It has now been 31 days since my shoulder surgery. Overall I am feeling motivated and also a little overwhelmed.
I have some pretty gnarly scar tissue. I guess they did open up my skin in four places and jam a camera all the way into my joint.
My PT has started massaging the scars after I do the exercises and it HURTS. Maybe more than most other things. I don’t know what more I can say about it. The only thing that hurts more is when I get startled and accidentally jerk my shoulder.
I still have 11 more days with this thing. While it is a pain, I’ve actually been starting to sleep better on my back and left side. (Remember, my sling has my arm facing straight ahead, not across my body.) When I sleep on my left side, I still need a pillow to support my arm at the right angle. Often my shoulder aches in that position because it’s floating at the top of my body, not totally stable. The most stable way to sleep is on my back, but that can be hard if I want my comforter to cover me all the way. The weight of the blanket presses down on my hand, which stands straight up.
My sling has become pretty much a crumb and pet hair collector. When I’m finished with it I will give it a good vacuum and see if I can send it to be re-purposed.
With my arm this way, I still can’t drive. Even though it could seem like a loss of freedom I don’t think it really has to be. I can walk to the grocery store if I have to. I’m finding a lot of ways to keep busy at home, which brings me to…
My One-Arm Hobbies
Next week is when my school district goes back in session (I know, we have a long winter break!), and therefore my work friends will no longer be available to drive me around and hang out at any given time. No worries, though, I have acquired a few hobbies and activities I can do with one arm.
Blogging has been a nice way to chronicle this experience. As you may have noticed if you’ve perused this site before, I don’t only blog about how sexy my scars are. I like to write about all kinds of things. It’s been fun to explore other blogs and other people’s worlds through this platform.
Reading is the next thing I can do with one arm. I’m currently reading Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks. I’m about halfway through. I also read Wonder by R.J. Palacio – that was a much quicker read. I finished that one in about 3 days. I was thinking about getting a library card. Before I do, I want to read every book I have. This will be part of downsizing – If I read a book and want to read it again, I’ll keep it. If once was enough, I will donate it or maybe sell it on eBay.
Walking my dog has been a nice hobby. I usually give her a walk after my husband leaves for work, and before he comes home. Lately I’ve been trying to go for 5 miles of walking a day.
Not looking at my phone all day has been really helpful for my sleep. I’m trying to develop better habits about that. I go on my phone to communicate. I can go on my Chromebook for social media.
Two days ago, as a step toward my zero waste journey, I went outside with a bag and picked up trash. I walked around my neighborhood and filled the bag, got another, and filled another bag with stuff from a different part of the neighborhood. I don’t know if it’s because I live right by two high schools, by an apartment community, or some combination of those things, but there’s a lot of trash around.
It has been a weirdly meditative process to go around and pick up trash. It feels bad because it’s there – some other human in this world decided that leaving their trash there was okay. But it feels better when I pick it up, and it’s no longer on the ground.
I hung up a poster on my neighborhood bulletin board inviting others to pick up trash with me. It feels nice to take some responsibility for my surroundings. What happens if nobody shows up? There will still be one person going around picking up trash.
An unexpected side effect of this activity: squatting down to pick something up off the ground has left my gluteus muscles a little sore. Obviously this is how I will be getting my booty muscles back.
Outside of those everyday things, I’ve been doing a lot of little projects around the house: Sending late wedding photos and Christmas presents, turning my husband’s old undershirts into rags, sorting out the piles of stuff in the kitchen, getting rid of magazines I don’t need.
I spent one day making care kits for homeless shelters and people on the street. I reused bags to contain sample snacks I’ve received in the mail, sample soaps and lotions, washcloths, feminine products (I just got reusable ones in the mail yesterday!), socks and gloves, band-aids, plastic silverware, napkins, and cleansing cloths. These are things that I know could be used by someone but I don’t need them in my house anymore. I really hope they end up helping someone.
So, that’s about where I am right now. Future projects? I have a photo project in mind for my brass chamber music workshop I will be compiling for soon. I would like to find a use or a project for the wine corks we always accumulate. And I need to figure out how to better organize this blog for new visitors. There is much to be done, but I need to go at my own pace. The most important reason I’m taking this time off from work is to heal myself.
What are some healing activities you like to incorporate into your day?
For the next part in this series, click here.
5 thoughts on “Shoulder Status: After 4 Weeks”
Hey, I hope this heals soon, and you’re still v beautiful so don’t worry about it!
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Thank you for your kind thoughts!
My surgery is set for 4/20/18 Friday. I’m 71 years old, fell forward 2/27/18 deep gash in my upper lip and chin and pain in my shoulder that increased over time. March 12, 2018, Went to immediate care facility . X-rays of mandible, humerus and shoulder taken, Right shoulder 4 Views indication injury of right shoulder. Glenohumeral alignment is anatomical without evidence of dislocation or sublimation. No acute fracture or high grade acromioclavicure separation. Six norco prescribed for pain, sling given and told to see orthopedic surgeon. Appointment with 1st ortho guy on 3/21/18, he ordered more X-rays and a MRI. 3/21/18 X-ray and 3/22/18 mri The. study results are as follows: rupture and retraction of the entire infraspinatus and posterior portion of the Supraspinatus tendons, Reactive joint effusion with intermediate signal loose body suspected in the sub Cora oil bursa, Secondary superior subluxation of the glenohumeral joint with chondromalacia. 3/22/18 received message via “ My Chart” to choose an ortho surgeon and a facility to set a date for surgery!! Immediately tried to get answers as to why I had received this to no avail. His nurse was no help and hung up on me…she had never heard of “My Chart”! Definitely decided I would never deal with that specific nurse anymore
. Frustrated and annoyed that I would do this before 1st ortho had even reviewed the second set of X-rays or the MRI. And I never heard of the doctors listed or any of the facilities listed!! Met up with him a few days later, was told in order for Medicare to pay I’d have to have two surgeries., two recoup periods, and two long physical therapy lasting three months each! Was told complete rotary tear in addition to the “ball” to the joint had been” pushed up”. I asked if he would be doing the surgery; he looked shocked so I showed him the My Chart entry and explained how rude his nurse had been. He said he had an excellent staff and never had any problems with them. And besides “No one could understand this Chart” … the one that the group he is a part of sends this to patients!
At that point I asked if after the surgeries I could interact with any other nurse should I have questions or concerns. His reply was a no! She’s the one who takes care of my appointments and follow ups. My reply was, I am not going to deal with her. I’ll have to think about this whole thing and I’ll talk to the orthopedic guy who is taking care of my back problems. In addition to his completely ignoring my concerns & to my disbelief Medicare wouldn’t pay for the second recommended “as soon as possible” surgery without having one surgery first that he “didn’t think he could fix it”, I decided to leave his office. As I was leaving he said he could recommend another surgeon and then asked me what was the name of my back surgeon. I had no intention of telling him especially because he simply had not shown me any caring for me at all. ….just like apparently the only “staff” he has was the nurse who didn’t care either and I should just accept that. Be Forwarned, I think it’s important for those reading your blog to obtain second opinions and make sure you are confident and comfortable with what’s about to happen with your body before going into any surgery most especially if things just don’t feel right. By the way Medicare does pay for recommended/ indicated surgery without one going through two surgeries. Love you insite to your preop, surgery and post op! I’ve been reviewing them several time over the last few days. Thanks for putting my mind at ease for the good….the bad….and the ugly! Clare
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I hope it went all right! These journeys are both painful and a pain.