They didn't quite tell me the whole story there at the doctor's office. They told me that, once the surgery was done, they would send me home with a pain medicine pump that would make my shoulder feel "yummy" for a couple of days.
"Yummy?" I pondered the word for a minute. That's not a term I've heard from a surgeon before, but Dr. Hayes had a great reputation and a folksy personality, so I thought it was kinda cool. But I had heard this kind of surgery was painful, so I was grateful for this extra measure to help lessen its impact. With this in mind, I presumed I would have no pain at all if my shoulder was supposed to feel "yummy."
After the surgery, I went home from the hospital looking like some kind of cyborg--half human, half machine--with an arm sling and a brace, along with other restraints and straps to immobilize my arm. Hanging at waist level by an additional strap around my neck was a black pouch containing the pump and the "yummy" pain medicine that would be automatically injected into my shoulder for the next two days. From the bag ran a small plastic tube that snaked up my torso and across my back into a little hole that had been punctured in my neck, through which the "yummy" painkilling fluid would flow, supposedly numbing my entire shoulder via a nerve block. (Remember that word "supposedly.") The tube was held in place on its routing from the bag to my neck with what seemed like enough tape to patch the hole in the Titanic; that sucker wasn't about to come loose, and the whole spectacle definitely turned heads as I exited the elevator and was wheeled out to the car to go home.
The surgeon said that the repairs he had to make to my rotator cuff were far more significant than the MRI had revealed. Three of the attached tendons had been severed and shredded in the fall, and the surgery took twice as long as he had expected. It was arthroscopic surgery, requiring what would ultimately be seven holes to be opened in my shoulder for the insertion of surgical instruments and a camera. This is a photo of my shoulder taken a day after surgery (Two of the holes are nearer the back of my shoulder, not visible in this photo; the yellow is the residue of a surgical sanitizing liquid. The blue markings are part of the process they use to ensure they are operating on the correct shoulder):
One of the first things I noticed when I awakened in the recovery room was that my shoulder didn't feel "yummy" as had been advertised. The anesthetic was working, as my arm and shoulder felt numb to the touch but, evidently, there was just so much it could do. The next 18 hours were pretty hellish, painwise, and I can just imagine what it would have been like without the pump. I mentioned this on the followup, and the surgeon said he wasn't surprised, given the damage inside my shoulder and the extensiveness of his repairs. Thankfully, after a couple of days, things were quite manageable with the pain meds that I was given.
Sandy is doing quite well, looking more or less like new except for a little scar tissue on her lip and nose, so I'm glad about that.
With each passing day, my arm's stiffness and the shoulder pain lessen, so I am pleased with my progress. I'll be getting the stitches out next week, and the physical therapy begins immediately afterward.
Speaking of physical therapists, I know these people. I was introduced to them after my hip replacement surgery a few years ago, so I am fully aware of what to expect from them in a few days. I think you have to be a special person to be a PT. I'm not sure what their training is like, but I think they are educated in two very different phases: In the first phase, they are trained by ex-Gestapo operatives in the art of torture and, in the second phase, they attend a Dale Carnegie course. The result is what you could only describe as a charming sadist. If you've had PT after these kinds of surgeries, you know what I'm talking about. In any case, I'm going into the therapy phase with my eyes open, and I promise not to carry any hidden weapons for retaliation. I'm going to be compliant and do what they tell me, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
Let me send heartfelt thanks to all of you who expressed kind thoughts and prayers for us whether or not we were aware of them. We are grateful for every one and believe in the effectiveness of prayer.
Of course, this little episode has vastly curtailed our summer travel plans, but we're still hoping to save some of them. We have a tickets, along with Arkansas friends Larry and Carolyn, for a gospel concert in Missouri in a couple of months, and I still hope to get Phannie's jacks replaced at some point. By the way, I have some news about that, and I will share it in the next post.
Meanwhile, it's great being here in Conroe with our family:
In closing, here are a couple of charming bonus photos of Mindy and brand new grandson Sutton:
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life;
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should each day.
We don't stop playing when we get old; we get old when we stop playing. -- George Bernard Shaw
All I can say is OUCH! However, we are missing the cyborg photo :-)ReplyDelete
Seriously get on the mend and the next time you are in Fredericksburg we'll come up from Kerrville and guide you along the sidewalks. That is if we are in Kerrville.
