Monday, March 19, 2012

Things I have learned from having shoulder surgery

1. Your shoulder is involved in virtually every movement you make - head, neck, back, arm, core - everything. Ok... I really realised this 9 months ago when I got the injury but these past 3 weeks have made this excruciatingly obvious. Things like getting up from a chair (or the toilet!), going up/down stairs, or bending to pick something up are all little daily challenges. However, I am developing new skills to help out. I can now pick up a hairbrush from the floor with my toes... note, dropping things is not good! I can also put off a light switch with my foot, tie knots with my teeth, and pliƩ (ballet style) to bend, sit, or stand up.

2. Buttons, zips, laces & drawstrings on trousers are a bad idea. Tight fitting leggings do not work either as pulling is impossible and attempts to wriggle or shimmy out of them are even more impossible. Loose sweatpants with an elasticated waist are the best solution. Underwear - not important!

3. Also currently unimportant - showering and hair washing! With my super sling/brace/pillow permanent attachment showering is impossible. Baby wipes are fantastic. I do not smell!

4. Eventually hair washing becomes a necessity. After much discussion and consideration, I managed this with a high stool, shower head attachment, kitchen sink and my mum! And LOTS of towels (I cannot bend or hunch). To avoid repeating this mess too often, Tresseme has a great dry shampoo. And I love hats.

5. Pillows are my favourite thing at the moment. I have 13 on my bed holding me in place while I sleep since I still can't lie flat. I take them in the car with me. I took them into restaurants pre-surgery to support my arm. I even had two full-size pillows on the flight over here before xmas... hopefully by the time I fly home that won't be necessary!

6. Borrowing the recliner from a friend was such a good idea. The hospital recommended sleeping on one at first and some of our friends organised this and put it in the house while we were in Kentucky. I am so grateful for that! For 2 weeks I couldn't get into bed (even now I have a stepstool beside the bed to climb in. Very posh-Victorian-lady-style! Although maybe not so glam with a metal stepping stool...) The recliner is still the only place I can sit comfortably during the day... with 5 pillows.

7. Shoes and socks are impossible. I can't reach my feet, never mind pull on a sock or shoe! I love my Ugg slippers.

8. Shoulder surgery hurts. Funny people keep telling me that NOW. (Not that I really had a choice in the matter, I needed fixed.) My Dad said his rotator cuff surgery was worse than his hip surgery. The nurse said this procedure is one of the most painful the orthopaedic surgery centre deals with. The receptionist at my doctor's surgery (who had shoulder surgery) said I won't be glad I did it until after about 4 months. My physio says the shoulder is the most complex joint and the worst to injure. So it still hurts. But it's pretty important, so getting it fixed and doing the therapy is worth it.... I hope!!

9. I can't survive without my Mum. She is fantastic, brilliant, amazing, super, awesome, terrific and just fan-dabby-dozy. But I knew all that anyway.

Mum & me in Kentucky the day before my surgery

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