Status: After 10 Weeks

Hello friends,

It’s been a few days since I last posted about my shoulder, and I’m too cold to go out and walk Luna quite yet, so I thought I would update.

Things are going well. My new physical therapist is super nice and very thorough. Like I mentioned a week or two ago, I’ve started working on strengthening. Strengthening, at this point, does not look like me lifting a bunch of weights and getting super buff.

Instead, it looks like me, lying face-down on a table with one-pound weights on my wrists, slowly bringing my arms up, around, and back (probably extremely gracefully). It looks like me at the rowing machine pulling 20 pounds. And it looks like me, still pulling the red bands, not the higher resistance blue ones yet.

But I really am starting to get my range of motion back. It doesn’t feel painless or normal yet, but I CAN DO IT.

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My right arm, the one without the rubber band, going straight up!
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“If I bend my wrist, I can reach higher!” – Me
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Left arm for comparison

I’m slightly more and more able to move my right hand up my back every time. At this point it goes to about the small of my back. Compared to my left arm, which reaches about to between my shoulder blades, I have a long way to go.

(However, because my joints were so loose before, it’s probably unrealistic to aim for equal flexibility any time in the near future.)

My PT said today, “I’m so proud of you! You’ve improved so much since I started working with you.” And I felt like a little kid who was so excited to please a grownup.

Let’s get into some more details about what I can and can’t do right now:

  • Driving – I can drive! Steering sharp turns takes a little more foresight. I was naughty and drove a 4 hour trip to and from the Bay Area to spend time with friends last weekend. Most of that trip was straight (not too much steering), though I must say my arm was aching by the end from holding the steering wheel.
  • Sleeping – I still only sleep on my left side or on my back. Sometimes I want to lie on my stomach, but my shoulder really doesn’t like that unless my arms are straight and right next to my body. I never plan on sleeping on my stomach like that, but I like to turn sometimes to stretch my back.
    Sometimes my old habits creep up and I mindlessly try to turn to my right side. Then my right arm has to push me up to turn me over again. Not pleasant!
  • Chores – I’ve been doing dishes, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning the cat box every day. I vacuumed my car before my road trip on Saturday and that was challenging because of the ways I had to contort and reach. I can fold most laundry, but big towels are challenging.
  • Exercise – I’ve been going on a lot of hikes lately. It’s a nice thing to do with my husband when he has the day off. My legs will be primed when it comes time to run again. After awhile of intense hiking, my shoulder does start to ache. But it’s usually not too bad.
  • Music – I played a whole two hour jazz rehearsal last Tuesday! It was really nice to be back on trumpet. Really, my right arm didn’t hurt too badly from that. My left side was a little cranky from doing all the heavy horn lifting.

What about work?

I have my doctor appointment on Thursday and I have a feeling that’s when he’ll assess me for returning to work. Right now I feel hesitant about the idea. There are still limitations to my mobility, and my job involves just enough pushing, pulling, lifting and contorting to make me nervous about having an accident and ruining it all.

So, I don’t know. March 15th (3 months after procedure) is in theory my scheduled return date, and a lot could happen in the 3 weeks between now and then. I think I will ask to be seen again before that date.

That’s about where I am right now. Stay tuned for more!

Stephy

For the next part in this series, click here.

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