Kim & Karen 2 Soul Sisters

Kim & Karen 2 Soul Sisters

Monday, March 7, 2022

PEACE Out, Arthritis---Love, The New, Hippie Chick with the THR

For two years, I have been on a roller coaster of pain 🎒.  Now, I am here to tell you, I am 56 and have never taken it easy.  I teach art 🎨 and am constantly on the go πŸš™.  I paint murals, sets 🎭, and even parking lots.  My body has taken a lickin', but kept on tickin' (Timex 1970s)....until the evil arthritis decided to make me "PUMP THE BRAKES"!

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 πŸ€πŸ§Ί, tennis 🎾 and good ole roller skating.  There was no social media πŸ“΅ 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:

Since my appendix was gone, I decided to go to the orthopedist to get some pain relief.  After my visit, it was decided that my IT band was causing the issues.  I got a pack of steroids and some trips to the physical therapist.  My physical therapist, Spencer Shugart, is awesome.  He has a place right here in my town.  Summit Physical Therapy sure knows how to get me moving in the right direction.  Spencer and his staff are some good folks.  Good folks are good when you ain't!

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 πŸ₯.  

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 πŸ‘΅ 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 πŸš† 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 πŸ“±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 πŸƒ to the local physical therapist.  The first two weeks, you really just want to chill in the recliner or bed πŸ›.  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 πŸ•™ 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 πŸ‘ž 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

Another important gadget is the cane.  Once again, I borrowed a cane from my mother-in-love.  She had a HURRYCANE and it was great.  The HURRYCANE name is funny because this hippy chick was not in a hurry. Click HERE for the HURRYCANE

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.

Unfortunately, I hate to even say this to folks down and out with a bad hip.  After surgery, sleep πŸ˜ͺ was still a struggle for me.  I am a tummy sleeper.  I do not sleep on my left side.  I do not sleep on my right side because I had rotator cuff surgery years ago and it has never been A+ great.  I certainly do not sleep on my back.  Even wearing a CPAP, I sleep on my tummy.  Oh, my!  What did I do?  

Well, I slept with lots of pillows.  I got a body pillow.  I ended up unzipping the piece on the left and using it as another pillow option.  The all snuggled up feeling was not my gig. Click HERE for the body pillow 
I saw on some of my readings that a wedge elevated leg pillow would be handy.  I did not use this pillow but one time.  It was too jacked up for me.  I am 5'4", so this was probably part of the problem.  Oh, to be tall!  I actually am donating this wedge to my physical therapist for his patients to use.  Click HERE for Wedge Elevated Leg Pillow
The Potty!  The raised potty was a game changer.  When the pain started in October, I had pain every time that I sat on the potty.  I am short, remember, 5'4"?  The potties in my house are very low.  I am not sure why, but they are.  I bought a raised toilet seat.  Click HERE for the raised potty seat

The ice pack is truly a must!  These were the best!  I got 2 of them and rotated them all day long.  Click HERE for the Ice Pack

Also, I ordered another ice pack that I read was great for hip replacement surgery.  I did not like it, but you might.  I did not like having to wrap all this and that around.  You just do not feel like all that wrapping after hip replacement surgery.  Click HERE just to have a look at the Magic Gel ice pack that I DID NOT LIKE...You may think that it is the bombdiggity

I ordered one of the 7 in 1 Hip Replacement Recovery Kits.  Click HERE for the 7 in 1 Hip Replacement Recovery Kits The hospital did send me home with one of these kits, but it did not have everything in it that I needed.  In my opinion, the hospital kit was el cheapo.  Here is the one I purchased through Amazon.

When can you shower?  Three days after surgery is when my doctor said that I could shower.  The only stipulation was that you could not get the 7-inch incision wet.  Here is how the shower went down on the third day after surgery.

I borrowed this Click HERE for Adjustable Shower Bench from my mother-in-love (the first shower will require assistance, for sure):
I purchased the following items to wrap around my 7-inch incision when I showered (I wrapped Saran Wrap, then used Painter's Tape to secure.  Then, I wrapped bubble wrap, then used painter's tape to secure-I only used the Bubble wrap once.) :

Bubble Wrap

Painter's Tape
What about the meds?  
During the days before surgery, I took Tylenol rapid release formula.

Before the surgery, I also took Tylenol PM at night.

