Monday, November 9, 2009

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time ... Part 3

At this point in my trilogy, I've had two lengthy (and painful!) rotator cuff surgeries, one in April and the second in May, just four weeks after the first. I was doing great with my recovery until 10 weeks post-op I hear 'fabric ripping' ... my shoulder fabric to be specific! It is now mid-August. My original surgeon (of both surgeries) has told me "no more surgery!" I am frustrated and the shoulder is hurting; I have a specialist recommended to me by my primary physician. I see my original surgeon discussing the history and my options. He has changed his mind; recommends that I have surgery a THIRD time.

I had lost confidence in my surgeon!

Well DUH!!!! I would like to point out at this time that these surgeries, hospitalizations, medications, appliances (slings, etc.) and physical therapy had not been without costs !!! I won't even get into
the pain, inability to dress myself at first ... which reminds me to stop here and acknowledge my sweet, patient, loving, husband; he did everything for me ... I'm serious! The Duck carefully helped me shower/dried my back/shoulder and became quite adept at putting my bra on (on ME, silly) ... although he remarked that doing so really went against his nature. When I returned each time to have the staples removed, the nurses were amazed that I was wearing a bra! Apparently, most women don't have such help. I managed to brush my own teeth... using my left hand. The brushing of hair was trickier and forget the blow dryer. My biggest complaint (other than not being able to sleep on my side as I am accustomed to doing) was putting on make-up, specifically my eyebrows! I have written instructions that I carry with me at all times stating if I am involved in a fatal accident or do not wake up one morning, whoever finds me agrees to draw on my eyebrows ... that and make sure the oven is cleaned. You see, I have no eyebrows ... "And no, Pops, it's not because I plucked them out!" I don't have to shave either ... but I digress ... The Duck was/is my Hero ... I am blessed!!

Getting back to surgeries, though ... I declined the 'offer' of the original surgeon. I saw the specialist, complete with my records (and photos) He explained what he would do, but only after getting a second MRI. He was surprised that I didn't have 'anchors' the first two times ... to us lay people that means 'screws'. He explained the damage he sees on the MRI and his patented procedure using 'anchors' and arthroscopic surgery.

While waiting in the exam room The Duck and I look at autographed University of Texas
photos on the wall. There is Mack Brown in a photo with the team after they won the 2005-2006 Big 12 Championship and the National Championship. The office looked out on the practice field of the UT Longhorns. We laugh that if you scratched this doctor, he would bleed burnt orange!

I decide not to tell him that I attended the University of Oklahoma and that we are both from Oklahoma ... at least until after the surgery.

With only the confidence of someone who knows what they are talking about, he lays out his 'pain' management. It was now October ... I could not lift my right arm, the pain was almost constant; I opt to have the third surgery. On October 15, 2008 we drive into the 'city' where the third rotator cuff surgery is performed ... and a torn bicep
(which did not show up on either MRI) is repaired at the same time. There are four anchors/screws embedded in my right shoulder.

I am sent home a few hours later with an ICE machine ... literally ... well, not an ice machine that you would find at a motel, but it truly was a lifesaver. The Duck would add ice cubes to the container and the coils would deliver ice cold water that continually surrounded my shoulder. Perhaps it was the 'white noise' of the machine, but I found it quite comforting. I used the machine for two weeks, at which time I returned to the new surgeon to have my staples removed. (with my bra on !!)

I would see this doctor every 3-4 weeks over several months. A very strict physical therapy plan was accomplished between the doctor and a therapist in my area. The timing of all of this is a blur to me now ... suffice to say that I celebrated the one year anniversary of the last surgery a few weeks ago. I still have trouble blow drying my hair, I will never be able to play tennis or bowl .... of course I couldn't before the surgeries, either! I can lift my arm more than shoulder high now and more importantly it does not hurt!!! I do not put off the metal detectors at the airport, but I must confess I still have nightmares about slides!!!


Bz said...

Good pics to go with story. Glad it's a 3 'parter'-story and not 4 -that would just be ?!? ..."inconceivable" (said in the lisp voice from that scene in The Princes Bride).

Tatersmama said...

Yes, but can you play the piano now? (neither can!)

The only question I have is: why did you take so long to share this story?
I love how you did the photos with it, and I literally passed up lunch to read the whole trilogy!

And Bz... I agree. Part 4 would have been "incontheevable".
Geez, I love that movie - and Inigo Montoya!!!
*lusty sighs*