Good Surgery

*Warning: might be a little graphic.

In 2003, I destroyed my left shoulder in a fall.  It was December and there was ice.  I was getting into my Isuzu Rodeo when I lost my footing and began to slide under the SUV.

After two months of wearing an immobilizer and doing physical therapy it was decided I had to have surgery to fix it.  They said it would take an hour.  However, once they got inside they realized why my shoulder hadn’t been healing on it’s own.  My rotator tendon was fine, but it was the only thing.

I tore all the nerves, all the ligaments, all the tendons on the under side near my armpit.  One of my tendons had to be reconnected to the bone.  And I had damaged the ligaments and labrel tissue so much that my shoulder would slide in and out of socket on command.

My surgery took close to 3 hours and they had to use a ton of fluid to keep it all apart while they worked on it.  I learned 2 things from the experience; even with MRIs and CT Scans and X-Rays they can’t see everything on the inside of the body and that sometimes once they are inside they get a surprise.

Tuesday afternoon, my husband had shoulder surgery.  They thought he might have damaged his rotator tendon as well as some other problems.

The surgery went well for which I am grateful.  And it wasn’t as extensive as they thought.  The rotator tendon was fine.  But there were other problems that the doctor told me if they hadn’t have fixed them Tuesday, they would have had to fix them in the next year or so anyway.

My husband is a mechanic, lots of repetitive motion and the job is hard on the body.  His labrel tissue was not good.  It needed lots of shaving to remove the frayed bits.  He has pretty intense arthritis in that shoulder, it is his dominant shoulder after all.  The arthritis was causing calcium to build up on his collar bone.  Arthritis coupled with bursitis is incredibly hard on a joint… even on a macho man like my husband, who would never admit to having either arthritis or bursitis.

The collar bone was putting pressure on the back side of the shoulder joint it had elongated so much.  The excessive bone and calcium had to be ground off.

He also had a problem with his biceps tendon.  It was detaching from the bone on his arm.  They cut the tendon from the arm bone, drilled a hole in the bone and stuck a pin in it, reconnecting it to the arm… They then stuck sutures over it.

I’ve gotten to see the highlights of the surgery already and what I realized is that in just 14 years (my surgery didn’t happen until February 2014) the video capture has gotten incredibly better.  Watching the video of your surgery is pretty much mandatory unless you have a weak stomach or run the risk of fainting.  Since I’m fine with it, I have now gotten to watch mine and watch my husband’s.

His nerve block worked, which means that well into Tuesday night his hand and arm were numb, which I am grateful for.  Nerve blocks don’t work so great on me and when they did my shoulder surgery, it didn’t take effect.  I woke up in pain in the recovery room.  Lots of it.  I’m glad the first 20 hours or so, my husband didn’t have to suffer through that. It seems like a small thing but the first 12 hours or so after surgery are some of the worst.

I have no doubt that once the nerve block wears off, he will be miserable, but at least he is going to get one good night’s sleep before the pain really kicks in.  But as I write these words, he is sleeping fairly soundly on the mountain of pillows in our bed.  I managed to not have to sleep in a recliner after my surgery.  My cousin’s husband had the same surgery just a year or so before mine and as a result, they were able to give me tips on how to sleep.

My husband doesn’t sleep very well in a recliner, so if we can keep him in the bed, it’d be better for him.  I and the two dogs have moved into the spare room while he recovers.  I couldn’t have shared a bed with even Lola after my surgery.  Kelly is a little more aggressive in her quest for love and attention… right now she seems afraid of his sling (no immobilizer thankfully) and bandages.  It would be okay if she stayed afraid for a couple of days.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the recovery!



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