Recovering- 1 week on the shoulder, almost 3 weeks from losing Trinity.

This post covers what was done to my shoulder and to say that the prayers worked with my IV.

Dr.William Taylor Hill Jones did the best IV with just ONE stick and the perfect cocktail of drugs so that I wasn’t even the least bit nauseous. Dr. Werner Brooks must be pretty good at shoulders too as the post-op pain is not as bad as I mentally prepared for it to be after reading other blogs. I won’t know for a few months on how my shoulder is really doing but I like him and so far I’m pleased with my surgery. I still forgot to tell him about all the people I know who are also happy with his surgical skills.

Dr. Brooks said everything went well and I should have 100% use of my shoulder. Today is one week and even though I know surgery would make it hurt worse for a bit it’s a little discouraging when the ache is larger than it was and the when a sharp pain hits they still stab me in the same places. I know how my back knots up… and it has but the muscle spasms all along my arm, back and neck were quite the surprise.

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3-14-18 Surgery day: Dr. Jones got my IV in one stick and my vein held through the entire surgery. He used the numbing spray and novocaine that others said I couldn’t have because my veins couldn’t be found if they did.  Now before he came in I wrapped hot blankets over both arms and I drank a ton, I mean a ton of water the day before. Dr. Jones listened and he heard me about the needles being the worst part for me. I didn’t know until I got there that they needed to do the nerve block before I was out. He told me I really did want it. I told him to ask me again after he made me loopy because the thought of more needles then seemed less appealing than dealing with the post-op pain later. They made me so loopy for the nerve block that I don’t remember a thing other than asking for a lot of whatever the drug was. Then I was back awake again, still in holding with a deadened right arm.

I remember trying to will my arm to move and the only way it would is if I walked it up my body with my fingers. Then that movement was gone too. Dr. Brooks came in and said something about the surgery before me taking longer and he ordered the cortisone for my left shoulder to be done while I was out. Love it when a doctor hears your concerns.

I had raised my knees up to take the pressure off my low back and nurse saw that and without a word raised the bed up for support under my knees. I thought that was nice. My IV was dripping for like an hour and I wasn’t groggy when they took me back from holding to the OR. My elbow and side were all wet. I know mine was set for 9:30 and it was 9:50 when I scooted myself to the cold hard OR table. Made me think of all the medical shows we watch when they move you on the count of 3.

Someone in the bright OR asked why I wasn’t groggy and seemed a little irritated that my IV was leaking and had been for awhile down my arm. I told him I told 2 people.

Then I woke up. No nausea. Still in a gown. Hubby helped me get dressed and I we came home. My mom was there before and during the surgery and followed us to the house after she picked up my pain meds for us. I sat at the table and talked with her. I was expected horrible pain. I wasn’t in pain and I wasn’t sick. I had made chicken noodle soup the night before and the warm leftovers felt good on my throat that was a little sore from the breathing tube.

Nerve blocks are a totally weird blessing. My entire arm was numb. I read I might get a nerve block for my shoulder but it never occurred to me that my entire arm would be numb, hot and swollen and that no amount of will could make a finger move. Sometime the next day I could close my hand into a fist but couldn’t open it. It had been tingly since we left the hospital but it really just hung there useless. I’d already bumped my arm a little coming thru a doorway. The next day when the hospital called I told them it’d been 24 hours and I still could just barely move a finger she said to be careful not to bump it. 🙂 Part of me liked the numbness because I knew it’d be better than pain but when you go past how long they say nerve blocks typically last and you still can’t feel your hand in the back of my mind I started being ready for it to wear off for fear it wouldn’t. They said if it wasn’t back by the next morning to give them a call. Actually, my left shoulder that had the cortisone flare going on hurt the most initially before I started the pain meds for my right shoulder- well until the block wore off. Arthroscopic surgery really is amazing.

I left the hospital with a sling. I had already bought one before and especially while my hand was dead weight I preferred mine because it was just a tad longer and my hand had room to lay in the swing instead of hanging out the end. They had told me to start the pain meds the night of surgery but I didn’t have feeling back in my arm until about apx 36 hours later. Then it hurt but it wasn’t unbearable. Not as bad as when my rib head displaced and stayed that way for days with total back spasms or a migraine.

