So, is it good news or bad to know that I haven't just been making a fuss, and that my own evaluation, that I don't feel I can wait until I'm over 60 for a new hip, is probably correct?
After a long consultation with the consultant - yeah, does what he says - although I can't do a balanced evaluation without hearing the other side, I'm accepting his advice of caution and not going to pursue the option of hip resurfacing. I'm not going to tell you all we said, because he was quite open with me (which goes down so well with me, I like to be treated straightforwardly even if I don't like what I'm hearing) and it would be no more right of me to say what he said than for him to talk about me. So, sadly, that's a closed book for me. I am a closet risk-taker by nature, but not against clearly explained advice from an expert in his field.
I wonder what my doctor said in his covering letter actually. Not that I'd ask to see it, I also trust my doctor.
Anyway, the x-ray shows considerable wear in my hip. The consultant said that I walk well and have good balance and movement considering how bad it is. If I asked for a replacement right away, he'd agree to do it. As to when I do ask, that will be my own decision. I said that many people have told me that they know when the time has come, and although it is considerably hampering me from doing what I would like to do, I know I don't want it yet. He agreed.
So in short, I got on fine with him, I liked him in a professional sense - that is, he instilled respect and confidence and was straight with me - and when I need an operation I'll be happy for him to do it. When asked, and I am aware that it isn't a fair question, he said he thinks I won't be back within a year but that I will be before I'm 60. It's something of a relief to know that I won't have to argue my case when the time comes and that it is as bad as it feels. I'm sure you can appreciate how depressing it is to be relieved to know it's as bad as I think.
I also asked him if he could see any reason for the arthritis - he said that the socket of the hip bone is slightly shallower than that of my left hip and so perhaps there has been more movement in that hip since birth. That's fair enough and reassuring - there's no sign of arthritis in my left hip and no particular reason for me to expect it - or not - that is, it may come with age but not yet.
Anyway, now I know, I'm sort of relaxed. It's already bad so doing whatever I'm capable of won't make it appreciably worse. I'm okay with pain and don't think it matters in this regard - please, if you suffer from something agonising don't think I'm making light of it - my point is that I'm well within my own pain threshold and it's more a nuisance than anything else. I'm fine with toughing it out until it would be silly to do so any longer and then I'll ask for a new hip. Isn't it lucky to have something so curable? And not to have to be braver than I want to be?
And not to have the prospect of paying £12,000+ for elective surgery in January.
Yup, on balance I'm okay with this and I'm glad I went and, because now I know where I am, it's worth the money I've spent today. Whatever that turns out to be, Astonishingly, when I offered to pay at once, they airily said they'd send the bill.