Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Looking Inside my Shoulder; Therapy Finally Begins; Why Falling is Appalling; A Visit From Friends

At Majestic Pines RV Resort, Willis, Texas...

After I awoke in the recovery room, the surgeon showed me photos of the interior of my shoulder, snapped from the little camera that had snaked around inside during the surgery, allowing him to perform the intricate maneuvers that would reconnect things that had been so violently torn apart. Of particular concern were the ends of the three tendons that had been severed from the rotator cuff and had retracted to where only the shredded ends were visible some distance from their former points of attachment. It was obviously a mess, even to the eyes of someone untrained like me. It was an almost surreal feeling that I was looking at photos of the  mayhem inside my own sad-looking shoulder, but the pain I felt brought it back to reality. This, he said, was why it took him so long to dig around inside and make repairs. 

When I saw him again in a few days, he asked if I was angry with him for not being fully honest about the post-op pain he knew I would experience. I came back with some smart aleck joke but even so, I made sure he knew I felt nothing but gratitude. And even at the worst of the two-day post-op blinding pain, with sleep being impossible, I was nothing but thankful that his God-given skill was likely to make me whole again--or so I hoped.

He delayed the beginning of therapy for a month due to the complications of the repair. I had to be careful to wear my arm sling, staying away from crowds and avoiding at all costs any excess movement that could undo the sutures, clamps and whatever else he had put in place inside my shoulder to reconnect the tendons. He described the movements of my arm that were okay to make, and I followed his instructions carefully.

After about a week, I felt good enough to have visitors, especially enjoying those from the kids. I even went to Mason's tenth birthday party, which I was not going to miss! The kids were schooled beforehand not to run up and hug Poppy, something I sorely missed.

A few days after the surgery, I went in for a checkup. Dr. Hayes gave me allowances for more freedom of movement as I felt comfortable, but with stern instructions about what I was not to try to do. This has been a real confidence builder, as I have noticed steady improvement in the things I am able to do with my right arm. For example, I couldn't dress myself at the beginning (thank God for Sandy!) and now, I need almost no help at all. I'm even allowed to start driving again for brief periods! But small chores like this do not involve the larger muscles connected to the tendons that have lain dormant for weeks and, because they think they're on vacation, still prevent me from raising my arm past my chest. It is to regain the use of these that I have finally begun physical therapy, which will proceed slowly until everything is healed inside. 

The first therapy episodes have been conducted in a pool, the buoyancy of the water helping immensely when the larger motion requirements are demanded by the therapist, who knows well her malicious trade. I would like to say that it was delightful to be massaged by a young lady in a swimsuit, but this was clearly not the case. She was there to awaken sleeping muscles, and that she did, looking unhappy if she didn't elicit from me a groan or at least a grimace as she moved my arm to places it did not want to go. Here is a photo of one of my first sessions:


If nothing else, this experience has reinforced the value of family--especially my dear Sandy--and friends, whose support and helpfulness has been superb. I appreciate everyone for everything, no matter how small, even if only a thought, a note or a prayer. It has also reminded me that older people are terribly at risk from falling. In fact, it is the leading cause of accidental injury and death among the elderly, causing 2.8 million hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths last year. I don't know about you, but I was stunned by those statistics. 

I know I have made a new commitment toward being more sensible in being aware of my surroundings and movements from now on and realizing that I am no longer the kid who thought he was immortal.

Just as I was putting this finishing touches on this post, we learned that good friends Chip and Diane were staying nearby visiting their grandkids, so we made arrangements for a long lunch together, catching up with the escapades of these fine folks. Their visit really cheered us up, another indication that, yes, things will surely get back to normal before long.



Oh, yes, I mentioned in the last post that I would talk about jacks in this post; well, I suppose that'll have to be next time. This one really needed to be all about me. (grin)


Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 

please forgive me if I fail to appreciate it as I should each day.



We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.  
--George Bernard Shaw

16 comments:

  1. Thought of you guys all week, but neglected to follow up. So sorry about that.

    Glad to know therapy has started.

    Stay strong. 😊

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    1. Thank you, Dear Janice. I got to thinking I owed you and Dave a mention as being among the first of our friends to visit, but I forgot to get a photo. It's just as well, though, as Dave would have been in the photo, and that would have been too scary. I was too fragile at the time. LOL!

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  2. It is great to see that you are on the mend and that the physical therapy has started. I like you, believe that following the doctors orders, as what to and not do, is so important to the healing process and to getting back to as close to normal as possible. We to often think of ourselves as the 30 to 40 year old, that we once were and can do the things we once did. Take care Mike and here is to continued recovery. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Thanks, Bill. Older and wiser sometimes comes at a cost, doesn't it? Appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

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  3. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this, but you are facing it with the right idea: taking care of yourself by doing the right things to overcome your injury. It's hard to think about a fall doing so much damage to your arm, but should make us all more aware of what can occur when we rush. Those statistics are frightening! I'm thankful you are recovering well, following the doctors orders and soon this will only be a memory. Keeping you in my prayers for complete healing.

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    1. You don't know how comforting that is. Thank you, Cheri!

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  4. Glad the operation went well for you and the PT and recovery goes quickly and smooth.

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  5. Hopefully you have the hard part over now and the true healing can begin. I used to take an older lady (much older than you) to a physical therapist. He would make her walk the long hallway and would gently push her into the wall or sideways (always ready to catch her)so that she could learn how to regain her balance if she needed to. We must stay strong! As he said "The recliner is going to be the death of us"!

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    1. There's a lot of truth to that! I am grateful for a new awareness of my limitations and the need to keep moving to keep going!

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  6. Our bodies are amazingly resilient, Mike, given the proper rest, environment and nutrition. With time, patience and diligent attention to your physical therapy regime, this painful episode will be in your rear view mirror and your travel adventures will be out in front again. Hang in there and enjoy the blessings of extra time with family. There is much to be said for a supportive spouse in a situation like this - God bless both you and Sandy.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I value friendship with encouragers like you.

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  7. Mike;Hope you all are recovering well,prayers for you both.Life is precious lost my dear cousin,was like a brother to me.Was treated for flu,turned out to be a bacteria around his heart.He passed away,was always in great shape.Please take care Mike,i thank god everyday for my gift of life.Hugs to you and Sandy .Bob here in Md

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  8. Hi, Bob! Thanks for your kind comments and prayers. They are evidently working, as my progress seems to be going very well. I've even been cleared to make a trip in Phannie in about a month, but I must come back to complete the therapy, which I intend to do. God bless, my friend.

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    1. Great news Mike,ill be watching for your updates.

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    2. Thanks, Bob. I'll have an update after my first follow-up with the surgeon tomorrow. I fell that I'm doing quite well; the therapy is clearly important.

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