Sunday, November 28, 2010

One good reason to go to the mall today ...

Social dancing of course. It was worth the trip as I did my first (cheated) Foxtrot mohawk with a partner today ... with my eyes closed which somehow made it work. Tango did not go so well (couldn't do the Mohawk), nor did Blues (couldn't do the Choctaw). However, if I can consistently cheat the foxtrot mohawk I can finally say that I am able to do all dances through pre-silver with a partner socially, and throw in one silver (American). That doesn't mean they would pass the test (most would not) but at least I've already done that.

I can solo a lot more than I can do with a partner, and did Midnight Blues, Cha Cha Congelado, Viennese, and Ravensburger solos. They aren't stellar but I can slop through them mostly on one foot.

I know there was someone else having a worse day than I was today and it sucked for her. In the scheme of things, backwardass hips are only a minor inconvenience and there are others on the ice fighting more difficult battles. All we can do is keep trying.

Monday, November 22, 2010

When did "me" become obsolete?

This post is not about hip dysplasia or skating as I think we've had enough of those. No, this post is about grammar, another favorite topic of mine.

When I was a kid and I would say, "me and Samantha are going to the mall!" my mom would yell, "Samantha and I!!!!!!" I'll bet your mom did the same thing to you. Thanks to mom, I never progressed to using the even-more-heinous expression, "me and her are going to the mall!" (My own step-kids did, and they are still suffering the consequences.)

Unfortunately, some moms didn't fully explain. As a result, "me" has suddenly become the ultimate unfashionable grammar sin, even when "me" is the correct word to use. There are so many people who are scared to misuse the word "me" that they have resorted to misusing the word "I," which somehow sounds more cultured and probably won't incur the wrath of mom.

Here are some recent examples uttered by people who should know better:

~"The report was delivered by Carol and I."

~"Hawaii was the ultimate getaway vacation for my husband and I."

~"Mom, can you drive Samantha and I to the mall?" (OK, I made this one up, but you get my point.)

I think this rebound effect started because some people had no idea why "me" was wrong in certain sentences and so they just avoided the word altogether. The rest of us, even some who were paying attention in grade school, play along because the majority now shuns "me" and we don't want to look stupid or gauche. Some people avoid controversy by sheepishly inserting the word "myself" instead of uttering the taboo "me" or the incorrect "I," as in:

"The report was delivered by Carol and myself."


I have noticed this widespread pronoun confusion only recently, although perhaps it's been going on for a long time and I've just tuned it out. Radio announcers, professionals and teachers (ouch) are now muddling up the English language by unnecessarily avoiding the word "me." Myself? I won't join the trend, even if people think less of I.

Friday, November 19, 2010

One Year Bilateral Hippiversary

Yesterday was the one year hippiversary for my LPAO. That makes my RPAO one year, 4 months and 10 days old. My prior post details what life is like at this stage in the PAO game. As Thanksgiving approaches it is time to become introspective and reflect on this journey and all that I am thankful for.

~I am thankful for a wonderful, supportive husband who has put up with whining, grouchiness and drug-induced side effects.
~I am thankful for my family who helped take care of me.
~I am thankful for a very skilled surgeon, Dr. Mayo, who is a perfectionist and did his best to fix me as much as medical science allows.
~I am thankful that my hip dysplasia was caught early enough so that a PAO was an option to preserve my hip joint as long as possible.
~I am thankful that medical science has progressed in this day and age so that PAOs are available and I didn't just have to live with my pain and disability and end up in a wheel chair or addicted to pain killers.
~I am thankful that my body healed quickly and well without infection despite being an older PAO patient.
~I am thankful that I can now sleep normally, sit in a chair and get up without hobbling, and skate for fun and exercise although not at my prior level.
~I am thankful that I can host a Thanksgiving dinner for 8 people at my house and handle the cooking and cleanup without having to recuperate for the next several days.
~I am thankful that I am not a turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Just in case I should forget, my one-year LPAO hippiversary is coming up this month. And I may forget, since I haven't been very good about blogging lately.

