Oh Bursa, My Bursa

After about 25 years of slowly worsening chronic pain in my hips, I finally made a push for a formal diagnosis. I've been complaining to doctors about my hip pain ever since I can remember. Various theories have been offered to me. When I was in my 20s, a physician's assistant postulated that there was too much laxity in the ligaments that hold my hips together. That actually seemed plausible.

When I told my primary care physician that my hip pain was getting worse last year, she said, "Okay, but did you schedule your mammogram?" The hip pain has been noted in my file by various doctors over the years, but that was about it. Sometimes I wondered if doctors were ignoring me because of the opiate crisis. Maybe they assumed I was bitching so that I could get some narcotics. What I actually want is: sleep. Sweet, sweet sleep. I've invested in expensive mattress toppers and have done everything I can think of to keep myself asleep for more than a couple hours at a time. If I someone manage to forget how poorly I sleep each night, my FitBit gives me the full rundown every morning. Oh, 4 hours and 19 minutes? Greeeat. Tylenol PM helps a little. Menopause does not. The mister claims that I turn our bedroom into a wind tunnel every night (we have a ceiling fan and a regular oscillating fan), but he is also welcome to sleep on the couch where it is less windy.

Because our insurance deductible is basically paid for the year (thanks, kidney stone!) I decided to see an orthopedic specialist. I had that appointment last week. The doctor ordered a full set of xrays and as an added bonus, I had to wear orange basketball shorts while the xrays were taken. You might be able to guess that I am not a basketball shorts kind of girl.

When I was back in the exam room, the doctor came in and gave me a brief physical exam. He pushed my legs this way and that, and tested my reflexes. Then he pushed on the outside of my hip. The jolt of pain was unreal.

Moments later, we were admiring my xrays on the monitor. "You have Trochanteric Bursitis," he told me. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions a joint. The human body is full of them. In my case, the bursae in my hips are very angry and have been angry since Naughty by Nature's Hip Hop Hooray was on the radio. (hey, ho!) The doctor gave me some exercises to do. I'm not terribly optimistic in as much as the problem has been going on for so long. He also gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory that I can try for a few months. I joined a Facebook group devoted to Trochanteric Bursitis. I see the members trying everything they can think of for the pain - from ointments and creams to CBD oil to drastic steps like having the bursa surgically removed. I think I'll just wait patiently for ye olde THC to become legal in my state.

Seriously, though, I think I'm just glad to have a diagnosis. My pain is real and now it has a name.


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