|Three days post surgery, doesn't look too bad, felt awful!|
On Saturday, it will be four months since my shoulder surgery and five and a half months since my initial injury. This has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I have learned a lot about myself, my friends, adrenal insufficiency and feeling like shit.
In June, I ruptured two of my rotator cuff tendons in my right arm and tore a third one. We only have four tendons and they help raise and lower the arm. How did I do it? Well, the ultimate activity was a "girl" push up but there was a lot of history behind the push up incident. Pain I had felt in my pectoral muscle for about 20 years was a tendon slowly giving way. Falling off mountain bikes, rock climbing, cleaning houses, shoveling Idaho snow (which I did at my house, and two clients houses), and weight lifting all ultimately contributed to the rupture. The push up that blew the tendons could have just as easily been a very aggressive swim workout or unpacking a moving truck. It was bound to happen at some point.
|Looking out of our garage, snow is not that deep in front of the door but note the piles next to the driveway. Heaving snow up and over them was not great. Unlike many parts of the country, we had to shovel snow from September through May in Idaho.|
I found a surgeon and had a pretty positive experience with him and the anesthesiologist for the surgery. Immediately post surgery, I felt better than I had expected. Post surgery, the shoulder had to remain immobile for six weeks. Keeping a formerly active limb immobile causes a lot of pain and cramping to all the muscles attached to the limb. Biceps, triceps, lats, etc. By four weeks post surgery, I was wracked with pain. I was taking pain killers and they were making me insane. Everything was cramping. It didn't help that we moved during this time as well. Any way, the first six weeks were not only painful physically but emotionally as well. I have my issues and I don't deny that! To work things out in my head, I run, I clean, I am active, I spend time alone. I was sleeping on the couch in the living room, no privacy. I was specifically told I was not allowed to run for THREE MONTHS (I didn't listen and ran my mile a day), my energy levels were low and my left arm was not great at obeying my brain. To give you an example of my screwedupness, taking a shower was a pretty awful, painful, stressful part of my day. It took forever. Try strapping your arm down and then wash your hair and dry off. It takes about twice as long. Add exhaustion, crying and a lot of pain in getting the sling off, clothes off and then clothes back on. Because showering was so awful, everything went downhill from there. Pain pills made me a crying mess. I do think my hydrocortisone intake was pathetically low. Thank you Cathy for your frequent texts that I totally did not listen to. I wish I had followed your advice!!!!! I have a lot to say about post surgery hydrocortisone guidelines but not right now. My brain was completely off line. I was watching Jerry Springer and crying a little about the paternity cases. NOTE: If this happens to you, take about 25 mg of HC right then and there. Crying while watching Jerry Springer is NOT NORMAL and a symptom of LOW CORTISOL.
Basically, I was very, very fucked up for the first six weeks after surgery. I was a blob. I was a crying mess. I couldn't accomplish anything. I watched trash TV. I cried and cried and cried. It was awful. What hurt the worst was Pam kicking me off the board of the Parrot Outreach. I'm still tearing up about that now. I love those damned birds and miss them. She tore a piece of my heart out at a time when I needed it. Shessh. I'm crying about it right now. The saddest part was that she never gave me any reason for it. She was a coward and it appeared that she only wanted to hurt me badly when I was down. I guess that's because I was leaving her and the birds and she wanted to make the first strike. Sadly for the birds, I was committed to writing grants and trying to get the Parrot Outreach money for operating expenses. Sigh. I think the craziest thing was that the people that I thought could relate to me the best and understand what I was going through the most were the ones who saw me as a failure because I was completely and utterly unable to cope with life. They abandoned me and kicked me while I was down. Perhaps I'm pathetic all the time and when I was even more pathetic, they cut me loose? I guess that's fair. Whatever. I'm sorry that the birds have one less person to love them and care for them, even if from afar.
On a more positive note, there were so many wonderful people who stuck with me, sent me cards, called, emailed and texted. Getting clips of people's children doing cool things, seeing funny pictures, getting things in the the mail always made my day better and brighter. A couple of amazing friendships (Jim!) have come from this awful time. Having so many people stick by me at such a rough time was a wonderful thing. Thank you everyone. I appreciate you all so much. Thanks to my husband, Paul, as well. I had my doubts about how he would handle me and my bad attitude twenty four seven but he did pretty well for the most part. Toward the end of the six weeks of immobilization, I think he might have been thinking about killing me in my sleep but he refrained. Thanks, Paul!
My next posts:
- Post surgery hydrocortisone guidelines are bullshit
- Seven weeks to current shoulder update
- Shoulder in pictures
- What the future holds
If you have any questions or topics regarding my surgery and rehabilitation, please put them in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org