So what's it like a year out from bilateral PAOs?
~I have to do a lot for my hips to hurt. Right now I am battling a pinched nerve in my neck and that's been so annoying that I haven't even noticed my hips.
~Scars are not visible unless someone is looking for them.
~I can sleep on either side for as long as I want with no hip pain.
~Walking is fine but I am still not up for a lot of big hills or long distances. Of all the exercise I do, walking is definitely the hardest on my body. Skating and elliptical are much kinder to me and while I'd like to be able to do some hiking next summer, I don't think it's in the cards for me.
~I can jog if I want to (I've tried a few steps here and there) but don't make it a regular habit and see no reason to.
~I'm done with PT. For those of you having PAOs, I highly recommend it.
~Vanity rules - I wear high heels (not stilettos, just business attire) several times per week with apparently no issues for my hips.
~Numb patches are about the same, and I get odd pinging/tingling sensations on occasion. Numb patches don't really impact my day-to-day life, they just feel a bit odd but otherwise I don't notice or care.
~I can clean my entire house without having to take the next day to recuperate.
~I don't think I've limped noticeably in a while.
~Some types of flexibility have improved slightly. Turnout still sucks. Left is actually better than right now that it has healed some more (not a surprise, it always was). I can grab my left foot and pull it up but not yet above my head as before. The saddest thing is that V sits are at about 35 degrees and remain there as if I am sitting in cement which frustrates the crap out of me. It was only a couple of years ago that I was working on them with my Pilates instructor and was at about 150 degrees. All that effort down the drain! I don't even want to work on the damn things any more, they just make me too angry.
~My typical workouts include Pilates twice per week, elliptical twice per week and skating 2-3 times per week. I'm usually not sore unless I really push myself. I skated for about 90 minutes today and while I paced myself and rested here and there, I felt fine afterwards and had no pain or soreness while I was skating (just limitation in strength and stretch). I realized as I was driving home that I didn't feel beat up as I would have only a month ago.
~FINALLY my hip flexors are starting to get stronger. They are still relatively weak, but there is definitely improvement.
~A few skating maneuvers that have eluded me for a long time have magically reappeared in my repertoire with no effort or practice on my part. These include left FI 3 turns most of the time and blues choctaws on occasion.
~Others maneuvers I have just gotten up the nerve to try recently include FO to BO closed mohawks, outside brackets both F and B, and FO rockers (I can do the BO rockers for some reason).

A friend who hadn't seen me skate since Adult Nationals (in April, when I was still mostly attached to the boards) was at the rink today. She was totally amazed to see me actually skating under my own power. She thought the progress was incredible, and really it is.

I tend to focus on what I still can't do, which is how I keep motivating myself to keep improving. It can also be frustrating to see that I've come a long way and still have a long way to go, and I may never go all that way. I get frustrated when coaches tell me what I need to do (usually the same few things over and over) but they can't tell me HOW I'm supposed to make my stupid body do them. In particular things that my body used to just do on its own, and things that they think are easy, but which don't translate to abnormal hips.

I was having a very good day today on the ice, getting through complete solos of the Cha Cha Congelado (did every step); the Blues (did every step including the choctaw); the Samba (did every step); the Paso except for the restart mohawk; the Westminster except for the end 3 turn stepforwards and with very nice RFI rockers, I might add; the Argentine except for the twizzle which for some unknown reason requires me to touch down in order to initiate and I can't do at speed; the Starlight except for the steps forward after all of the mohawks. It's the "except fors" that would make me sad if I didn't remind myself that I can do everything else in the dance.

***Addendum: my skating friend Larry reminded me in an e-mail that non-dancers will have no idea how high level the dances I am doing are and he is right, they are "quick and difficult," not that I always do them well and not that I can do all of them with a partner, which is harder since it gives me less room to cheat. Those I can't do at all and bitch about are actually considered some of the easier social dances. Since it blows Larry's mind to think of me doing the Silver Samba, I guess it's time for me to post some videos soon.***

I came back down to earth when Doug asked me to try the Rocker Foxtrot mohawk (my nemesis before surgery and certainly my sworn enemy now). We tried it at a snail's pace. The only reason I tried is because I was able to get up the courage to try FO to FO closed mohawks solo for the first time this past week. With a partner they are still, and may always be, absolutely impossible. There is just no way I can make my body turn in that position. People with real hip joints have no idea what that stuck feeling is like. It would be like walking down the street and turning your body around to look behind you, but falling down because the foot you are turning onto can only keep pointing forward. It's truly an out of body experience.

I'll try to post any important updates from my one-year follow-up with Dr. Mayo at the end of the month. Meanwhile it's off to judge Sectionals this week. Last year I had to cancel my participation as a judge for Sectionals (and Jr. Nationals) since I was having surgery which had been moved up from December. I am happy that I will be there a year later with no crutches, cane or limp; anyone who didn't know me would have no idea what last year was like and that's fine by me.