Ageing Hipster

A Shiny new hip . . . well . . . somewhere under this mess.

If you were born during, or after ‘The Swinging Sixties’, read no further. Just bookmark this post and carry on scrolling. Born before 1960? dust off those bifocals and read on.

I like scars, the polar opposite of airbrushed perfection. Dings on a car, gouges on a tree, a missing digit (or two). Each mark a puzzle, a clue, a second look, to pause and guess the origin of some small but hopefully interesting misadventure. Maybe a silly accident or in my case, just plain old wear n’ tear . . . How boring.

But . . . and a very large ‘BUT,’ for me, was that worn-out cartilage and daily bone-on-bone pain led directly to a new whiz-bang bionic hip and best of all to Open Water or Wild Swimming, your choice.

I do wish it was called Free Swimming. I find the identifier, ‘Wild’ a little eye-rolling. As a kid growing up on the Isle of Wight, I fondly remember building tree houses, dens and hideaways, camping in back gardens and local fields. Good ole fashioned camping. Not ‘Wild’ camping, ‘Commando’ camping, ‘Stealth’ camping or even if, God forgive, I was wearing no underpants and therefore, in today’s vernacular ‘Going Commando!

As for Swimming? – well, it was just that! – Swimming. ‘Free’ – sure! – of lifeguard whistles, lane markings, membership fees and ‘don’t do this’ ‘don’t do that’ signs that litter every beach and waterway, all written by official little twits and liability lawyers.

 Just my two cents worth, now, back to hips and other failing body bits.

Surgeon post-it, “this one!”. . . not the middle bits, Please!

Hip Replacements and Baby Boomers (63, I knew you’d ask) are as common as muck. An amazing 91,698 operations (2017) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland alone!

Painful? – the operation and recovery, nahhh, not really. What will really get you down is the lead-up and waiting. Now that is bloody painful and, depressing. If you can, I would forget socialised medicine. Beg, steal, or borrow the funds, and begin looking at the cost of having it done privately. Or, if you live in the U.S.A. take out a second mortgage, that should do the trick – maybe.

My own experience here in Cataluña was nothing short of excellent. Drop me a line. I’d be happy to share.

As you wait . . . and wait . . . and wait (NHS, HSE, SNS) you’ll be fed an ever increasingly stronger diet of pain killers and anti-inflammatories (they kill absolutely nothing, only mask the pain and make you feel like shit.)

In the last few months leading up to the operation, my physical quality of life had gone rapidly downhill. The pain was constant. Except in the 24 hrs after Open Water Swimming. The relief from grinding pain was simply bliss.

“I have sometimes hobbled down to the beach for my Sunday swim in terrible pain, but walked uphill all the way home feeling wonderful”.

Anna – ‘Taking The Plunge’ – Anna Deacon & Vicky Allan

A half-hour, 45 min swim was all that was needed. Painfully struggling into wetsuit and booties, I would gingerly hobble down to the beach, carefully watching every step while wading chest-deep. The very instant my feet left the sand, the pain was gone, pressure relieved. Thank god, for neoprene and saltwater buoyancy.

The after-effects of weightlessness and cool seawater, (Mediterranean cool that is, 13c.) on a failing hip will last a good 24 hrs, which in my book, is far better than any post-coital glow. For the inflammation to subside in such short order was just magical.

Rx . . . “Take two aspirin wetsuits and call me in the morning”

Me

A cure? No, relief, absolutely and most certainly, a little R & R from stomach destroying drugs.

Marvelous, bloody Marvelous.

YouTube is awash with videos on the actual mechanics and recovery but zero on Open Water Swimming’s benefits on a failing hip. Now I’ll agree, not a particularly sexy subject likely to garner some budding Vlogger online fame, but certainly, a topic to ensure ‘healthy’ and enthusiastic comments from those born before 1960. The more senior seals, shall we say.

So if you know some grumpy bugger who’s suffering . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . . for a shiny new hip, lend them some neoprene, good cheer and lead them to the shore.

[but there again] . . . “If swimming is so good for you, how come I’ve never had a goldfish live longer than three weeks?”

Randy Glasbergen – Cartoonist

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