My right shoulder has been giving me grief since April. Not so bad during the day but pretty awful at night. I have no idea what I did to piss off this particular body part. It’s probably just protesting 60+ years of having to do right shoulder things. In any case, once it became apparent that I couldn’t cure myself with liniments and potions and strategically placed pillows, I sought professional help. Wherein I was put through the medical wringer. I had x-rays, which never show anything unless your arm is hanging by a thread. An EMG test, where needles are placed in your arm to determine how your nerves are conducting electrical impulses. (It’s not as fun as it sounds.) I did a dozen sessions of PT, which helped with my IT band problem in 2018, but to which my shoulder said pfffffftt. Time and money evaporated while my physical therapist applied ice and electrical stimulation (kind of nice!), and had me pull on stretchy bands, tug on pulleys, do stretches with a cane, and pedal a bike with my arms—all to no avail. Then I had a couple of cortisone shots—which made a difference only briefly. I had high hopes for those shots. Finally, finally, finally, insurance bestowed an MRI upon me, and I heard the angels sing. Well, whadda ya know, there are torn things in said shoulder. (Ironically, the insurance company thinks that they are saving money by allowing an MRI only as a last resort, but you will note that they’ve now paid for an MRI PLUS a million other things, so the cost-effectiveness of this approach escapes me. But what do I know.)
I was making slow slow progress towards getting this pain figured out, when my orthopedist, who I really liked/respected, informed me that she was leaving town. GAH!! Was it something I said?!?!
So then I waited for a referral. Meanwhile, my shoulder continued to picket and protest and make loud pain speeches while I tried to sleep.
In early December, after becoming a phone pest about the logy referral process, I was seen by the new guy who is very nice and well-reviewed. You have two options, he said, “Live with it, or have surgery.” So surgery it is.
[Audience participation portion: Try saying “shoulder surgery” three times fast. It’s hard. Or am I weird?]
So I’ve been scheduled for arthroscopic surgery at the end of February. There’s a chance that the rotator cuff tear isn’t too bad and can simply be reinforced with a piece of cow Achilles tendon that’s apparently all the rage these days. (Who knew?!) If they can go that route, recovery should be quicker than the expected 6-8 weeks.
This weekend, it started dawning on me how much I do with my right arm, and ohmigod, I better start training the other side of my brain/body to start pulling its weight. Especially when it comes to writing. Which is my favorite and most necessary right-handed thing. I enter the following into evidence:
I’m feeling a little (a lot, actually) panicky at the thought of not being able to journal, make lists, jot down quotes and ideas, and write letters—especially since I’ll be home for a spell with plenty of time on my hands.
What’s a girl to do??!!
This girl is trying to teach herself to write with her LEFT HAND. Day one of what I vow will be a daily practice commenced yesterday.
The clock is ticking, but I’m starting over, like a kindergartener learning to form letters for the first time. (An interesting observation—my WHOLE BODY feels tense after I write a single line of letters.)
Is there hope? Has anyone else done this?
Stay tuned for regular updates.