Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Ugly Truth About Shoulder Surgery

Ah...shoulder surgery....the thing that has pretty much ruled my life since September 7th.  I can't even tell you how many times I've said or thought I could do something only to realize after that fact that I can't, actually, do that.  Like, pick up 30 pound kids, carry a sleeping Babs into the house when she's fallen asleep in the car or effectively console one of my girls when they get hurt.  Or do a hand stand.  Ya know, the usual. 

Honestly, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into.  Most people that I talked to about it just said that I should be glad that it wasn't to fix a rotator cuff because that surgery is truly awful.  So I did a lamb to the slaughter.  Don't get me wrong, I have benefited already since I'm not in constant pain, which is nice.  And I wasn't naive enough to think the process would be easy and painless.  But seriously....I had NO idea it would be quite this mind numbingly hard! 

There are the big things, like physical therapy.  It's at least an hour and a half each day at home and two hours when I go in to meet with my physical therapist.  She's awesome and has the misfortune of not only being my physical therapist, but also becoming my regular therapist since she has to listen to me whine about how hard it is.  And hear all about my various cooking/baking/crafting/socializing/parenting fails.  It's like having to read my blog (by force) in amazingly interactive technicolor HD 3-D without having the advantage to just click away when you can't take it anymore.  I've recently started blog stalking her and I think I may have crossed over that fine line going from annoying patient to annoying online stalker.  Pretty sure there's a HIPPA violation in there somewhere.
My wall of exercises....not all of them pictured but you get the idea.

I don't think people really realize how physically and mentally draining physical therapy is.  It takes a lot of energy to focus on making sure the form is correct and retraining your muscles to do it right after years and years of doing it wrong in order to compensate for one of my many, many genetic shortcomings.  Just imagine exercising for almost two hours every day and never losing any weight.  That's pretty much where I'm at.  And not bitter at all.  And I'm not at all bitter about my sssllllloooooowwww progress either.

But it's funny how it's been the little things that I have struggled with the most.  Things like going to the bathroom, but using your non-dominant hand.  Just try it....I double dog dare you.  It will be a learning experience.  Or struggling to put on shirts or sweaters, get a pan out of the oven, grocery shopping, hanging up clothing, pointing, turning off my alarm, etc..  Also, putting on pants with one arm is not nearly as easy as it looks, but I appreciate being able to use both arms now.   I still can't put something in my back pocket with my right hand.  Such a simple and oh so frustrating thing.  It's also quite fascinating to watch people watching's like a car accident, there's nothing you can do but you just can't look away.   

Slowly, but surely, I think I'm getting there.  I volunteer in my daughters' classes, cook dinner, do laundry and try to keep up with all the things that need keeping up with.  It's not perfect but at least there are clean clothes to wear.  And some day I'll actually get all the Christmas decorations put away.  Maybe.

There have been some less than sympathetic people that have taken the attitude of "it's been months, what's the big deal".  But most people have either forgotten (which is pretty easy since you really can't tell anything by looking at me) or are understanding and thoughtful.  And I sometimes wonder if my hurry to get back to "normal" for the sake of my girls has made my progress that much slower.  But it doesn't really matter now.

I do realize (most days) that I will eventually get back to normal and I'll have an arm and shoulder that works really well and can keep up with me.  So, until then I will just keep doing my physical therapy, try to keep the whining to a minimum and hope that when I got back to the doctor he doesn't have to follow through with the second surgery he said I might have to have.  Because, let's face it, we will all have nervous breakdowns if I have to have surgery again.

Okay, rant over.  Sorry about the whining.  We will now return to our regularly scheduled....awesomeness?

And Happy Friday. 


Messy Musings said...

guess it depends on your definition of what "being normal" is!! hang in there, you'll achieve your goal sooner than you think!! :o)

Kristina P. said...

That really sounds miserable. I've thrown my back out a few times, and you really have no idea how trying to even just go to the bathroom becomes very painful and a huge chore. Next time? Catheter.

Emily said...

Oh, my poor, dear friend! This sounds awful. I say whine all you want. It's good therapy and keeps us from going postal.

stacy said...

Love it, you HIPPA violator you! Just hang in there! In a few more weeks you will have forgotten all about all of the pain and discomfort (I sound like an OB/GYN when discussing childbirth).. You are doing awesome!

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