Actually surgery was last Friday and I was home by 5 PM so recovery has been going on a while now! And I believe everything is going really well!
The doctors quote was "I can't believe you were able to do anything! It looks like a bomb had gone off in there!" The good news was the rotator cuff tear was not very significant at all and all he did there was trim up a little of the torn part. The labrum tear was really large and shredded up. And the bicep tendon was torn pretty badly too! So he reattached the labrum and severed the bicep tendon, reattaching it lower on my shoulder. Additionally the bone spurs needed a lot of work.
With the nifty nerve block they use I had no pain at all until about 3 AM on Saturday. But Saturday night and Sunday morning was full meds!! Maximum doses of Oxicontin and hydrocodone as soon as they were due!!! Sunday afternoon I stopped the Oxicontin. And now I'm only taking one hydrocodone at night to sleep plus acetaminophen every four hours.
Folks shoulder surgery is no joke! Far and away the most painful surgery I've had with the exception of the open knee surgery where I spent five days in the hospital.
Probably the funniest thing that has happened so far was when the battery went dead on my TENS unit . . . A device that sends stimulating shocks into your muscle to supposedly reduce pain and a healing. (actually I couldn't tell if it worked or not!). But anyway the 9 V battery went dead and I got the new one to replace it. Just as soon as the battery touched the contacts a "super shock" went into my shoulder and I couldn't get that freaking battery out fast enough! Later I read the unit instructions that warned me to turn the unit down to the lowest possible setting before replacing the battery! Yes maybe I should've read the instructions first! Connie and I both just couldn't quit laughing!! At least I didn't pee myself!
Monday I had my first physical therapy session. As you can imagine it hurt quite a bit during the session but the pain reduced during the day! Everyone says that physical therapy is the key to reduced pain and a quick recovery so I plan to be as aggressive as they will let me be! But since he had to release the bicep tendon and reattach it I cannot use the bicep muscle at all! I think this limitation will be for 4 to 6 weeks but I'm not absolutely certain yet!
Update - I just had physical therapy #2. The session was great and I'm now moving at 100% of my four week maximum. Oddly they do not want me to remove my arm from my sling by myself nor do they want me doing any exercises except under their supervision. They said the doctor's restrictions are very limiting and they would be afraid for me to go and try stuff on my own. It was amazing how much better I felt after physical therapy!!
No matter what . . . I plan to follow the advice of my surgeon and my physical therapy. I promise I will not be pushing the envelope!
Godiva President's Column for March
1 month ago