One thing to consider, I am an athlete. I played every sport possible growing up because there was nothing else to do. Small towns were not exactly the most entertaining place to be in the 1970s. We made fun by playing kick-the-can, kickball, softball, baseball ⚾, basketball 🏀🧺, tennis 🎾 and good ole roller skating. There was no social media 📵 to engage in to make me have anxiety 😟 or FOMO. I was a pretty good athlete and loved any sports challenge. Believe it or not, even the boys picked me first when we were choosing teams for kickball. Sports were my gig.
As I have gotten older, I pushed walking to the limit. I love walking in my small town, Perry, GA. It is a great time to meet your neighbors. Sometimes, you even meet your neighbors' dogs. 😧 With two of my walking friends, we have actually come up on stolen goods in the road from a neighborhood break in. Walking early in the morning sure provides some great knowledge about neighbors and their behaviors.
When walking, the pain got to be pretty bad in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, when pain would start, I would press on. I would press on because over the years all my coaches said to keep it up. Press harder! As we said in the 70s, I would just "Keep on Truckin' ".
When the Covid Pandemic hit, the governor shut the state of Georgia down. With the shutdown, I decided to work in the yard 🌻 and walk every day. I would start working in the yard as soon as the sun 🌞 came up and work until 4:00 in the afternoon. Then, I would set out for one of my 6-mile walks. As time passed, I noticed I was having pain on my right side. The pain was quite alarming and I went to the doctor. The doctor did an CT Scan and said that I had a mucocele on my appendix. The appendix was coming out! I had my appendix removed at the beginning of the pandemic. After several months, the wound healed, but I was still in pain. I decided to sit back and take it easy for a while.
Every few weeks, I would try to go out on one of my walks, but I continued to have the pain on my right side with every step. Obviously, it was not my appendix because it was gone or at least I thought it was gone. I went back to the doctor and had another CT Scan. The CT Scan caused all sorts of drama. Let me explain.
For some reason, I stopped at the internist's office and took the CT Scan results to the surgeon that had done the appendectomy. Being the curious type, I decided to open the manilla envelope and have a look at my CT Scan. Oh, and one other thing. My daughter is a doctor like an M.D. kind of doctor. Of course, I snapped photos on my phone of the CT Scan and text the document to her. She text back, "MOM, ACCORDING TO THIS DOCUMENT, YOU STILL HAVE YOUR APPENDIX!" I thought, "OH LORD HAVE MERCY, WHAT BODY PART AM I MISSING?"
Once I got to the surgeon's office with the document, he was pretty hot about the entire situation. He assured me that he had taken the appendix out and I went on my merry little way.
Why did the radiologist refer to my appendix in the CT Scan results? Eventually, I found out the technician doing the CT Scan did not note that I had had my appendix removed. Once the technician corrected the mistake, the CT Scan results were corrected. To this day, I do not understand how the radiologist "claimed" to have seen an appendix. You would think that he would know what the dang appendix looked like on the scan. People make mistakes. What in the world? I decided to chalk that one up to one of those unsolved mystery "things".
As time passes, my pain continues in my groin area. You say, where exactly? Look:
My groin area pain improved, but eventually I was back in the same boat with the pain. Once again, I ended up back at the orthopedist. I was told that the leggings that I wear each day could be compressing my leg and causing pain. The orthopedist said that policemen would come in with similar problems due to tight tactical pants that they were wearing. What do I do? I get some joggers! Did the joggers help? Heck to the NO! I repeated these steps several times: 1-Orthopedist 2-Steriods 3-Physical Therapist
Finally in October of 2021, my body screamed, "Help me!" I went on a family trip to St. George Island and suffered all weekend. The groin pain was unbearable. I loaded up on 800 mg Motrin, but the pain continued. The pain was so bad that it disrupted sleep and the trip was a totally bust for me. That is, no seashells at the seashore for me!
The next week, I went back in to the Orthopedist. Immediately, he suggested we get an MRI. Unfortunately, the MRI could not be done until December. Folks, it is OCTOBER! Honestly, the pain was so bad that I did not know how I was going to make it. I can take a lot of pain, but this was a new level. At this point, life is doable on a day-to-day basis. You just have to will yourself to do life. Once the MRI was done, I had to wait another week for the MRI to be read by the radiologist. When I returned to the orthopedist, I found out that I had severe arthritis in both hips. I could not believe that I was 56 and had arthritis. Arthritis is an old folk kind of thing. It was suggested that I have the cortisone injection in the hip for the arthritis. Guess what? The only place that we can get the injection is the hospital. Can you say, "Hey, Big Spender?"
