Shoulder Status: After 7 Weeks

Hi everyone!

It’s been way too long since we last saw each other. How have you been? I’ve been okay. Life on disability leave is weird. I can do things, but not all the things. I suppose I was originally going to blog about all of the things I do when I revived this site, but honestly, this is kind of just something to help me keep track of my own thoughts. If it helps you to read this, I’m really glad!

Shoulder

At 6 weeks, the PT protocol said I could stop wearing my sling. When I had the 6 week appointment with my doctor, on January 25th, he said, “Let’s keep it on another week. For comfort.”

I was sad about this, but I did what he said. The point was that my joints are, naturally, very flexible, and that’s what caused my labrum to tear in the first place. So keeping my shoulder stable for another week would help my muscles to tighten up a bit. My ROM is very limited, and it’s supposed to be that way for now.

The first night I slept without my sling was an amazing sleep. I knew I’d been still all night long, because I woke up on my left side and my right arm was practically glued to the side of my body. My little spoon cat, Gabi, has been so happy she can finally spoon with me again. The sling pillow had been in the way for a long time.

PT started getting a bit tougher two weeks ago. On top of exercises for assisted range of motion, we’ve added ROM exercises to do in the mirror (which I try to do twice daily), as well as seated rows, rotator cuff strengthening band exercises (which used to hurt before the surgery and now don’t!), and ball-up-the-wall. My therapist started doing arm cranks and wrestling, which involves my arm being guided by another person as I lie on my back.

I got really sad last Thursday because my therapist took another job which would have started today. This is a person who has helped me through figuring out how my shoulder got injured, and how to get it fixed. I’m sad I won’t be working with him anymore but he said he would let me know if he ever gets a saxophone, and that I should let him know if I do any musical things he can bring his son to. I do hope I can remain friends with this person who has helped me so much.

Tomorrow I will start with someone new, and that will be okay.

Routines

I have created a handy chart that helps me stay on task through these repetitive days.

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The last thing I want is to be a super lazy person, even if my one job is to wait for my shoulder to heal. I walk my doggy twice a day usually, and have been walking an average of over 5 miles per day.

Though my therapist said I could do my shoulder exercises twice, my joint has been quite sore lately and I don’t want to push it too far too soon. So that’s my explanation for not doing those every time.

Other things on there are housekeeping stuff – things I think should be done at least once per day, so I put them on there. My husband was excited to learn that it is no longer excruciating for me to do dishes. (But I still won’t do the heavy ones.)

My doctor recommended I wait to start playing trumpet in groups again until sometime next week. Rehearsals for my groups are either 2 or 3 hours, so I have to build up the strength to do that specific task for an extended period. The hard part hasn’t been building my chops back up, or holding the weight of the trumpet – it’s just been keeping my right hand up and in front of my face. I have to be really cognizant of how I hold my shoulder, keeping it in place and not letting it creep forward. So I’m just playing for small amounts of time, several times a day.

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Some days I’m the kitten, some days I’m the shark.

I’ve been doing a good job with reading lately, despite what it shows on the chart. I’m alternating fiction and nonfiction books, and I just started Dune. Seems interesting so far!

Projects

Sometimes I pick up trash on my walks – when I do that, I wear my sling and hang the trash bag from my right hand. There’s a lot of trash everywhere. I didn’t make it as part of my daily routine because I find it’s better to do these walks separately from walking the dog. It’s a lot of stuff to hold otherwise. I’ve been doing this maybe about 3 or 4 times per week.

Other projects? I am proud to say I figured out how to set up and use my friend’s sewing machine. I’ve been making produce bags out of old T-shirts and actually using them! Once I figured out the technique, it’s been taking me about 5 minutes to sew a bag. Now I have a present I can give all my friends for super cheap. Maybe I will post a picture of my bags. Maybe I won’t!

An update on my music educator magazine project – All of the articles are in a box still. I have not figured out how to use our scanner yet. Maybe I’ll do that today. (Maybe I won’t!) When I’ve scanned all the articles, I’ll organize them by topic and share them on a Google Drive for my colleagues to access. Then they won’t have to be in my house anymore and I can use the box again.

Food prep projects take a good portion of my day sometimes. It still isn’t incredibly comfortable to chop things with a knife, but soft things like onions and celery are okay. Food processor, again, is bae. I’ll use it to slice or shred sweet potatoes, beets, anything. Today I plan on cooking a big batch of garbanzo beans to make hummus, soaking cashews to make coffee creamer, preparing whole lemons to blend and freeze for cooking, and I will be washing and drying bunched spinach. I’ll write more on this project later.

So I have plenty of projects to keep me occupied, and with the exception of the food project, it’s okay that these go kind of slow sometimes. Any progress is noticeable and welcome, just like with my shoulder.

-Stephy

For the next part in this series, click here.

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