A person sits on a bus in traffic with their leg extended.

Using Public Transportation With Avascular Necrosis

Last updated: September 2022

Avascular necrosis is a complication that can cause a temporary physical disability if it happens to the hip joints. This complication has affected my left hip and in about 4 months it went from stage one to stage 4. Stage 4 of avascular necrosis is usually the worst and it can be crippling if proper care is not taken. What started as a tentative, short pain quickly became extremely painful and I could no longer walk properly.

Public transportation and avascular necrosis

Many challenges come with avascular necrosis. Going out for occasions with avascular necrosis has not been easy at all. My first challenge is the fact that I mostly use public transportation where nobody cares about my comfort.

However, it was slightly better when I was using a walking stick. Whenever people saw me with a walking stick, they automatically give me that privilege and won’t mind going out of their way to make me comfortable. I don’t know if it is good or bad but I hate making people feel uncomfortable, I also did not like the way I felt whenever I used the walking stick. It makes me feel pitied and drains my mental energy so I had to let it go.

When I stopped using a walking stick, going out on public transport became hell. Since avascular necrosis is an invisible complication, people could not see or understand what I was going through. Because of the proximity of seats on a bus, I either have to stretch my leg forward or stretch it backward in such a way that my feet face the back in order not to feel pain in the hip. Sometimes, I am lucky enough to get that position, other times, there is not enough space for the position. I just have to endure the pain.

But sometimes, the pain gets too bad to endure, especially when the journey is taking too long. This is why I always consider how long it will take me to get to my destination before deciding to head out. Unfortunately, I live in Lagos, Nigeria, a city known for its notorious hours of traffic jams. So, even when the journey is short, it can take longer than expected because of the traffic.

Alternatives to public transportation

One thing that has been of help and makes going out easier is Uber and other private transportation similar to it. With a means like Uber, I always sit in the passenger seat where I can stretch my leg. It is more comfortable. However, no matter how comfortable I get, if the journey takes too long, I start to feel pain in my hip. So, as I said earlier, the distance of where I am going is a major factor for me.

Whether I am taking an Uber ride or a public bus, I always look for ways to stretch my legs when the journey is getting too long. If I am not standing, I am alighting to take a short walk.

I remember my last trip on public transport. It was a long public bus and unfortunately, the journey was a little over an hour. The seats were too close to each other so I could only stretch my leg forward. When I tried to stretch it, my leg was touching the person in front of me and they were not having it. I had to manage without stretching my leg.

About a few minutes into the journey, my left hip started burning. It didn’t just burn, it also ached and made me so uncomfortable. When I could not take it anymore, I had to stand for the rest of the journey. It was even difficult to stand at first, so I had to stretch it out for a few minutes before I felt relief.

I’m looking forward to the day I would be able to walk well again and feel less pain.

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