Wed, 12 November 2008
My recovery from surgery (14 days ago on October 29, 2008) is coming along well. My doctor and physical therapist are both pleased with my progress. Though I still take it every six hours, I've reduced my pain medicine to its minimum dose, and I can mostly take care of myself at my own house.
Thank you for the many wonderful messages wishing me a speedy recovery. It's always great to hear that there are people who don't like it when I'm hurting. This little post is to give you a clearer sense of how things are progressing.
I spent the first week after the operation living with relatives. And even though I'm living in my own house again, they still have to come get me to take me to my physical therapy twice a week since it's against the law to drive while taking my prescription pain medicine.
My surgery was an arthroscopic procedure to repair a 'full-thickness tear of the rotator cuff.' I've learned that this is a very common injury. My surgeon does two or three of these surgical repairs every week. The rotator cuff is a sheet of tendon like material that covers the shoulder joint like a hood. But its not there to just to cover it. The cuff is structural. The portion of the rotator cuff in my arm that was torn was the part that curves over the top of the shoulder and attaches the upper end of the muscle which raises my arm, to the bones of my shoulder.
The surgical procedure involves placing two anchors in the bone, then using sutures to draw the rotator back into contact with the bone and roughing up the mating surfaces enough that they bleed and so can begin to heal back together. Later, the anchors will be absorbed into the body.
With stitches inside my shoulder, the things I'm not allowed to do mostly center around not raising my right arm. It's not enough to not raise it often. I have to not raise it ever. I have to protect my arm from moving in any direction that will tear the stitches holding the rotator together. To aid in this they gave me a sling to keep my arm in for a month or two. It's very lightweight, surprisingly comfortable, closes with Velcro and is completely black. And since there might be a danger of rolling onto my arm while sleeping, I'm not allowed to sleep in a bed. I'm required to sleep in an easy chair.
I am extremely right handed, so normally my left hand doesn't know how to do anything. But I'm learning how to eat and brush my teeth and even use a computer mouse with my left hand. I've also learned that by pushing my keyboard back a foot or more from the edge of my desk, and then resting the entire weight of my right arm on the desk, I can type. But I can't lift my right arm from the desk since that is very painful and might tear the stitches. Instead, I have to lift the entire weight of my right arm with my left arm.
Another learning experience involved voting. I'm an American, and the U.S. General Election was just six days after my operation. So I sat in the passenger seat of the car wearing my hospital robe and with my arm in a sling and my head full of medicine while my 72 year old mother walked inside and brought two pole workers out to me with a computer tablet style voting machine. I may have spent less time at the poles than anyone in America that day. We were there ten minutes.
I still don't know how many weeks my show will be on hiatus. One more week, maybe two, we'll see. In the meantime, I will try to keep you up to date as to my condition. One last note: December will be the show's three year anniversary. I'll see if I can't come up with something special. Bye for now.
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT