I admit it: Before the demise of my hips and their cartilage, I wasn’t quite sure what bilateral meant. Worse than this, I didn’t care to know.
Put it this way: I was more than willing to go to the grave without ever having uttered (let alone discuss) the implications of the word bilateral – bilateral means both sides.
In the world of hip replacements, otherwise known as THRs, bilateral means you’ve had two new hips installed. In many cases, if one hip goes “bad”, the other one often heads in the same direction.
It makes sense.
I had hip dysplasia, a word every dog lover knows. Even though I am a bit further up the food chain than a purebred German Shepherd, I have the same problem as they do. My hips were shallow in their sockets and didn’t last as long as they should have.
By age 43, my athleticism had taken a toll. My right hip began to ache. Within six months, I was limping. Two months after that, I couldn’t sleep from the radiating pain.
Hips are notorious for causing excruciating pain. They also come in twos. Having such miraculous relief from my first hip replacement made my second THR decision easy.
Two years after my first THR, the hip that had always seemed worse on the x-rays but that had never caused me any problems (go figure; the mind deals with pain in mysterious ways) began to ache.
I was back to my gimping gait and sleepless nights within six months. I waited until my hip began keeping me awake all night – and the next day, I booked my surgery. Some people agonize over whether to have a hip replaced or not. Once you have and can feel the relief, it’s easy to go bilateral, baby.
Now, when people in my indoor cycling or yoga classes call me the bionic woman, I wink and correct them. I’d rather be called the bilateral woman. It’s not quite Buns of Steel, but close!
If you are having hip deterioration affecting your athleticism, don’t agonize. Find the best doctor who performs THRs every day, all day long, and book an appointment to go have a chat. You can always cancel. But don’t wait for your cartilage to grow back. But you can get your pain-free life (and your workout routine) back.