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On Friday I could take a shower.  I think they should amend that to say if you can feel your arm you can shower. They said to use the sling but I wanted less material so I could soap and rinse better. Hubby cut me a piece of cotton and tied it in a circle that I could put over my head and over my arm without covering as much of me in the shower. The bandage was HUGE. The tape went up my neck, onto my chest, way down my shoulder blade and into my armpit area. That is one sticky tape too! They said to use lotion to get the sticky off. I put some on the tape and let it sit a bit on sensitive areas before trying to pull it off. It still took my skin with it. Baby powder worked better than the lotion and all the sticky residue was far from the 3 incision and sutures. I just poured out some powder on a tissue and touched it to get some on my fingers then rubbed the sticky tape residue into balls and pulled them off before my first shower. My first (and second) shower I really missed our larger shower from the last house but I was thankful for the help even if 2 people in that space was really tight. I felt unstable when I closed my eyes plus the help holding the sprayer in the right spots was helpful. I’ve hit the wall above the shower with water while trying to get it water sprayed under my bad arm. I couldn’t move my right arm enough to was my left side so I got help with that too. I had some sort of tape right over the stitches but the ends were sticking up so hubby trimmed them a bit (above the knots) so they wouldn’t catch in my clothes as much. Those 3 bandages came off completely by shower 3.

The ache area is larger than before. It extends around my entire upper arm, my shoulder blade, my collarbone and up the right side of my neck. The sharp pains are in the same places as they were before and it takes less movement for them to stab me. I also have quite a bit of popping and cracking in it. A little more than before the sugery. I watched a video and ouch.

What I did not count on (in addition to my collarbone hurting) were the muscle spasms, and muscle twitching mostly because I didn’t read of anyone else having this problem. Those are in a lot of places and even extend to the left side at times. My right bicep and right shoulder blade seem to be the jumpiest and the knots are on the top of my shoulders at the base of my neck. My bottom right rib hurts but there is no way to have it adjusted right now. I have to keep telling myself to relax my darn shoulders. Then next thing I know I’ve tensed all back up again. Relax. Repeat. I’ve been taking the sling off as much as possible at home. One it squishes my right breast because for some fool reason they thought a lot of material above your bent arm was needed and two it hurts my neck. If they were going to have extra material there anyway- least they could do is add a cell phone pocket. Another oddity is my tinnitus is screaming on high.

I took less prescription pain meds than prescribed. Switching to mostly ibuprofen during the day and an Aleve at night. Mornings hurt the worst from laying in one spot. I don’t know how anyone could get addicted to those. One, it’s not a “high” and two- how do they ever go to the darn bathroom. My sister in law brought over her homemade supper yummy chicken casserole and she even made hubby with celiac something he loves too. A dear friend gifted us Netflix streaming too which is a terrific gift. Thank you Paula. Turns out it’s was a welcomed gift even though I signed us back up for Netflix DVD’s because even though I know I had the seasons in order in my queue they skipped ahead and sent me a season 4 bypassing the rest of season 3 so a week was wasted in returning the wrong ones and waiting on the correct ones. I called they said it was out of order in my queue. Know it wasn’t. What great customer service.

I had to wait until my follow up today to get all the details. I like details! I left a list of questions with my hubby to ask the doctor and apparently all 3 had a laugh that I would leave a list of questions.

 

3-21-14 At today’s follow up I learned that the small focal high-grade partial rotator cuff fraying tear on my supraspinatus was cleaned up, debrided but no stitch as I was told it was more of a wear and tear and not my biggest issue. I read afterward in his notes from before surgery, after the MRI that a “high-grade tear“and when I looked that up it means it is a tear involving 50% of the tendon thickness. So I would think that wouldn’t be wear and tear and would need a stitch but maybe that is not what he found during surgery.  I wonder if it was normal wear and tear for a 47 year old female or normal for someone who unloaded furniture weekly for 15+ years and physically helped build houses a few times. I know from what little sewing I can do that it is easier to mend a pair of jeans with a small tear than after the tear has become a gaping hole and there is nothing left to sew together so I’m not really sure why he didn’t stitch it while he was there especially since I told him to fix all he saw because I was only doing this once.

