Daily Photo: What’s Up

Giuseppe and the Welcome Kitty
Giuseppe and the Welcome Kitty

Now, there’s the Welcome Kitty with a vase of a little of everything that’s blooming in the yard right now, mostly wildflowers from my overgrown yard. But wildflowers are fine with me, even though I typically have lots of other flowers in midsummer as well.

And over on the left you see Giuseppe telling me not to be so full of myself. Well, Giuseppe, you’re not looking at a hip replacement in a couple of months! I was neutered! he responds. I can’t top that. At least I’ll still have a hip when this is over.

Yes, that’s what’s in the future, and it’s also been building up through the past couple of years. An aching hip began in October-November 2017. I have a little arthritis in all my joints and a little scoliosis in my back, so aching joints aren’t a surprise. Typically I can work things out, sometimes going to my doctor for a little bit of pain or inflammation relief. It shifted somewhat, and about the time Sienna joined us in December 2017 it felt very much like sciatica, another condition I’m familiar with.

Through the beginning of 2018 it would come and go, but I could still walk with just a little stiffness and also ride my bike. I did not have health insurance until later that spring so I did what I’ve always done when I had little aches and pains, that always went away. I plowed through my schedule of vendor events, did a little TNR around the neighborhood then in June, after months of researching the house then organizing where everyone would go, I moved on to the TNR project at the abandoned house on Dunbar Street, through all the fosters, the surgeries, and moving them to the farm. I was limping noticeably, and nearly all the time, though I still had some pain-free days. Moving around felt good. I decided to slow down on vendor events and host an open house here instead. Then the 11 Cherrydell cats, and Mariposa joined us. Then my Panhandle Trail exhibit had me so sore I could barely stand, then September and I could no longer ride my bike.

Without the vendor events my income was reduced by about one-third. I applied for utility assistance and through that process found I qualified for medical assistance. With health care on board my doctor and I began some testing, pain relievers and supplements as we had always done with my joint issues like this. It could be arthritis, could be a hairline fracture. Was I starting into my family history of osteoporosis?

Things went well, and into the new year I was experiencing less and less pain. But once vendor season started again, each time it took longer for the pain and inflammation to reduce after the event. Then even my long days at my work table making things and framing produced the same amount of pain. Then the event in June, after which I had more pain than I’d ever experienced and it was not going away. My doctor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon, who I saw this past Monday. Nope, he said, there is nothing left of this joint to save. It’s covered in arthritis, you are bone on bone. It’s probably been building up for a decade. You need to have a hip replacement.

I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but when my hip seemed determined to be more and more painful I had the feeling this was in my future. It’s odd that one joint would go so far bad and the rest maintain the same level they’d always had. I am 58, so I guess it’s about time for something to need to be repaired. I have never played sports but always been very physical, purchasing my little carpenter special and climbing all over it to fix it up and maintain it, carrying things for gardening and for my vendor shows and on the trail that were probably heavier than I should have been carrying. I rarely fall, but I do use my hips for things like closing the car door when my hands are full.

I went for most of the past year trying to take it easy on this right hip, so that I could preserve as much as was left and possibly we could repair it. In the process many things have gone undone, basement unwaterproofed, materials and boxes stacked here and there for the issue of climbing into the attic or under the bed, gutters growing wildflowers. If 10 kitties purring on it couldn’t heal it, probably there was no hope.

I now can’t walk without support, and the doctor gave me a cane. I walk through a room holding on to the furniture and wincing, and Hamlet sees me acting strange and is certain I’m stalking him and runs away. Mariposa saw my cane and disappeared into the basement.

In the meantime, the pain is constant. Some days it’s so intense that it wears me out and I fall asleep earlier than usual, sleeping through the time when I typically set up my blog posts for the next day and set up Instagram posts. In the morning it takes me longer to clean litterboxes and do some laundry. I fall behind on posting and other things, and never catch up. The excessive hot weather made that even worse. It’s been a very strange time, giving up so much I enjoy and even take for granted. I am missing the summer wildflowers along the trail and in the fields, and walks around my neighborhood, town and city to photograph whatever inspires me, and getting ready for my annual exhibit on the Panhandle Trail. My physical ability has always been an important part of my independence, even my ability to make a living.

So that’s where I’ve been. But now that I know I don’t have to try to preserve my hip I can get up and get some work done. I spent the weekend with my retired friend Bill cutting down two small trees so the baby raccoons would leave their nest in my deck roof and find another den; their mother has been calling them over with her. We moved a non-working refrigerator and dryer from the very tight spaces in my basement so I can better organize printing materials down there and have a tall stool to sit on at my workbench and even washer and dryer, and I can roll around on a chair when I clean the litterboxes. I’ve cut the grass and been moving wood chips from the trees that were taken down. My hip hurts and ironically simply walking hurts it most, but all this work doesn’t make it worse than it has been and it makes me feel so much better. Hamlet and Mariposa are reassured this is just me being a strange human.

My surgery is scheduled for October 3, so I have two months to wait, then at least a month before I’m back to getting around normally, probably two or three before I can get to vendor events again. Hopefully I can maintain on my limited income, so any sales on Portraits of Animals are much appreciated. But I know I have lots of friends who will help me get back on my feet. And I will be posting whenever I can.


From Instagram

Mr. Sunshine is airing out his belly indicating that the official temperature in here is 85 degrees.

Mr. Sunshine

Bella, that is leaf lettuce and you are an obligate carnivore. Please explain.

Bella with lettuce.




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pastel sketch of cat
“Here in the Shadows”, pastel on pastello paper, 7.5″ x 11″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A very good place to be on a hot day. Jelly Bean is in the shadows behind the curtain, dozing on top of the wardrobe by the open window. He was really the only part I was interested in, his deep blackness with the few intense highlights defining a few features. It’s how I see him when he sleeps there. Pastel carries this off so well, even the texture of the paper.

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4 thoughts on “Daily Photo: What’s Up

  • August 2, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    So, does that mean you’ll set off the metal detectors whenever you fly somewhere? I can imagine how stressful it can be, being in pain but fearing surgery and recovery. I agree with the comment above; doctors have made huge strides in this type of thing, so do everything that your doc tells you to do!

    • August 2, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      Vicky, I probably will! I’ll have one of those cards in my wallet to show to the TSA. Not that I ever travel much! But I’m not at all afraid of the surgery or recovery, I’m looking forward to it! Just that my house doesn’t accommodate recovery very well–bedroom and bath upstairs, kitchen downstairs, and the house is small so the steeps are 24″ wide and almost 45 degrees. I always knew this and had planned for an addition for my studio on the ground floor with a powder room. Too late now! But I think for my cats’ sake I’m going to be on the first floor so I can feed them. Most are fine with people who have come to feed, but two or three would not be and I don’t want them to go that long without regular meals by me.

  • August 2, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Bernadette. I do think you’ll do well after the surgery. I’ve had surgery many times and although it wasn’t bone surgery, I do believe surgical techniques of every sort have gotten better and better over the years. Many hopes for a great outcome.

    • August 2, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      Thank you, Catwoods! I’m otherwise really healthy and I don’t think I’ll have any problems. I’ve actually seen my parents and siblings through plenty of surgeries and procedures, and seeing the ugly from that end takes away the fear for me. I’m looking forward to getting back on my bike and on the trail!


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