Born with a crooked hip joint? You’re not active enough and too fat.

Fantine writes:

When I was born (a month premature), I had a crooked right hip. My mother had had an extremely difficult pregnancy–she had, in fact, been advised to terminate when she first found out she was pregnant, having just recovered from losing another baby at about six months’ gestation. She was told throughout her pregnancy that the baby would probably be physically disabled or mentally retarded, if not both. When I was born a month early, with no physical problems except the crooked right hip, everyone was surprised. I got the usual well-baby check ups, and apparently had visits with orthopedic specialists to evaluate the crooked hip every couple of years. I only remember this vaguely–being terrified before a visit at age 4 because I didn’t know what an x-ray was, that kind of thing.

When I was four, we moved from Eastern Washington to Arizona, and not quite two years later moved from Arizona to Western Washington. Because we had moved around a bit, my parents had to find a new pediatrician for me and my sisters and a new specialist to look at my hip and how it was growing. I was supposed to be evaluated for possible surgery at age six.

My father found a pediatrician through his connections at work, and we all had checkups. My mother had asked for a referral to a specialist to look at my hip. This doctor had me strip naked (I suppose so he could look at the joint). It creeped me out, but I did it because he was the doctor. Then he had my put my undies back on and walk up and down the hallway while he watched (also a little creepy for a six-year-old girl). He told my mother, “The only problem with her hip is that she’s too heavy for her age. Enroll her in sports and it will straighten out.” Let me reiterate: I was six years old. I was active like any other normal kid–I ran around, played jump rope, rode a bicycle, played tag, and generally wore out the adults around me. I ate exactly the same things that my older sister, who was taller and thinner than I was, ate. I was just a little chubby. And this doctor told my mother, who knew how active I was, that my only problem was that I wasn’t getting enough exercise. She was incensed, but didn’t feel like she could stand up to him or to my father, who took the doctor at his word and wouldn’t hear anything further.

So I never saw a another specialist, and my hip continued to grow crookedly. I’m 32 now, and I’m sure it’s beyond repair at this point. But hey, the only problem I ever have with it is crippling lower back spasms due to the crooked joint, so no big deal, right? Especially since the back spasms are also blamed on my weight. I did this to myself, obviously.

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