Broken Wing Update: 10 Days Post Surgery

Percocet causes selfies.  Just say no.

Top photo:  Frayed Bicep

Bottom photo:  Anchor

So surgery went well, they tell me.  I have no idea since I don't know what's going on in there.  I'll trust their judgement.  They found a few more things to add to the list, if anyone is keeping score.  Apparently I really fucked my shoulder.

The new list:

  • Full-Thickness Supraspinatus Tear
    Status:  Repaired
  • Full-Thickness Labrum Tear
    Status:  Repaired
  • Bicep Tendon Tear and Severe Fraying
    Status:  Frayed section removed
  • Bicep Tenodesis (Now shortened bicep tendon anchored to humerus)
    Status:  Complete
  • Acromion Process Bone Spur
    Status:  Removed

All done through four little incisions.  Pretty amazing.  Or maybe just a sham.  I'm not sure yet that they did anything.  Again, I'll take their word for it.  Regardless, what I do know for sure is that I can't use my shoulder to move my arm at all, even if I wanted to.  There is currently zero strength/activation happening up there.  I'm fine with that, seeing as how it needs time to heal and form new attachments before I go jumping the gun and trying to rip out all of the repairs.

The first five days post surgery were quite a bit more miserable than I anticipated.  Besides the impossibility of sleeping with this sling on, the medication made me extremely nauseous.  I couldn't even sit still and work on the computer for more than an hour or so before the blue light from the screen caused me to start feeling sick.  It only took a few days of this before I removed myself from pain meds entirely.  I feel an overall soreness in my shoulder now, but nothing I would categorize as pain.

At this point I'm doing much better during the day, but sleep is still an issue.  It's been an issue for me since I can remember, but this is an added difficulty.  I'm going to be taking some measures to try to improve my sleep, so we'll see how that goes.

The shoulder has wavered back and forth between a sickly yellow/green and a nearly flourescent yellow.  Today it looks like the yellow is fading and some slightly darker bruises are starting to come through.  I don't know if that's progress, but it's change that my body is making on its own, and I don't think I've done any more harm, so I welcome it.

I've now been to two physical therapy sessions, and I'm thankful that my PT, Tami, is a climber and understands where I need to be in the end.  That may be the norm in Boulder, but out here it's a pretty rare thing.  I'll have her easily available for advice afterward as well, so I'm lucky.

It's going to be a few weeks before therapy involves anything more than Tami moving my shoulder to the edges of its very limited range of motion.  I'm glad it's her moving it, because I tend to protect it at all times, often not even letting it fully rest in the sling, so I would never be able to put it into the right positions right now.  By my second session, I had learned to relax quite a bit more, so the range of motion was already increased a little.  I have noticed that I'm rapidly regaining confidence in moving my lower arm, at the elbow.  Moving my elbow through full extension to full flexion was a little terrifying at first, but has become a several times a day routine now.

Baby steps...

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