Monday, September 29, 2014

Getting better, slowly but surely


"Absolutely ridiculous" is how I'd describe some of my behavior over the last two months.  Unfortunately, not "absolutely ridiculous" in a great, fun way.  I thought I'd be the exception rather than the rule, I'd get shit done, this surgery wouldn't slow me down.  I was so wrong.  Over the last two months, I've gotten so very little done.  My behavior has ranged from pathetic to really pathetic.  Nearly two months post surgery, I'm still in pain, still exhausted.  Three and a half months after my initial injury, I've slept very poorly nearly each and every night.  The pain is normal, the lack of sleep is not only normal but expected for at least another month.  Recovery from surgery is three to six months and full recovery is one year.

The good news is that I stopped taking pain meds ten days ago and within the last seven days, I've stopped crying hysterically for little to no reason.  I only cry for pretty good reasons now.  I've been exercising more, walking mostly.  The best news is that nearly SEVEN weeks after surgery and nearly total immobilization of my shoulder, I am in physical therapy and out of the stupid, sweaty, stinky sling.  I can do a little more than before.  Sweeping and mopping the floor is not excruciatingly painful.  Cooking and cleaning up after cooking is still very awful.  Thank you deli section and your rotisserie chicken!  Thank you Sam's Club and your gigantic, mixed, organic salad.

Did I mention that we moved from one coast to the other three weeks after surgery?  Yes, we moved from Punta Gorda to Vero Beach.  Vero is lovely.  We are close enough to the beach to go often.  There are grocery stores near our home.  The community has more to offer.  Our new neighborhood is new, nice and quiet.  There are few children (no offence people with kids!) but it's not a retirement community or, like our last neighborhood, hospice community.

I'm still taking, what I consider, a shit load of hydrocortisone.  I'm starting to wonder if my thyroid meds are too high, sigh.  I have no doctor here.  How does one order labs when she has no doctor.  Yes, I will call my PG doctor but do not have high hopes.  If he will not order the labs, it's time to make appointments, wait and interview doctors and then see if they will help me. Sigh.  Just thinking about setting up an appointment is taxing.

Well, I'm going to go take a nap.  Enjoy the pictures from Vero Beach.



Vero Beach sunrise

Vero Beach

Vero Beach, here comes the day

Vero Beach

Vero Beach, graffiti



Saturday, September 20, 2014

I can pull my underwear up with two hands

Yeah, pulling your underwear up with two hands might not sound like a big deal.  It is.  After six weeks of pulling my underwear up with one hand, it's a thrill to easily slide them up and on.  I can nearly reach my left arm pit with my right hand (without propping the right hand up on something).  Progress is happening.  Slowly.  Very, very slowly.

This shoulder surgery has been the hardest thing I've ever done.  It may even be harder than being undiagnosed with adrenal insufficiency.  I have become virtually useless, short tempered, my mind doesn't work, each and everything I do takes twice as long, my driving is dangerous (stick shift and a useless right arm), constantly exhausted and on the verge of tears at all times.  I have been humbled.  I am so dependent upon others (STILL) that it's not even funny.  I nearly burst into tears if I'm in the grocery store and someone helps me empty my cart on to the belt.  Every night, I'm thankful to fall asleep and not have to need anything or wish I had help doing things.

Sleep is another matter.  Since I hurt myself on June 20th, I've rarely slept well.  Each and every time I turn or move, the shoulder lets me know and wakes me up.  I haven't slept on my right side in three months.  For the last six weeks, I have only been able to "sleep" on my back.  Ugh!  

Each day, I wake up hopeful that it will be better than the last.  I hope that I will accomplish something.  I wish, each and every day, that I had someone to put my hair in a pony tail so I look like less of a wreck. I am hoping that the circles under my eyes are not permanent.  Each day is getting incrementally better for the most part.  The pain has lessened.  I am allowed to be out of the sling.  I can use my hand and forearm more.  The right arm, even if it's out of the sling, does not work well.  It hangs limply by my side or is tightly held against my chest.  I can only walk about a half mile with it out of the sling before it gets very uncomfortable.  Sigh.  

Physical therapy starts Monday.  I will fall into another ring of Hell.  I have been told by several people, including an ortho friend,  that shoulder physical therapy is very painful.  I like opiates and all but, damn, I'm tired of them.

I wonder, if I had known how awful this time post surgery would be, would I have had the surgery?  Would I have opted for being slightly disabled?  Time will tell.  I hope that this arm works once I've regained strength and range of motion.  I really hope that all this mental and physical pain was worth it.  

Perhaps I need to show more gratitude?

I have been getting out and walking on the beautiful beach.


I've been spending time with my sweet bird, Keiko.



The view out the back of the house is amazing. I have really been enjoying it.

Sandhill Crane

Amazing view out the back windows

I'm also thankful for my husband for putting up with me.  Thanks to Jim S., Yogi and Molly for texting/Facebooking me every day with great stories of the things they are doing as well as support and encouragement when I need it most.  Thanks to Milissa, Donna, Allison and my mom for the late birthday presents.  I love getting something in the mailbox when I least expect it.  Thank you, Bonnie, for the cards.  Thank you, Heather, for the funnies that appear in my inbox with regularity.  Thanks to everyone who is sending good thoughts my way.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Three week post surgery update-weakness

Last week, I went to Tampa for my follow up.  Lots of talking ensued.  The doctor was impressed with my shoulder.  He gets paid the same if he puts in one anchor or six.  He put six in my shoulder.  Some people can take their sling off at four weeks, not me!  I have to wait six weeks.  Some people can start running at two months, not me.  I have to wait three because I had such impressive damage.

He told me I'm allowed to walk as much as I want.  I asked him what my limit was (anyone who is an ultrarunner knows this is a very reasonable question).  He couldn't come up with a number as no one has asked him that question before.  His biggest concern for me was that I walk on a treadmill inside so I don't grow fungus in my armpit.  At the moment, I'm not capable of walking.  It's too painful and my energy level will not permit it.  We are in the middle of moving and packing and cleaning one armed is sucking the life out of me.  Next week, I begin to walk long distances!

I do want to sneak in here that I am streaking still.  I didn't tell the doctor.  I'm at day 913 of my one mile a day running streak.  I am running carefully, nonbouncingly and minimally.  Mentally, it has saved me.

Speaking of mentally.  I'm doing crappy.  I wouldn't say I'm depressed but maybe I am by some definitions?  I am tired and frustrated.  I had such big plans for post surgery.  Play games, catch up on emails, read and hang out with friends.  None of that came to pass.  Mostly, I stared at the TV once I found a position that was not painful.  I was unable to focus or concentrate enough to finish anything at all except switch TV channels.  

A couple of my friends have gotten very, very mad at me for not being who they needed me to be and for me not doing what they needed me to do and especially for me not behaving the way THEY thought I should.  I am sorry.  I have nothing to give right now.  Nothing.  A few people have asked how I was doing and when I said, "Bad" they just carry on and tell me how great everything is with them.  The vast majority of people have been so kind and wonderful.  They have gone out of their way to cut me slack, make me laugh, offer me advice and listen to me bitch.  For that, I am eternally thankful.  It's not fun to be weak.  It's a lot easier accept the quality of weakness when I'm treated with kindness.

Back to packing and cleaning.  We are moving out of this house in Punta Gorda on Friday and to a new home in Vero Beach, Florida.  I will miss my friends here!  I will miss the birds!  Don't worry, my husband has hired muscles to move boxes and furniture. For once, I will not have to carry heavy shit!!!

Thanks again to the friends who have been so wonderful and accepting of me and my current situation.  Thanks to my husband for making dinner each night.