My hip and America: an analogy

My hip is out of alignment. This is not the first time and it comes as no surprise. I get up in the morning and stumble across the room feeling like my left foot is walking on a much higher level than my right foot.  I feel like a video game character trying to walk unsuccessfully on a narrow ledge. I keep dropping one foot stupidly over the side.

I kind of feel like that.

I limp-shuffle out of bed. Left foot steps cleanly. Right foot slumps down into a nonexistent ditch.

I can usually get on some kind of even keel after an hour or so, as long as I don’t take big steps.

I have finally made my way back to the physical therapy table where a talented therapist makes me lie down on my back while he holds my ankles firmly in his hands. He bids me to look at his hands while I sit up.

I try to make this motion look athletic, because everyone knows if you don’t look athletic in front of the physical therapist they will never care about helping you restore yourself to maximum mobility. In the past when I have failed to look athletic enough I’ve received the dreaded swimming suggestion.

As in, Mindy, maybe it’s time to stop trying to run and do something that requires less loading and unloading on your joints. Maybe you’re not as young as you used to be and it’s time to start thinking a little more seriously about the wearing down of your internal structure.  Maybe it is time to think about swimming.

I have nothing against swimming.  It’s just that I don’t much like getting wet unless I’m standing in a nice hot shower. Plus, I don’t like wearing bathing suits. I don’t like putting them on, and I don’t like taking them off. Also, I don’t like the smell of pool chemicals and I already spend enough time on my hair.

So, I’m lying on the table trying to athletically sit up and watching the way the hands of my physical therapist shift as I make this smooth movement. Apparently my right hip is almost an inch lower than my left hip – plus I’m informed my pelvis has rotated.

That’s good right, I mean there are days when I am happy I can still rotate my head on my neck, so a rotating pelvis can’t be all bad.

But no, according the therapist this is not desirable.  He turns me and twists me while I try to demonstrate my athletic flexibility and ultimately cracks and pings me back into alignment.

“How does that feel?” he asks.

“Well, at the moment, a little sore.”

I struggle back to sitting position with my feet dangling beneath me off the table.  Everything throbs and aches, and I am made aware of the fact that my core strength is almost non-existent.

My therapist explains my hip non-alignment is what has caused almost continuous achiness running down my right side, from my weak non-firing glutes to the outside of my knee.  It is one long chain of injury and pain that started in one place and then spread.  He tells me I will start to feel better after this adjustment.

His words make me think of our recent election.

America has also had an adjustment.  We went to the polls on Tuesday and were forced to realize we have been out of alignment.  The problem may have started in one particular place, but the spreading discomfort has caused many spots of suffering.

I thank my therapist and hop down from the table.

I am hopeful I will start to feel better.  He gives me some exercises and tells me to take it easy.  He suggests I stick with walking for this next little bit of time.

Moderate moves in a positive direction seem like a reasonable prescription for increased health. Both for my misaligned hip and our misaligned country. I understand adjustment takes time.

We can do this.  Let’s just try to take it easy for a while.

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