As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a footballer (well, and a gangster – but that’s another story). I’d have been in with shout, but lager and birds sabotaged my crack at the top flight and I settled for that kick-about between two skinfuls – the Sunday League.
Injuries were rare. A combination of the magic sponge and a shout of “run it off son” was enough to remedy most knocks. But all that changed in my mid 20s when “sciatica” kicked in… I sought help. Physios, chiropractors and osteopaths assessed my lower back. They all drew a blank. By my late 20s I was on soccer’s scrap heap.
In the years since I’ve figured out, my problems are less to do with my back and more to do with my hips. In 2008 a specialist in London confirmed I have “hip impingement” – an irregular shaped femoral head which pinches the sciatic nerve. I flirted with surgery, but bottled it and turned to yoga instead.
At first yoga helped, but things started to regress. Whilst in India last year I consulted Dr. Google. My hip impingement was causing painful labral tears within the hip socket and this wear and tear could lead to arthritis. The penny dropped. Yoga’s good, but it ain’t magic. I need to see another specialist.
One of the world’s leading hip specialists (John O’Donnell) happens to be in Melbourne. It didn’t take him long to figure things out and recommend a solution – a hip arthroscopy – trim the offending bone spur and repair the labrum. A keyhole procedure that will not only reduce my pain but also my chances of getting arthritis. A no-brainer if ever I heard it.
Fresh of the boat and without insurance. I get two ops for the price of one – open wallet surgery is thrown in. I’ve been coughing up nelsons every step of the way. If it ain’t the doc, it’s the fella that does the scan, the hospital (for the bed), the anaesthetist, the standby doctor, the pharmacist, the physio – everyone’s got their hand out.
But you can’t put a price on health. So last week I followed in the footsteps of Lady Gaga and A-Rod and got my hip sorted… Only trouble is – it’s costing me an arm and a leg!