HaHa! It's a date! We obviously need a guide, since we both fell into the same hole.ReplyDelete
Mike, my shoulder surgery was the result of tearing two tendons from my upper arm bone. The early pain was extremely bad but after about a week the pain was a dull roar for about 6 weeks. The the torture really began as you reported. Physical Therapy is mean stuff. However after about 6 months I pronounced myself 90% of previous ability. The medical folks gave me a couple of exercises to do every day the rest of my life and they work. If I skip a few days I lose lots of mobility, so follow up as told. It makes a huge difference even if it is a nuisance. Here is my best wishes for a great recovery.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the advice, Barney. I certainly will do what it takes to get back to at least near-normal.Delete
First off, let me say that the pics of Mindy and Sutton are spectacular. Looking at those should lift your spirits greatly.ReplyDelete
The pics of your shoulder. . .aii yaiii yaiii. . .not so much. . .yowzers! I know it will all be worth it in the end.
The description of PT specialists is right on point. . .but oh so happy to have them. Enjoy the torture. It will get you where you need to be. . .back on the road, and playing the piano!
Much love, and hugs. Let us know when you feel up to being out and about. We will schedule our shopping trip, and plan for lunch with you guys!
Hi, Janice! Yes, I make fun of them (nervously) but I agree as to the importance of the physical therapists. Thanks for your comments about our babies (even the older ones). The scariest thing right now is that Sandy is doing all the driving! But that's fine--let us know when you're going to be in town.Delete
Heck after all that I sure hope things work better when you finally recover and are like new again!ReplyDelete
I hope it will be so, George. I still can't believe that happened. Old folks gotta be more careful!Delete
Wow....... your surgery must have been worse than mine. Remember, do the physical therapy!!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Richard. I promise to be good with the therapy, even if it kills me (which it might).Delete
I see a cover up tattoo in your future;-)ReplyDelete
HaHa! I hadn't thought of that!Delete
If they told us how bad it would be we would not do anything! Seriously, my pain tolerance is zero....I just can't imagine getting through that and coming out on the other side. Going to be careful where I step!ReplyDelete
You're exactly right. The doc was right to downplay the aftereffects; they are not pretty. And yes, you can bet I will be more careful in the future.Delete
All the best for a speedy recovery. You can sure tell that Mindy is your daughter, and what an adorable grandson you have in Sutton.ReplyDelete
Ditto to Bill above about that lovely family picture.Delete
ain't for city gals is absolutely bang on - if they told us, we'd run the other way (if we could!). Blessings your way for strength and endurance to get through the tough stuff and for Sandy to as well. ;)
Awww, thanks for the kind words, y'all. Being here with the kids has made it all bearable. God bless!Delete
Wishing you the best with the PT and know what you mean about their training.ReplyDelete
Beautiful pictures of the growing Family.
Praying you make it to your Concert.
Sandy should have her nose looked at because if it heals incorrectly she could suffer breathing restrictions.
Be Safe and Enjoy!
It's about time.
Hmmm. Not a bad idea for Sandy to see a specialist. Thanks for the tip. And thanks for the nice wishes and prayers. Can't wait to get this behind us.Delete
Wow, I haven't had time to read blogs lately. So sorry to hear about your injuries. Sending prayers and best wishes for speedy recoveries to you both. Congrats on the new grandson. He's beautiful!ReplyDelete
Thanks much for the kind words and prayers. This is not something I would want to do over again. Old folks need to be a little more observant, but the hole in the sidewalk (with no barricades) didn't help.Delete
So glad to hear that the surgery is in your rearview mirror, Mike, but sorry to learn that it was more extensive than expected. Thank heaven for skilled surgeons and efficient and caring nurses. Those grandkids of yours will do you more good than a thousand get well cards, so enjoy their company while you recuperate. Please remind Sandy to remain alert - I trust that you will, initially, be a good P.T. patient but will become frustrated when you think you should be progressing faster than you are. That's when her loving persistence and encouragement will pay off. Wishing you a complete and speedy recovery, my friend - there are brighter days ahead!ReplyDelete
Yes, Mary. I can't argue with anything you've written. I know how lucky I am to have a loving wife and family. Sandy is attentive almost to a fault and lets me get away with, well, very little. Onward and outward from here!Delete
Forgot to mention . . . Loved the family photos!Delete
Thanks; we're a little biased, but we think they're pretty special.Delete
wow ,not yummy ,prayers for-your recovery .Adorable picture and pictures.You take it easy Mike,don't rush it.Always look forward to your blog, o yes glad to see Sandy on the mend.Regards from Bob here near Annapolis MdReplyDelete
Thanks, Bob, I always enjoy hearing from you.Delete