What’s worse: watching a loved one suffer or suffering yourself? If the suffering is happening in a loving relationship, it’s probably a toss-up.

Just ask Sue Coffman. She knows what it’s like to watch a spouse go through disabling pain.

Jim and Sue enjoy being active. They love to walk and enjoy the wildlife around their Eagle River home. One of their hobbies is raising Birmingham Rollers, acrobatic pigeons.

They describe their life as a little slice of heaven.

But that was not always the case. There was a time when Sue was concerned that their lives were going to be filled with chronic pain and disability.

Jim suffered from arthritis in his hip. Before he called Bone & Joint, his hip pain became so severe that even caring for his beloved pigeons was almost impossible.

“I was pretty much sitting in a recliner and not walking much,” said Jim. “I was always limping and dragging my leg.”

According to Bone & Joint’s, orthopedic surgeon, Eric Thiel, MD, it’s not uncommon for people to wait until they can’t stand the pain anymore before they ask for help.

“For many patients who live with constant pain, they almost forget what it’s like not to have pain,” said Dr. Thiel. “They come in when the pain pushes them to their limits.”

Jim and Sue made an appointment at Bone & Joint to see what could be done to stop Jim’s pain.

“When Dr. Thiel had Jim get up, walk, and move, he watched him,” said Sue. “Then he rolled his chair over to Jim, looked him in the eye, and said, ‘I can fix this.’ We were so relieved. Finally, we had hope.”

Dr. Thiel talked to Jim and Sue about the risks and benefits of hip replacement.

“Medicine, as we know, is complex,” said Dr. Thiel. “It’s a different language. It’s my job to interpret it and treat each patient like they are a member of my family.”

Jim and Sue listened as Dr. Thiel explained Jim’s current condition and how hip replacement surgery would eliminate most of the pain and give him the ability to move again. Dr. Thiel’s approach gave Jim the confidence he needed to schedule the surgery.

“They had me walking the afternoon after surgery,” said Jim. “I noticed right away, my pain was gone.”

Jim’s response is common. It motivates Dr. Thiel and the orthopedic team at Bone & Joint.

“When you see a patient with hip arthritis and see how much it’s been affecting them, and then you see the patient on the other side of treatment, it’s so rewarding,” said Dr. Thiel.

“It changed my life,” said Jim.

Sue agreed. “I’ve got my soulmate back,” she said. “And now, we can actually have a life again.”

If you suffer from joint pain, the orthopedic specialists at Bone & Joint can help you relieve the pain and move better. Contact them for an appointment.