I had tendonitis of my rotator cuff. The labrum was a fresh tear, but it was lower than it is for a SLAP (superior labral tear from anterior to posterior) lesion. Dr. Brooks had told me before surgery they no longer repair a SLAP tear with sutures because the stitches caused a problem down the road and that they move the bicep to make it quit pulling on the labrum so it can heal on its own. My tear was in the front of the labrum, but not up high. From reading on Google some may call that a Bankart lesion. A torn glenoid labrum can lead to partial or complete shoulder dislocation. Based on this website and where the doctor pointed I would say he said it was between 3 and 6 and it would be a Bankart tear. Dr. Brooks called it a superior glenoid labrum lesion– I don’t know the type/level.  It was on the front and he did put a stitch in that tear.

I had 2 bone spurs. One on the acromion (bony part of the scapula/shoulder blade) and one at the AC joint near my clavicle. He removed those and took part of my clavicle away…. which probably explains why my collar bone and up my neck aches. He called it a clavical distal resection or resected. Removing the bone spurs and part of the clavicle should help with the impingement.

Out of the 4 things mentioned before surgery, the only thing he said he didn’t see was evidence in was a problem with my bicep. I really thought it’d at least be bicep tendonitis because it hurts at the top and bottom of the bicep and has since I carried the entertainment center. He thinks it was radiating pain because he said my bicep tendon looked okay. I forgot to have that pointed out in the photos.

I was left with PT to do at home. I am the kind of gal to follow thru with it on my own and it will save money for us and our insurance. He gave me a list of exercises and resistants bands and told me to start the next day. He stressed to do them but not to overdo them, gave me a few movements not to do, and to call back if I wasn’t progressing or progressing slowly and he send me to a physical therapist.

I go back in 2 months. I forgot to ask about things like sleeping on my right side, picking up a jug of milk or even heavier Tyler, vacuuming, driving, making the pouring motion like to fill my coffee pot that hurt before, throwing my camera backpack on and finding waterfalls. I think I’ll start with going back to litterbox duty. The only thing he said not to do yet was reaching my hand behind my back like to fasten my bra or taking my arm past 90 degrees from my side.

Hubby has done dishes, cooked, cleaned the litterboxes, fed Tyler and taken care of me.  I’ll just use common sense and do stuff in moderation and stop if the pain is too bad.

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Just an odd note- it snowed some the day of my surgery and then again today on my follow up. If it snows again at my 2-month visit that would really be something.

I’ll be updating my shopping list as I see how I use things I bought. Here are my other post about my shoulder https://kimberlyhmaxwell.wordpress.com/tag/shoulder/

 

Missing Trinity and seeing the hard time Tyler is having are proving to be much more difficult than the surgery and recovery. The shock of her death since we had no clue anything was wrong is setting in. I find comfort in how peaceful she looked and hope she was asleep when it happened and was not in pain.  We just all miss her and it just feels so different than an impending death from old age or an illness. There is no way I can pick up my 16-pound cat and hold him like I have been. He is taking Trinity’s death so much worse than I would’ve thought he would. I guess everyone human or animal grieves in their own way and in their own time.

My heart hurts more than my shoulder.


3-23-18 If y’all are up to praying my pain level yesterday and today, after going from “don’t move your arm at all and use the sling” to doing resistance band PT on the 8th day after surgery, is really pretty darn bad. I’ve got a text into the doctor’s office to make sure we heard right because this is the most pain I’ve been in so far. Like as in right now I wish I wouldn’t have had surgery.

I’m thinking following “don’t use your arm at all and keep it in the sling” should be something easier like pull up your own pants, brush your teeth, wash your own hair or pendulum hanging movements with the bad arm before jumping right to resistance bands.

Heard back from the doctor. He said to Stop resistance bands and not to start back with them for 2 weeks. I have instructions for limited use like as in how far to not move my arm and to just do the pendulum for now. That makes a lot more sense to me. Hope I didn’t do damage doing the bands on day 8 after surgery. I know the pain level skyrocketed for 2 days.

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2 thoughts on “Recovering- 1 week on the shoulder, almost 3 weeks from losing Trinity.

  1. AuthorJoePerroneJr

    “It feels like deja vu all over again,” (to quote the late Yogi Berra). Dr. Brooks did my shoulder, too! Just be sure to follow the rehab instructions to the letter and be diligent. You’ll be fine. (I think you have a nicer looking shoulder than mine, for what it’s worth . . . lol) 🙂

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