Sunday, November 3, 2013

Shoulder surgery postop follow-up

I'm almost 6 weeks out from my arthroscopic right rotator cuff surgery. Here's my post about the first part of the journey.

I'm feeling much better. I can now remove the sling while I am sitting. It has to be on when I'm walking, and I still have to sleep in it. It's a bulky thing that prevents me from moving and possibly damaging the healing tendon repairs.

Sling selfie
You can see that I can't raise my arm or move it too close or too far from my body.

Tendons are not as sturdy as ligaments, fascia, or even skin, so they must be given a lot of time to heal. Excess active motion could disrupt the repair. That would be bad.

The problem is that the immobilization causes the shoulder to "freeze." It quickly becomes very stiff. At my physical therapy sessions, the therapist passively moves the arm into places the shoulder does not want it to go. Passive motion does not stress the repair. We go for more range of motion at every visit. It hurts. I'm also doing some carefully selected exercises at home every day.

Some funny things have happened. The other night I dreamed I was playing tennis. I was hitting the ball really well, but I kept thinking, "Mary (my wife) is going to kill me if she finds out."

Last night's dream was about me standing in a large group and explaining over and over how I hurt myself, what the surgery was like, how long the recovery will take and on and on.

I don't need Dr. Freud to help me interpret those dreams.

Later on this week, I'll be able to discard the sling and even starting driving again. The physical therapy will continue for a few more months. I hope to be back to full activity by February.



9 comments:

Kennith Coleman said...

I've went under the knife several times for various things and I think it will make me a better physician one day (currently an MS-II). Good luck with the rehab!

Justin Hensley said...

For the record, you'll want to put something on your shoulder. Otherwise, everyone will assume your surgery was somewhere on your forearm, and give you a good natured slap on the shoulder. Those hurt like a mofo.

artiger said...

Hope it's not as painful as it looks. Be sure to keep up the PT work; I'd hate to hear that your serve has gone flat.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Kennith, thanks and good luck in your career.
Justin, you are right. That has already happened to me a couple of times.
Artiger, don't worry, I'll be back better than ever.

Anonymous said...

Good luck and get better soon!

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Thanks. So far, so good.

Katherine Mocks said...

I'm glad to hear about the progress of your recovery! Hopefully with regular therapy, the stiffness will go away soon. The immobility can definitely be difficult to deal with, after all.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Thanks, Katherine. Improvement is slow but quite evident. I have a long way to go though.

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