When planning for the surgery and the days to come, make sure that you set up your bedroom so that when you arrive home after surgery, you are good to go.  Have the CPAP plugged in.  Have the pillows on the bed.  Have your favorite blanket nearby.  Have a little table for your drink.  Have the tools you might need to get in and out of the bed.  Have a lamp that you can reach.  Have the books downloaded on the IPAD.  Have the remote control handy if you enjoy binge watching the endless series on Netflix or Amazon Prime.    

After surgery, I took the BIG BOY pain killer for about a week.  I probably could have stopped sooner, but I did not because of the unpleasantness of my situation.  I was prescribed Hydrocodone-Acetamin.  These drugs are hard stuff and you have to be really careful when taking them!  

Oh, I would like to say that I am not getting any money for suggesting any of these items.  I just remember being so happy when someone showed me a picture and shared a link with hip replacement recovery suggestions.

How do you know if you are experiencing pain due to a faulty hip?
  • 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
If you are experiencing these symptoms and you think you could possibly have a hip problem, go to the doctor.  You do not want to wait.  When the doctor does an initial x-ray, bone-on-bone can be discovered.  This is not rocket science.  An MRI will pick up the arthritis.  Make sure you know that anyone at any age can get arthritis.  I always thought it was something my great-grandmother struggled with in her 70s, but I was so wrong.

There are some great Facebook groups to join to find more information.  Click HERE for Speed Up Your Hip Replacement Recovery: Support Group and Forum and Click HERE for Total Hip Replacement Forum

I need to wrap this sucker up!  This is the longest blog post in the history of blog posts.  Some will say, "Good Lord, I ain't got time to read that long post!"  Some will say, "I love details and boy does she include them!"

As I entered this journey, I wish that I would have known a lot of this information.  

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is to find a good orthopedic surgeon that uses a good hospital.  You need to get an orthopedist that specializes in hip replacement.  The number of hip replacements that the doctor has done is important.  You need to ask friends and find out who is you best option. If you do not have friends, find them!  You can join one of the hip replacement groups on Facebook and ask.  You can look at Google reviews. Ask someone in your Sunday School class.  Be specific and say, "I need a surgeon specializing in hip replacement."  An orthopedist that has done at least a 1,000 or more hip replacements is your best bet.  Like I said, mine had been at it for 20 years and had done 2,400.  Do not monkey around with your body using an orthopedist with little experience.  Practice makes perfect. 

I would have pressed the hip x-ray that was bone-on-bone.  

I would never have had an injection at the hospital.  I would have had sense enough to realize a little shot was not going to heal my bone-on-bone.  

Also, I probably would have been a little more forceful and gotten a second opinion quicker.  I really did not consider that I possibly had severe osteoarthritis.  I was only 56!  My MD daughter called it about two years ago, but I did not listen so great.  

Here is my war wound after 5 weeks.

As I mentioned earlier, I am an art teacher and I did return to school after 4 weeks at home.  It was not the easiest thing that I have ever done, but I had to start somewhere.  Teaching art (1st-8th), I tend to move around the classroom a lot.  When I have breaks, I try to go get a walk in.  Walking a couple of times a day is a huge help.  If I do not walk, I can tell at night.

Last thing and this is important.  Remember, we are all different. We heal at different rates.  We have different doctors that have performed our hip replacements in thousands of different ways.  I am just one person with a lot of thoughts that I felt the need to share.  Hip replacement surgery is BIG stuff, but we can do big stuff.  Take it day-by-day before surgery.  Take it day-by-day after surgery. 

I hope this blog post helps someone out there that thinks that they may need to join the "Hippie" Club.  Folks, trust me, the Hippie Club dues are painful and they sho-nuff ain't cheap!  The Hippie Club is exclusive and you must meet certain requirements.  I tell you, "It is the best club that I was ever forced to join!"

Peace out, fellow hippies and hippies to be ☮!



  1. This sounds so familiar. It took me 1 1/2 of physical therapy, rest, exercise, x-rays, gynecologist, podiatrist, and finally my chiropractor suggested I get my hip checked. I feel so much better after my hip replacement. I am able to go home from school each day without crying in pain.
    Thank you for writing your story!

    1. Sounds like you had a rough time, too. Thankful for modern medicine! Thanks for your kind comment!

  2. Had no idea you were going through all of this!! You should have let me know! I would have brought you dressing or something! So glad you are on the mend and feeling among the living low. Love you and let me know what you are hungry for!

    1. Girl, you are sweet! I am back at school teaching those precious grandkids! Love you and those sweet grandkids!......Dressing :)