Physicians of the Utmost Fame
Were called at once; but when they came
They answered, as they took their Fees,
“There is no Cure for this Disease.”
—from “Henry King,” by Hilaire Belloc
I’ve spent the last few months hobbling around Manhattan, one of America’s last walkable cities. In keeping with New Yorkers’ well-deserved stereotype for brusqueness, strangers on the sidewalk frequently ask me, “Why are you limping?” My leg and hip pain have increased in lockstep with my rising annoyance at these unwanted interruptions. I never inquire of my fellow New Yorkers’ obesity or depression; why do they pry without hesitation? My doctors have told me my limp will only get worse. I can keep lying to myself and pretend it will magically heal. But eventually the pain will destroy my ambulatory lifestyle. Walking just a few blocks will soon become impossible. And the discomfort will also steal my sleep. I have been putting off double hip replacement surgery out of both fear and busyness. Chronic pain has darkened my brightest...