By this point, I was struggling walking and putting pressure on the left hip. It was obvious that I had a problem because of the terrible limp. Once again, I have to WAIT until January of 2022 to get the cortisone injection. The procedure involves deadening the area with one injection. Then, the cortisone injection is done. The first thirty minutes after the injection was the most joyous time that I had had in 3 months. I almost skipped to the car. I actually leaped in the air like Scooby-Doo would do for a Scooby treat. An hour later, the pain was creeping back slowly. By the end of the day, I was back in the blown-up 10+ pain zone that I had been in before the injection. I wasted time and money with the injection. I should never had had the injection. The arthritis was said to be "severe" and that's that.
Fortunately, I called a friend of mine and she said another friend of ours had had hip replacement surgery due to osteoarthritis. I had no idea that she had struggled with arthritis. I dialed her up and we had a chat. She was extremely helpful. She actually got me an appointment with her doctor, Dr. William Barnes in Macon, Georgia, and I was in his office within a week! Oh, this was the best! In one week, I would be seeing someone that would get me on track to resolve my pain issue. This was better than a Coke ICEE from the gas station store on a hot day. Dr. Barnes, HERE I COME!
As I sat in the waiting room with a few folks and few germs, I looked around and saw some really cool art 🎨. There was no doubt that the art was done by a particular artist because the consistent style. I thought the waiting room was so cool. It is not every day that you go into a doctor's office and see amazing art on the walls! Within ten minutes, I was taken back for an x-ray of my hip. I was sent to the examination room and sat waiting with hope. Dr. Barnes came in and said that I was bone on bone with severe arthritis. He said he had done 2,400 anterior hip replacements and he could get me back on both feet. I was so happy to hear the news! Dr. Barnes and I talked briefly and I told him that I was an art teacher. He said his daughter was an artist! He said all the work at his office was her work. I was like, wow, ART, I am supposed to be here at this office. Cool art, cool doctor, and cool beans!
Remember, this is an art blog, so I put a plug in for his daughter's art. After all, it was part of the journey! Click HERE for Kathryn Tyndall Art Facebook Also, see the front and back of the card below to get more detailed information:
Once Dr. Barnes and I were done discussing art, I was sent to the scheduler. The surgery was set for Wednesday, January 19, 2022! Whoop, Whoop! Luckily, I would only have to spend one night in the hospital 🏥.
After I got the news, I went to the hospital that had the "Hana Table" (see below) to do my pre-op stuff (Piedmont Macon North Hospital). The Hana table is a specially designed operating table that enables the surgeon to perform hip replacement surgery using an anterior approach, with the patient facing upward. Here is what a Hana Table looks like 😲:
When I checked in, the lady 👵 said that due to Covid-19, many surgeries were being canceled. I thought, oh, ok. I would never be that unlucky. Then, I was sent to a nurse. Nurse lady said take this medicine before surgery, don't take this medicine before surgery, and take regular aspirin the following four weeks after surgery. Thank goodness all this was written down because I am not the best listener in the world. I finished up my pre-op and went to wait on the pain train 🚆 for a few weeks.
On Monday, January 17, I received a call from the nice scheduler at Dr. Barnes' office. The surgery was postponed due to Covid. Now this was a Debbie Downer phone call. The scheduler said that they would call me back 📱with more news at the end of the week. Luckily, I received a call and the surgery was set for Wednesday, January 26, but due to Covid, the surgery would be outpatient. I was like, hmmmmm. I am going to get my bone sawed off and be sent home the same day. Then I thought, heck yeah, sign me up! Get me out of this pain! The Pain Train is about to be parked at the station, baby!
THANK THE LORD, I did not receive another call from the scheduler. No news is good news in this situation.
