My left hip hurt. I went to the doctor several times who couldn’t find anything wrong, so the diagnosis was I was having adjustment problems, trouble fitting into my new urban environment.
Maybe this is the first time my parents believed there was something not quite right in my head. Of course I was having trouble fitting in: I had started using the cane my parents had bought in Germany to help me walk. It was a SOUVENIR cane. I was laughed at in my new school. The kids in thought I was a nut case. (Author’s note: There are many different names, even the pejorative one easier for me to accept than mental illness.) BUT… turns out they may have been right.
What they were wrong about was my hip. After one pitiful crawl home from the bus stop one fall I was put on the bus to see the doctor the next day. This time he did one simple test, sent me for an x-ray and admitted me for the first of my three surgeries at the hospital next to the river. I had a slipped hip, the pain my parents had ignored for the better part of three months was real, after all. I did not spare the guilt, then or after, this one I thought they owed me, one for which I did not have to blame myself, like playing doctor and then getting assaulted.
Ten days in the hospital, three four-inch pins in my hip, and three and a half months on crutches and everything was better. Except for one thing, My parents and me were though.