Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So what have I been up to?

inside shoulder


Note that the white stuff at the top is not attached to the pink ball at the bottom. This is known as a torn rotator cuff. The surgery reconnected the two.

To make it all easier, I received a nerve block on my right arm which gave that old "its 1968 all over again" feeling just like when I broke my right elbow. When I came out of surgery I had no feeling in my right arm and could not control the muscles, just like after my bicycle accident. It was a disconcerting 24 hours until the nerve block wore off. I got good drugs for the pain including a Stryker Pain Pump which was implanted into the incision. The Pain Pump fed some form of 'caine into the surgery site to block much of the pain for two days after the surgery.

By the Sunday following the surgery the maximum dose of Vicodin wasn't knocking back the pain, so I had to supplement it with the maximum dose of Ibuprofin. That did the job until my stomach got upset. One thing that made it possible to sleep at night was the piece of durable medical equipment that my surgeon insisted on to handle icing the shoulder. He ordered a Blue Arctic Cryotherapy System for me to "ice" the shoulder. All I had to do was to load the little cooler up with ice, fill the ice with water, turn it on, and it would keep my shoulder at 40 degrees all night. I still use it the evenings/nights after the torture of my physical therapy.

I've been back to work for three weeks now, have been through three sessions of physical therapy, and can raise my right arm up to about 8 o'clock when making snow angels. I have cut back on the medicine so that I am only taking it to sleep.

This leaves my right shoulder in constant pain during the day, but as I said before the surgery, I was already in constant pain during the day, so what's the difference?

My current level of pain is not that much worse than where I was before the surgery, so I might as well do without the pain meds. I know that pain meds are supposed to help you heal, but by working myself to the limit of the pain I can endure and knocking back the inflammation at night, I have been progressing faster in my healing that the physical therapist expects.

I have been living with this problem for twelve years as an irritation to both my shoulders and for the past three years as an annoying pain in my right shoulder. We kept taking X-rays to check for bone spurs, but it wasn't until I had to sit up in bed to roll over (due to the shoulder pain) that I asked to see an ortho surgeon. The MRI then showed that I had a 3/4 inch tear in the rotator cuff ... the rest is history. Now I just need to heal.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

Great, informative post. Your readers might be interested to know that numerous studies have indicated that pain pumps, which are often inserted into arteries after surgery, can cause severe damage to cartilage, especially in the shoulder. This can cause a condition known as Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chrondrolysis (PAGCL), which causes severe pain and requires significant medication. If you believe you have suffered as a result of a pain pump, such as On-Q and Marcaine pumps, or you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. Learn more and obtain a free case evaluation from the renowned law firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer at www.shoulderpainpumplitigation.com.