Accepting Change

I was reared in a family that never scheduled routine check-ups and avoided seeing the doctor unless it was an emergency. I remember Dr. Yost being called out to our house for me three times in the ten years we lived in Lynnport. When I was seven I had a bad flu, when I was in fourth grade he pulled a large splinter from the back of my leg, and when I was in high school what started as a cold turned into something much worse. Each time my mother’s call to Dr. Yost was the last resort after all efforts by her to heal me failed. So I learned early on that you don’t call the doctor unless there are no other options. And a gazillion options are one click away. 

Following my families tradition I’ve avoided asking a doctor to examine my right hip and instead have designed my own treatment plan. What’s wrong with my right hip? What began as pain a few months ago has settled into unrelenting ache. It aches when I walk. When I climb stairs. When I sleep.

Instead I use heat. I use ice. I use over-the-counter NSAIDs and sleep with a pillow between my knees. My yoga practice is dialed down and until this week I shortened my long walks to brief strolls. I do core exercises to strengthen my back. I’ve added core exercises to support my back. But family traditions die hard and I’ve not seen a doctor. Although, to be fair, the physical therapist I work with ran some range of motion tests on my hip…so there’s that.

But with my medical degree from the University of Google, I assume it’s arthritis that’s plaguing my right hip. I don’t know that, of course, but I assume. And I don’t want to go to the doctor to have my assumptions confirmed and my current approach to treating the pain validated. While I’m blessed to have insurance it comes with a very high deductible which means a very high bill. So I am, for now, sticking to my ice and my heat, my NSAIDs, my mindful movement and my tummy crunches.

Here is the point of this long winded story:

While I continue to avoid seeking medical attention I’ve begun working on accepting change. Because isn’t that what’s really happening? My body is changing. This skin sack I live in, with all its bones and tendons and ligaments, nerves and muscles is aging. And my right hip is reminding me of that truth. 

I have nothing against growing old. I love watching my hair turn silver and I look forward to dispensing kitchen wisdom to any potential step-grandchildren that might show up in my dotage. I’m just not a fan of the baggage that comes along for the ride.

Like my achy hip. Which, by the way, is responding to my treatment plan.

Here’s some news you might use. Did you know yoga teachers have a higher than average incidence of hip replacement? I began teaching yoga almost thirty years ago. All those triangles and twists add up. Factor in the ego-driven yoga practice of youth and you might be looking at a titanium ball and socket joint before you collect social security.

For an interesting take, read this.


It’s Possible I’m a Fuddy-Duddy with No Sense of Humor…or Not

I am not the Poster Child for Perfection.  I have laughed at others’ misfortunes.  I have walked past the legless man begging for a bit of change (although, in fairness, today I bought him a chicken salad sandwich).  I have walked a block out of my way to avoid the Greenpeace kids in front of Whole Foods beseeching me to protect the environment.

Perfect? Me?  Not even close.

At times I am thoughtless and sometimes I speak before I’ve considered how my words might sound to another. In other words, I’m human.  I’m no more caring, compassionate or spiritual than my neighbor.  But, like my neighbor, I’m trying.  I’m trying to reflect on how my choices, my words and my actions impact the lives of those they reach.

And that’s why it has occurred to me that we might want to sit back and take a moment to contemplate how we use social media.

A well-intentioned friend who thought I would find it funny first delivered the joke to my inbox about a year ago.  About six months later, a new version of the same bad joke showed up, this time sent by a student.  And then, just a few days ago, a yoga teacher and friend whom I admire decided to post the joke on his Faeebook wall.

And that’s why I wish I’d spoken twelve months earlier.

I guess you’d consider the joke a sight gag.  On one side there are a series of photographs taken of yoga practitioners in various postures looking beautiful and calm and aligned.  These are juxtaposed by stolen images (I say stolen because it’s obvious the subjects did not know they were being photographed) of men who appear to be living rough. They may be drunk or on drugs.  They are all either sleeping or unconscious and their bodies have fallen in a way that mimics the postures being demonstrated by the yogis.  I don’t want to post a link.  If you’re curious Google “drunk yoga”.

My family was touched by alcoholism and drug dependency and maybe that’s why I can’t laugh.  I can’t laugh at something so cruel and heartless.  Something that demonstrates an unbelievable lack of compassion.

Then again, it could be that with all my imperfections I’m also a fuddy-duddy with no sense of humor.

Either way, maybe we should sit back and consider what we pass around on Facebook. How often have we reflexively shared a post, an image or a joke?  Do our posts speak to who we are?  Are they a reflection of how we relate to the world and to one another?  Do they add something to the dialogue or are they cheap shots?