The past three weeks after my shoulder surgery have been more than challenging, especially for someone like me who is very independent, loves to be outdoors, loves to travel to meet friends and has practically no patience with being unwell. Although I could do things like showering, dressing myself (albeit in unmovable-shoulder-friendly-clothes), combing my hair (inventing new hairstyles that need only one-and-a-quater hand to do them), washing and drying my hair (that I’m proud of), cooking meals, brushing and playing a bit with Jaden (not “wildly” enough to his liking though) cleaning the house etc. there were things that I cannot and am not allowed to do at all like driving (which means I am pretty much stuck at home) or lifting anything heavier than an empty plate with the injured arm…. And I had to wear my shoulder sling practically 24/7 removing it only for showering, getting dressed and for my physiotherapy sessions. The sling is quite large so it was quite a handicap and hinderance especially while sleeping.
Since the injury to my shoulder was more severe than expected and the surgery more complicated, it was pretty obvious to all (including me!) that the road to recovery would be a longer one. As the surgeon told me at my first post-surgery checkup, it wasn’t just one surgery that I had had, it was actually a three-in-one since I had three damaged points in my shoulder (the rotator cuff was damaged, I had what is called a SLAP Lesion 3 and my biceps muscle was nearly torn through).
Ever since the surgery, I have had weekly check-up appointments with the surgeon and started with physiotherapy in the second week post-surgery. At my first physiotherapy session, the therapist was surprised that my shoulder was so soft. Normally patients with a shoulder surgery have a very stiff shoulder and the shoulder blade moves with the arm when the therapist works with it. Not mine though , the therapist could easily work on mobilising the shoulder without the shoulder blade moving with it, which also means that it was a pretty painless experience for me. My visit to the surgeon that week had him commenting too on my soft shoulder. Since I had a slipped disc due to the shoulder injury and my entire neck and shoulder area was very stiff and painful for months before the surgery, this came as an additional surprise. My subsequent visits to the surgeon also showed that my shoulder is healing much faster than expected considering the extent of my injuries. It appears that the fact that I was doing a lot of things on my own, not just “sitting still” but being very careful not to lift the arm had been a huge help.
At my visit to the surgeon last week, he was so happy with the weekly progress that he told me if the trend continued, he would start with injections to build up the damaged tissue and cartilage this week plus he would “take away” my shoulder sling. My physiotherapist was a bit surprised on hearing this since the normal period to wear the sling after such a major surgery would be 6-8 weeks with a slow increase in periods without the sling.
So yesterday was my weekly check-up with the surgeon.
My shoulder continues to heal exceptionally well and so he started with the injections. And told me that I can stop using my shoulder sling.
No slow increase in periods without the sling, I can stop using it completely!! Yippee!! He did tell me very sternly though that I need to be very careful that I don’t overstrain the arm, to NOT lift the shoulder or move the arm beyond certain angles and to listen to my physiotherapist. But no more sleeping with the sling and I can even sleep on that shoulder now. To say that I am thrilled would be an understatement 🙂
I have decided though that I might use it when I am going out where it could be crowded with people since it is a sign for others that I have an injured shoulder, to be careful and not push or bump into me. Some people here do not believe in giving you your personal space especially when standing and waiting in queues 😦
I can’t wait to see the surprise on my therapist’s face when I see him tomorrow – although I am sure he will just smile and warn me too that I should still be very careful, take it slow and easy 😀
It is a weird feeling to be without this constant companion of the past weeks. The sling gave me stability and now that I’m moving around without it, I realise how much of muscle and strength I have lost in the arm (the surgeon had to cut out a lot of damaged tissue in the arm too). So I have to be extra careful but its a relief to have more space around me and of course to be able to sleep without it.
Since the healing is going so well, I now have fortnightly checkups scheduled instead of weekly. If all continues to go so well, I will be allowed to drive in two weeks time which will give me more of my independence back. I will still not be able to go out alone with Jaden on a leash since he is quite a handful, strong and not very obedient when he sees a rabbit or a pheasant! Cannot risk him dropping me or pulling the shoulder. And I still haven’t got the green signal to start jogging again…
I have always believed that one should celebrate special occasions and milestones in some small way at least. Unfortunately over the years I have not always done that because of some reason or the other. Since the last weeks were so challenging for me, especially emotionally, I have decided that this time I am going to celebrate each and every milestone on my journey back to health. So we celebrated with sushi for dinner yesterday!!!
I am very thankful for all the friends and family who have been praying for my healing, calling me and/or sending me loving wishes and messages. I strongly believe that they are the cause for this amazing and short recovery process. As I have mentioned before, I don’t have many friends here in Germany and most of them are a bit scattered over the place. Not being mobile enough to go and visit them has meant that the highlights of my day are these calls and messages, walks with Jaden, supermarket visits and visits to the doctor and physiotherapist (who thankfully are wonderful and caring people).
Since Bernd is traveling today, Jaden is at the kennel and will be back home tomorrow. I am pretty certain that he will think I can go back to romping with him wildly now since I am no longer carrying around that “weird and monstrous” black thing that keeps getting in the way of real fun and proper cuddles!