was having some serious stiffness in my left hip. “Eh, I just need a good deep glute massage.” Then December came around, and the Tuesday before Christmas, I had a VERY painful run.

I spent the next week limping around and not running thinking that I had just pulled something really badly. Some new muscle that I never knew existed because I had never felt this kind of thing before. Anyway, one week off of running turned to two, and then three, and then four, and finally at five weeks, I made an appointment with a sports medicine doctor.

The doctor was very attentive, and he took my symptoms seriously. And have you ever heard of the “hop test”? Basically, they ask you to hop on the injured leg, and if it hurts, then there is a high likelihood that you have a stress fracture. Apparently this is pretty standard. But I mean, in my mind, if it hurts when you hop on an injured leg, then all you’ve proven is that it’s injured, right? But what do I know, I’m not a doctor. Anyway, my x-rays were fine, but then I performed the hop test. The doctor was like, “Stand over here and hop with the foot on the injured side.” So I did. “Does that cause your pain?” I said, “Yes.” And then he was like, “Well, shoot…” Apparently I failed the test, and he ordered an MRI.

I’ve had an MRI before, and they don’t bother me. However, this one was with contrast. They basically inject dye into your body so that they can have a clearer image on the scan. I don’t like this idea because I don’t like needles.

So, I was sitting there in the waiting room, hungry, shaky, nervous, cold, etc. practicing my anti-anxiety breathing exercises, when this guy, another patient, comes out from the door that I was about to enter. He shuffled his feet, his face was pale, and his eyes were wide. One of his forearms was wrapped in blue tape, and BOTH of his elbow joints were wrapped in the same blue tape. The receptionist was like, “Are you okay?!” and he said, “….tough IV….” as he shuffled to his seat while being offered apple juice and you-did-great’s. This did not help things. Was there some new girl in the back, first day on the job doing IV’s?

Anyway, it was eventually my turn to go through that door and meet my fate. The good news though was that I didn’t have to get an IV! But I did have to get naked from the waist down. And I did have to put a gown on that opened in the back. And I did have to get a needle shoved deep down into my groin to inject the contrast directly into my hip joint. I did not like that. Also, when they shove that needle into your groin, they use a live x-ray so they can get the needle in just the right spot.

So I was lying there on the table feeling a cool draft up my skirt while the lady helping the doctor was prepping me on everything that was going to happen. While prepping me, she was strapping on this big, thick lead vest and what looked like a thick, lead neck brace. And as she was strapping on all her layers of lead, she was like, “There is no need to worry. This x-ray machine emits very, very little radiation.” And then she said, “People are always afraid they won’t have kids after this, but we aren’t making people sterile back here!”

Anyway, walking on a hip that had been injected full of fluid was odd. As I hobbled down the hallway to the MRI machine, I was afraid to bend my hip too much thinking that it was going to burst. It didn’t burst, and this portion of the appointment was pretty boring. I laid there in a tube that was making loud noises with earplugs stuffed in my ears for about a half an hour and then it was all done and I went home.

It was early the next morning when they called me with the results. If you ever have a scan, and they call you early the next day, then you can be pretty sure that they found something. And sure enough, they found a stress fracture.

I have an appointment Tuesday morning (2/7) to talk about my upcoming treatment plan, and I’m feeling rather impatient to see the images and to know just how much damage I’ve caused. I’ve actually been very happy with the care that I have received, and I’m very thankful for this doctor and I’m thankful that he’s taking my symptoms seriously. Though I am a little bummed to have to take such a long hiatus from running, I know it will heal, and I will run again. I just wasn’t expecting to start 2017 with such a huge speed bump.