Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bumpy Ride - Surgery #2 Complete

Second surgery in two weeks is now complete!  Hopefully this will be the last update to my blog relating to the "Wow What a Ride!" injury reports, as I'm happy for this part of the bumpy ride to be over.  
Last Wednesday, June 29th (15 days after the installation of a steel clavicle plate on my right arm) I went back to have a "full thickness" tear of my rotator cuff and labrum repaired on my left arm.  The procedure went well but the post-surgery pain has been without question the most excruciating I have experienced in my lifetime. It was far worse than the post-op pain the week of June 14th after eight screws were drilled into my right collarbone.  After six days now, the ache and throbbing on the left side is finally subsiding to a point where I have been able to reduce the potency and dosage of the pain medications. Thank you Lord.  

What has also been an interesting first-in-a-lifetime experience for me has been the harsh realization of the difficulties functioning without the full use of at least one arm. With the brachial plexus injury to my right arm at birth, I have figured out a way to do most things with my left arm. Now, with both arms seriously impaired I am HOSED ...at least I would be without Denise to feed me, help me get dressed, go to the bathroom, shower, etc.  The best way I can describe this is to imagine (or even experiment) putting both hands in your pockets and see how many times you would be forced to take one or both of them out (or ask somebody for help) in order to simply get through your day! ...or perhaps even 15 minutes of your day!

The good news is that I am slowly regaining the ability to do some of the aforementioned things on my own, and I have been training my right arm and hand to perform certain tasks I have always done with my left. Unfortunately the rehab and recovery time for a rotator cuff surgery is a long one, so I won't be driving for at least 12 weeks - that's right 3 months of Denise's taxi service and interesting Uber drivers.  Full recovery can be up to 6 - 9 months. As a result it will likely be some time before I am able to make another post about an exciting climbing adventure, which by the way I am convinced is a much safer activity for me than skiing or mountain biking!  

Thank you for all of the healing and encouraging words, I appreciate them immensely and send you many positive wishes in return.
For those of you interested in the science and mechanics of a modern shoulder arthroscopy, I found this short animation to be educational and pretty cool to watch. In my case I had three anchor screws and five sutures, also done by Dr. Warren Kramer using Arthex products (like the collarbone surgery on June 14th).