PT continues to go well. I’m still noticing progress every week and she keeps finding new ways to torture me…and the bruising also continues.
2 bruises for the price of 1
I’ve been given a few new exercises as well. I’m doing a sideways wall climb as well as the front wall climb. It’s a little awkward but I’m sure it’ll get better with time. Then there’s this one where I put a small exercise ball on the PT table and stand next to it with my arm on it at a right angle (similar to when I’m sitting in a chair with my arm propped up next to me). Then I lean forward like I’m trying to touch my toes with my left hand, but leaving my right arm on the ball so it’s stretching my shoulder backwards. Does that make sense? It’s pretty difficult to do (and explain too) but I can see how it’s a good range of motion exercise.
Another new exercise is also with the small exercise ball – where I hold it against the wall with my right arm straight (which also was amusing since I thought it was straight but it definitely wasn’t and my therapist had to correct my form) and then lean into it and move it back and forth and then up and down.
Next Wednesday is my 3 month post op visit with my surgeon. I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say about my progress, but I’m also a little concerned that I haven’t progressed as much as I should have. Seeing him also means it’s been 2 months since I started PT and I was originally told I’d be having 3 months of PT. Thinking that I only have 1 month of PT left is frightening since I feel like I have so much more to do there. Then again, every injury is different and everyone progresses differently…so I think as long as I haven’t hit the max that my insurance will pay (I’m just about halfway there) and everyone thinks I’m doing well then I won’t panic.
No more sling!!
I saw my doctor this morning and he confirmed that I can discontinue using my sling. Very exciting. It’s so hot to wear in the summer and febreeze only goes so far.
He did some range of motion tests and thinks that things are where they should be and I go back in two months. As for range of motion, I can lift my arm straight out in front of me so it’s in line with my shoulder and to the side only to about 45*. I also got my prescription to start physical therapy tomorrow and to go 2-3 times a week. I’m lucky that my insurance pays 100% for 30 visits, but it was quite a hassle to find a place.
I’ve been thinking a lot about going back to work and I’m definitely a little nervous. I tested out using a regular keyboard and mouse the other day and it’s not the easiest. I’m just going to have to push through and find modifications.
The other thing I’m thinking about it being cleared by Employee Health Services. If we’re out more than 3 days in a row we have to be cleared by them. That makes sense if you’re sick or contagious since I work with patients who have suppressed immune systems….but this was due to shoulder surgery. What are they going to do test me using a mouse or reaching for phones or patient lists? Who knows? I’m 90% sure that it’ll be absolutely nothing, but there’s that 10% that is unsure.
Then again, if EHS doesn’t clear me, the year of not working and getting paid will continue!
One week from today I will be back at work and less than a week until I say goodbye to my sling!
I called my doctor’s office with the plan of getting the names of some recommended physical therapy places and to find out if I can start PT the day I get rid of my sling. They gave me the name of a place not to far from where I live so I called them to get the ball rolling with insurance, etc. Unfortunately, they called me back later today to say that they accept my insurance, but not my plan. Back to the drawing board tomorrow.
I also finally dove into my work email. I’ve checked it a few (or more) times since being away, but I decided it was time to actually start responding to a few since I needed to email my boss about next week. 200+ emails later… No fires that I have to deal with at least.
This afternoon our buzzer rang and I actually got up to answer, which I don’t usually do (unless of course I’m expecting someone) and it was a delivery for me! One of the doctor’s offices that I work for sent me this lovely gift box of assorted teas. So sweet!! There was a great selection of herbal, black and green teas and 2 types of loose tea (with the little strainer thing). I’ve never used loose tea before, but it’ll be fun to try out. The fanciest flavor is decaf chocolate hazelnut – just sound delish!! The place they got it from is close to work so I know where to go if I want/need more. I’m not in the mood for hot tea these days…but I could definitely go for iced tea!
so many different kinds!
No one told me that after having shoulder surgery I would have problems sleeping. I wish they had.
Maybe I should have guessed it because I am a side sleeper…but I thought that I would still be able to sleep on my left side since surgery was on the right side. It doesn’t work though because my arm hangs slightly and is uncomfortable for a short while and then starts to just hurt. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from trying it most nights.
I’m just not a back sleeper. I’ve tried some tricks though: putting a pillow under my knees makes it a little more confortable and I can halfway lay on my left side and lean against another pillow so that my arm/shoulder is supported by the rest of my body. Both of those only last so long.