What exactly went down during the next few weeks? The day before the surgery, I was told to drink a carton of Ensure and I had to wash my sheets. Then, the morning of the surgery I had to shower with that "germ killing" special sauce. After the shower 🚿, I had to down another Ensure. I arrived to the hospital and limped in as best as I could. Around 10:00 AM, I was out and taken back to surgery. When I woke up, I felt a bit nauseous. I had two physical therapists trying to get me out of bed and down to the physical therapy room. I told them to wait a minute because I thought I was about to hurl. In a minute and 5 seconds, they had me up and making me walk with a walker down a long hall to the therapy room. I tell you, I was nodding off walking and they both were holding me up. I just had a body part cut off and I wanted to nap a little more. No rest for the weary 😫. Before I knew it, I was doing exercises. Once we got the mini-workout done (was not as strenuous as Jane Fonda workout in the 80s), I strolled on back with the walker to my room. Next thing I knew, I was headed out and required to get in my dad's car. Folks, my hubs drives a truck and I am presently driving a truck (this is an entirely different story), so we borrowed my dad's car. Getting in the car was not a big deal at all. You are doped up on meds and you just mosey from the wheelchair to the car. I had read on my hip replacement Facebook groups to do all this stuff. Someone said get a sheet and put it on the seat so you can slide over. Someone said get a cushion. In my opinion, getting in the car was not a problem. It definitely did not hurt as it bad it did to get in the car at 8:00 AM on the way to surgery. Now the truck would have been a definite no. Do not have a truck waiting on you after hip replacement surgery.
Once I got home, I slept 😴. I think I slept a straight 24 hours. Why? I had really not slept much since the pain began in October. I was one sleep deprived hippie chick.
During the time I was recovering, I had Home Health care come once a week for 2 weeks. The nurse would check my wound and check my bandage 🩹. Also, she would check my blood pressure and heart rate. The Physical Therapist came to my house twice a week for 2 weeks. I really was glad that I did not have to go running out the door 🏃 to the local physical therapist. The first two weeks, you really just want to chill in the recliner or bed 🛏. The body is recovering from major surgery and needs time to adjust to the trauma.
What about the mind? Does it need time to adjust to a foreign item being placed in the body? Yes. You will have moments of, "What in the heck have I done?" I think the best advice that I got was to think in a positive manner from the get-go. You have got to be positive. This is not easy surgery. There will be times in the first couple of weeks where you will hit rock bottom because you are so dang tired of struggling to do basic things. But you press on. Time 🕙 will pass and you will gradually improve. You will think, "Will I ever feel normal again?" You will feel normal again. Each week, you will gain more strength. Some people will require more weeks, but that is okay. We are all different. We are all made differently. We all have different surgeons with different techniques and requirements after hip replacement surgery. Focus on one day at a time. Try to do a little more each day. Try. If some days you cannot do a little more, so be it. Do not beat yourself up. Remember how painful the dang hip was before surgery? You made it thru that God-awful ordeal. You are strong and you will make it through the hip replacement God-awful ordeal. It is a mind and body recovery. It is best to think like the little, blue engine...
I want to talk about stuff that I really needed and used and stuff that I really did not need and did not use. Remember, this is my opinion. Everyone is different. Everyone has different doctors. Everyone has different situations.
Before surgery, I could not get my shoes and socks on. I read about these shoes called Kiziks. They are hands free shoes. Y'all, I must say, they were the golden ticket before and after surgery. I just slipped this sweet, little shoe 👞 on and hopped along. I opted out of socks for some while. My feet went "commando" style. Click HERE for Kizik shoes The Kizik folks used a titanium arch that allows you to put your shoes on without using your hands or bend over. I must say that they are a comfy shoe and I am continuing to enjoy! Here is what they looked like:
I had a walker with rollers on the front that I borrowed from my mother-in-love and it was great. It looked like this:
Now, let's discuss the walker accessory item. Someone suggested to get a bag to go on the walker. You will need a bag to carry your stuff around like your phone or books or whatever. I only used the walker a few days. The bag was an unnecessary expense. Now, my hubs said I was a little like my mom in preparing for the surgery. He was correct on some of these items. Some folks are on the walker for weeks. If that were the case, the handy little bag to hold things would be great! For those interested in the bag, here is the bag link and the bag: Click HERE for the Walker bag on Amazon
She sent me the HURRYCANE with Vincent Van Gogh sunflowers. It is all about the art, folks! This is an art blog. I would have preferred a Jackson Pollock splatter paint cane, but the sunflower cane was a freebie.
- you have pain after you sit awhile
- you hurt worse when you workout
- pain hurting so bad so you have to limp
- difficulty getting in or out a car without pain
- you cannot bend over to put on socks or shoes
- you have pain when you bend over to pick something up
- you lose sleep because you have terrible pain in your groin area