A year ago today I had my rotator cuff repair surgery. And I've got to say that it was a really good call on my part. I had been in pain for years before I decided to have the repair done, and now, I don't even think about it for the most part. I don't have to do a cost-benefit analysis before I pull up the covers any more, trying to decide if it's worth the pain to use my right arm to pull them up, or whether I should roll over to lie on the right side and grab with my left hand instead, or if I should just scooch down in the bed. I don't have fantastic range behind my back, but that's on me because I didn't work it enough in my recovery. I wasn't a freaky-deaky noodle person like Paul even on my best day before the surgery, so it's not really a loss.
My scar is not very noticeable, see?
I don't get a lot of sun because I'm super-sensitive and burn very easily, and that probably helps keep the scar blending into the pasty-white expanse of shoulder. :-)
I wish I had waited another couple of weeks to go back to work after my surgery, because I think I pushed it too fast, but all in all, I'm doing great now. It's amazing to be able to reach for things! :-)
I went to see Dr. Latshaw today, for my second post-surgical followup visit. I told him that my physical therapy brutes said he did good work and that I'm recovering well. My range of motion is great, and he gave me thumbs-up to do whatever I can do. The risk of re-injuring it at this point is very remote. I won't be pull-starting any lawnmowers at any time ever, but I've got a clean bill of health and don't have to go back to see him again unless I think I need to. He says I've graduated! He also called me young, which does me good considering I've had another birthday this week. :-)
I am also phasing out of my physical therapy and into home exercises only. I have another week or so of PT, and then my PT brutes will be history. Good deal!
I really am feeling good for the most part. I get my twinges here and there, but my baseline is pain-free, which I can tell you is a big improvement over before surgery (and post-surgery, too!).
Sleeping is getting somewhat better as I heal. I take a 50-mg Tramadol before bed, along with my regular Benadryl, and it enables me to sleep on my right side a little bit. My doctor didn't want to give me too strong a pain killer for bedtime, because he didn't want me to sleep on that shoulder so long that I damaged it. It helps, but I'm still not getting as much solid sleep as I'd like. I guess it'll come, too.
I really wish that I'd requested 10 weeks of disability instead of 8. My shoulder was pretty much healed and moving pretty well at 8 weeks, but the sleeping problems really made going back to work for a full day difficult at first.
It's a lot more difficult to get my morning and evening exercise sets done now that I am back working again. :-( I have a new stretch that is supposed to be done in bed, though, so that is definitely workable! Good times, folks. Good times!
My forms for the Intermittent FMLA have been received back from my surgeon's office and faxed on to my disability insurance company. This keeps me from getting in trouble at work if I have to miss time due to PT or painful shoulder.
I thought I had to be doing something wrong for it to be hurting so much, but Paul said we can just drop that one for now. Maybe as I do my other stretches, I'll loosen up enough that I can eventually do that one successfully. Probably it's because I spend too much time typing on one keyboard or another, ya think?
I got to use the rubber dong (heh) at PT (otherwise known as TheraBand FlexBar), in addition to more exercises with the stretchy elastic thingies. Paul worked me like a rented mule today, but I am happy that I can do so much more than I was able to just a week ago. I got some weight added to my front and side reaches today; I guess Paul thought it looked too easy. It was, too - I was chatting to Doris while I was doing them. All-seeing, all-knowing PT brute.
I've been having quite a bit of discomfort overall this week, but I still think I'll be able to pipe icing this weekend, and I've promised my PT brutes some of the cupcakes that I'm gonna be baking! So it looks like there may be some Blog Overlap Syndrome, as I'll have to post about the cupcakes here, too! I will be making chocolate cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing, for Brandi's birthday. Also, before I scheduled my surgery, I had promised Nancy lemon cupcakes, but her birthday came in the middle of my disability. So I will bring some to work for Nancy, too. That'll be a lot of piping, but I'm pretty sure I can manage it if I take it easy. As readers of my other blog will know, I like my icing on the thick side, so it takes a bit of strength to pipe it. But it comes out so pretty!!
I was talking to a coworker about my surgery earlier this week, and it turns out that she's going to have to have rotator cuff repair on HER smart side, too. And she lives alone! I have learned a lot and will happily share my knowledge, but I don't know how I'd have been able to manage without my husband, stepson, and friend Gretchen. They all were so helpful to me, and did things for me when I needed it. I might be able to go over to Sally's after work sometimes and help her out around the house, if she'd like that. I don't know her all that well, but if I can help someone I like, I will try to do it.
I was a lot more sore after working today than I'd figured on being. I had 988 or 989 email messages to slog through, and slog I did. Something in my daily typing at work, moreso than my daily typing at home, requires me to reach across the keyboard with my right hand, and I got a little stab every time I had to do that. So I did not have a great day at work, and my human resources representative also gave some not-great news. I have FMLA, which expires in September, and I thought I'd be able to use random time from that to take off from work if I am in too much pain, or if I need to schedule physical therapy during work hours. But that was continuous FMLA. In order to have off any other time due to the shoulder, I have to fill out another claim for Intermittent FMLA, and have my doctor's office sign off on it. Fantastic. I really wish I'd known about that when I asked last week if there was anything else I needed to know about before coming back to work. :-/
I did get lots of really nice welcome back, and that made it all a lot easier to bear. :-)
I'm getting stronger, and am now able to lift my arm all the way up both forward and to the side. 3 sets of 10 reps each way! Next week, Paul says they'll add weights. My current extra miserable exercise is the doorway pectoral stretch. Wowwwwww! With emphasis on the owwwww.
I had a good day at PT today (no tears at all!), and have some changes in my daily exercise routine. Pulleys are now on an "as needed for stretching" basis, and I've got stretchy elastic bands instead now. Since I'm going to be working again, starting a week from today on August 20, I can't do my whole big set of exercises in the morning before I go. So here's what my new routine is going to be like:
Doorway/corner stretch for pectorals - 4x 30 sec
Leaning punch stretch (we're not too sure what to call this one. I stand by a doorway, put my right hand on the wall and then lean through the doorway to stretch) - 10x 10sec
Behind the back strap from hell, which is now the behind the back and over the shoulder strap from hell - 4x 30 sec
And then my band stretches:
Stretch both hands to chest (bending the arms) - 20-30x
Stretch both hands to pockets (not bending the arms)
Elbow bent pull out
Elbow bent pull across
At night, I will do all of the above, and add the following:
Wall pushups - 20x
Stick raising thing - 20x
On the back punches - 20x with 2-pound, hold 5 sec