Sunday, December 6, 2009

Surgery Jitters

Hi all,

It's been a good long while. I seemed to have fallen out of the blogosphere and let real life take over for some reason. Don't know exactly why.

So I have this problem shoulder. It's about as trustworthy as me actually following through on my new year's resolutions. I dislocated it AND injured it about 18 months ago when I fell into a rock bed in the middle of the night trying to get to the outhouse on a youth campout. Since then it has been playing games with me. It's very clever.

For example, a year ago it popped out of the socket and I endured five days of serious pain until it was finally put back. It was so far out and had been so long out that I actually had to have general anesthesia in the operating room to get it back in.

I was finally starting to trust it again because it had been behaving so well for an entire year! Then last month it decided to pop out again while I was exercising. See what happens when I try to be good and exercise? I wonder why I even try.

There I am doing the squat machine. POP! "Uh, Lynnette, (my friend and exercise partner) I have just located my shoulder and we need to leave right now and got get it put it back in."

Lynnette drove me to the doctor's and waited with me for nearly two hours until Dr. Mortensen was available to put it back in. By the time she had to leave Darren was there to watch and support and go for pain meds. We thought all was well. While taking an ex-ray to be sure in was in the right place, it popped out again. Dr. Moretensen prescribed some Lortab and said he'd be back in an hour to get it back in--which he did.

An MRI a few days later showed that the ligaments around the Labrum (the socket that holds the bone where it's supposed to be) are all ripped and torn and floating around. We opted to have surgery to repair it in January because it was just going to keep on coming out. I wanted to avoid being laid-up during the holidays.

So last Sunday I was leaning on the bench at breakfast and it popped right back out. "Ha, ha, ha, aren't I funny?" it seemed to say. This time I had to go to the ER to get it put back in because it was Sunday and Dr. Mortensen was probably teaching Gospel Doctrine at church. That took most of Sunday morning. We opted to move up the surgery since the likelihood of it dislocating again randomly was HIGH. Read: dangerously high.

I could just see myself ripping open a gift on Christmas morning, and ripping my shoulder right out of the socket if we didn't take care of it sooner. I didn't want to spend Christmas day in the ER.

People are treating me like a china doll at home and work. My students at work ask me why I'm not wearing my sling. People run to open doors for me. They ask if they can carry things for me. This is nice, but I feel like an old lady. The next thing you know they'll be shouting because they think I'm hard of hearing.

So, Wednesday I go under the knife, whoops, I mean scope. I get to come home the same day if all goes well. I get to wear a sling day and night for 4-6 weeks. I get to have two months of physical therapy after that. Along about April I should be back to normal, though it may be more like June.

I've never had surgery before, but I'm not worried about the surgery or subsequent pain. I am good at dealing with pain. I can tolerate a lot of pain. I had three out of four natural childbirths! (Sorry that was totally irrelevant, but I just needed a brief self-esteem boost!) I am worried, however, about wearing a sling for four to six weeks. I am worried that I will not be able to bear that burden.

It might help to think of some pros in this situation (if there are any). It might be nice to relax before Christmas and just sit around the house, and not run around all crazy and insane. It will be nice to have family and friends available to help. And of course the sooner it's done, the sooner my life goes back to the way it was before my injury. That's a plus.

Lessons I've learned from this:

1. Never get up in the middle of the night to use the outhouse when you are camping with teenagers, not even if you think the dam's about to burst OR FOR ANY OTHER REASON.

2. If you must go, camp right next to the outhouse.

3. Never go to a youth conference that involves camping.

4. Never decorate above your cupboards by pulling yourself up to get stuff up there. Bo-ing! Pop goes the shoulder!

5. Never decorate higher than you can reach.

6. Never decorate.

7. Never do the squat machine at Curves. Only do machines that work the lower body.

6. Never exercise.

7. Never get an ex-ray immediately following your shoulder reduction (put back in the socket procedure).

8. Never lean on the bench during breakfast while you are reaching for a napkin.

9. Above all, never think you can outwit, outmaneuver or manipulate your shoulder in any way. It is going to do exactly what it wants to mess up your life.


Kirstin said...

Ellen, I am so sorry about this turn of events for you this close to Christmas! The things we have to endure! I hope they can finally fix this and put an end to the problem, though. Best of luck, let me know if I can do anything. I'll call when I go to Costco if you need anything...

Lynsie P. said...

Darn it! I'm sorry, Ellen. I'm sure you're there now. I'll be praying for a speedy recovery.

Suvi said...

Ellen! Good luck with the surgery! I love the lessons that you have learned from it already :)