I also used to be the type of person who falls asleep very quickly. I lay down, close my eyes, then fall asleep. If it took more than 5 minutes, it was a rough night for me. Also, I would rarely wake up in the middle of the night. Now it takes me awhile (closer to 20 to 30 minutes or more) to fall asleep and I wake up at least once in the middle of the night. Yes, I’m going to bed later and sleeping later than usual – but that doesn’t justify waking up at 3am for no apparent reason.
I’m optimistic that once I get my sling off and I start physical therapy that I will be able to go back to sleeping on my right side. And I have tried it, but it’s way too painful. Maybe in a few weeks…
I had arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Friday June 8th for a torn labrum.
I had to be there at 6am so my mom and I left my apartment at 5:40 and caught a cab downtown. The NYU Outpatient Surgical Center is relatively new and shiny. I checked in, filled out my paperwork and was quickly called into pre-op. My vitals were taken and I changed into my gown, etc. The anesthesiologist spoke to me and initialed my shoulder. My mom came back to keep me company. Then my doctor came in, I signed consent and he initialed my shoulder. Soon it was time to go to the OR.
I laid down on the bed where it was nice and warm and I was all covered up with blankets. The fellow or resident circled my doctor’s initials and the nurse put it an IV which soon was filled with Valium. They did a nerve block so I was numb from beginning of my collarbone all the way to the tips of my right fingers. I turned my head to the left and they rubbed something on my collarbone to use the ultrasound to inject the nerve block and that’s the last thing I remember.
I woke up in the PACU (recovery) and was a little disoriented but feeling no pain. The nurse came over and got me sitting up and brought me water and graham crackers. Then she got my mom and took out my IV and I went for a short walk down the hall. My mom helped me get dressed and then off we went to get a cab to go home. Well, with a brief stop at CVS to fill my percocet prescription.
The nerve block wore off about 3am the next morning and I was in the worst pain I’ve ever felt. The next few days were filled with percocet but every day I felt better and I stopped taking the heavy drugs on day 4. My post op appointment went very well – with a new xray and the removal of the plastic bandage. Then I got to see what my wounds really looked like. Pretty amazing actually.
The most exciting part was being able to finally shower when I got home from the surgeon’s office!
I’ve had issues with my shoulder for last 20 or so years ever since I first partially dislocated it. I’ve had x-rays, physical therapy and seen doctors about it, but everyone agreed that it wasn’t a big problem and just keep the muscles surrounding the area strong and you won’t have too many problems – but it might be something that we need to address in the future.
That time came in April.
While I was in Africa, I went on a 5 day safari and was able to take a surf lesson in Jeffrey’s Bay, which is one of the best surfing spots in the world. During the lesson I managed to reinjure my right shoulder. I knew it the instant it happened but it didn’t stop me from continuing on with my lesson. It bothered me but not enough to seek medical attention, just took some ibuprofen and tried to not do anything crazy. Since I’d had problems in the past with it, I thought it would go away in a few days as always.
A week later it was still bothering me. I had pain, decreased range of motion and decreased strength in my right arm. Of course, I’m right handed so normal every day life was being affected. I was able to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for the following week and figured he’d say it was a major strain or something and rest and it’ll be fine. I was wrong. He took an x-ray in the office, which showed nothing, but also did a physical exam and told me that I needed to have an MRI. He thought I probably had torn my labrum and I might need surgery. I didn’t expect him to say that – I was just so unprepared for that information.
I had the MRI the following week and he called me with the results the next day. He was right – an extensive tear of my labrum – which is the cartilage ring that surrounds the shoulder joint – and I had torn it from 9:00 to 12:00, so 1/4 of it. Surgery was a definite…but could it wait? Nope, the pain and my other symptoms would not go away completely without surgery. Yay.
Surgery was scheduled for 6/8 and everything went very smoothly. I would be in a sling for almost 5 weeks and then would have about 3 months of physical therapy.
I had arthroscopic right shoulder surgery on 6/8 to repair an extensive tear to my labrum. It’s been two weeks and I’m feeling good. The pain is minimal and my boredom level is increasing. I decided to start this blog to document my journey back to have a fully functioning shoulder and all the other things going on in my life.
Less than 3 weeks until my sling is off and then comes 3 months of physical therapy. I was pretty active before the surgery, so not being able to do everything I used to is frustrating sometimes…but I know it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Right now, my latest life plan is to become a nurse. I’ve had many life plans over the last 15 or so years…it’s just taking me a long time to figure out what I want to do. I have 5 pre-reqs to do before I can apply to an accelerated 15 month program to a BSN. Intense.
I love my job, but it’s entry level and I have no interest in continuing in this track because it gets away from one of the things I love the most about my job – the patient contact. I can’t imagine doing administrative things all day long – it’s just not for me.