ballSo, why did my lovely wife buy me a mini-beach ball featuring characters from “Frozen,” the Disney movie? The decoration is extraneous: we squeezed most of the air from the ball in hopes of making a sort of cushiony donut for my right hip joint, which has kicked the bucket.

Sometimes it works. Sort of. For a while.

Sitting is painful. So is standing. Or lying down.

That’s not helpful when you have work to do, deadlines to meet, places to go, and things to do.

Concentrating on a writing project while someone is twisting an ice pick in your hip is a challenge, but easier than those times when two or three ice picks are fighting for attention.

I knew before leaving for a three-week dig in Israel that the hip would need replacing this year, but figured it could wait until school was out in December. As long as it’s already shot, I thought, we might as well push on with the dig and other travel plans, so we did — and I’m glad we did, but the considerable labor involved appears to have worn away any last vestige of cartilage in the joint, and now the raw bones are constantly protesting.

If only I’d found time to set a surgery date earlier this summer: unless someone else on the list cancels, I won’t get to trade this one in for a cobalt chrome model until the end of September. That’s a long time to moan and groan and elicit sympathy: I’d much rather be the helper than the helpee.

coneBut, for now I have a reserved parking spot closer to the office at Campbell, and someone else is mowing my lawn, and Susan is cheerfully doing most of the cooking and housework. I remind myself to be thankful: bum hip and all, I’m still a very lucky guy.

I write this, by the way, not to complain, but to explain: it’s frustrating, but chronic pain demands so much energy that I can’t do everything I want to do, and blogging has to take a lower priority right now. So, posts will be less frequent for a while: the ice picks are calling, and they’re hard to ignore.

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