Friday, January 22, 2010

The Butterfly Circus

Monday, January 18, 2010

Recovery Part 1

Well, it has been nearly 8 weeks since my rotator cuff surgery. I thought I would take a minute to share some of what recovery has been like.

On November 27 I had my surgery. For all I know, it went well. I was asleep when it happened, so I really can't comment on how the surgery went. That being said, I can say everything seemed well. The hospital staff was great and took really good care of me. They were very good at telling me everything that was about to happen, except the nerve block part. My nurse told me the anesthesiologist was coming to tell me about it and then administer it. Unfortunately, how it went down was that this guy came in with some kind of space aged weapon that was about 2' long and had a laser sight on it. He then told me to turn my head as he shot me between the neck and the shoulder. It hurt like crazy, then... I can't feel my shoulder. I can't feel my elbow. I can't feel my arm. I can't feel my hand. I can't feel my fingers. WOW that thing works well!!!

After that most everything becomes a blur. I remembered two very funny guys picking me up and wheeling me to... Then I remember waking up.

I know Andrea drove me home, but I can't remember much of the rest of that day, or the several days that followed. I remember her talking to her friends on the phone. Apparently, they were encouraging her to get me on pain meds as soon as I awoke. This was a good thing in a way, as I remember that it was pretty painful. I wonder, though, that they were more encouraging her to give me pain meds in order to have a break from me by keeping me drugged.

If the latter was the case, it didn't work very well. I found by Sunday morning that I was having an "itchy" reaction to the Perkicet that I was prescribed. It was so bad that I was completely unable to rest. Imagine for a moment that you can't keep your eyes open. You are sitting in a chair. You are in pain. You might be in twilight, but, all of the sudden, your skin is on fire, and though you can't keep your eyes open, you are using a back scratcher (affectionately named "Scratchy") to scratch everywhere on your body! That is what I was feeling.

So, Sunday marked the end of pain meds. That led to the coming down. As I mentioned before the only place to sleep after such a surgery is my chair. Well, on said chair is a foot rest. The only problem with said foot rest is that the handle is on the right side. The problem with that is, according to my paranoid, coming down off big pain meds mind, is that, "if the house catches fire, I will be unable to get out of the chair!" So began several weeks of sleeping with the combination of Lazy-Boy and piano stool.

There is another chair in my life. This chair slowly moves my arm up and down. It has been a helpful therapy tool. For four hours a day I sit in this chair and slowly "row my arm to recovery."

Two weeks after surgery I attempted to go back to work. This was DUMB! No matter how bad the economy is, I was not ready, or able to work that soon after surgery. Call me a wimp, but I just couldn't do it. I had no stamina. It was near impossible to get in and out of my car that many times in a day. The seat was not wide enough to support my shoulders. Yup... Too painful.

This was where a great thing happened in my life. My boss noticed that I had a large bank of sick days. I was able to take the entire Christmas week off, the entire New Year week off, and an additional week off. I have to say that this made a huge difference in my recovery.

Over these weeks off I started therapy. This has been the hardest part for me. Though I have been in my recovery chair, my shoulder has frozen in several directions. That being said, most of my therapy sessions involve a lot of either E-Stimm, or Ultra Sound treatment and a lot of stretching. I have done a lot of hard work, but the results have been minimal. I have about 90 degrees rotation in several directions, but that comes with a lot of pain, and there is no further pushing that can happen at this time. I also have less than no outward rotation. Since this is the most visible of the three directions I have been measured on, it is the most fun at parties (LOL). Seriously though it is weird to see. For your own visual, imagine the following. Place your arm down at your side. Bend your elbow to 90 degrees. Now have someone place one of their hands on your elbow, holding it in place, while taking their other hand and grabbing your hand, pull your wrist outward. Mine literally does not move.

Though this has been challenging, I have been working as hard as I can. I am not allowed to move the arm on its own, so I am doing all of the assisted stretches I have been prescribed. Everywhere I look I find an opportunity to stretch. Sitting at the table??? put my arm out in front of me and slowly lean forward. Lean forward and let the arm hang out. Swing it from side to side. You get the idea.

I have noticed that everything takes longer with this shoulder brace on. A shower takes about 20 minutes. Getting dressed takes about 10 minutes. Getting my seat belt on has taken about one minute, but has improved with the help from my family. Driving has become slower due to the fact that I only have one arm to steer with and I have become more cautious than ever. Eating is an obvious challenge where two utensils are needed. Hugging is challenging as are a number of other things.

That being said, I see the doctor today. I should get the okay to go back to work. I am also hoping that I can get the okay to get out of the shoulder brace. I will be able to live if I can't get out of the brace. I am just hoping that I can.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Photoshare Zoo Winter

Zoo, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

I am shooting with one working arm, a monopod, a broken shutter remote that I just bought, so some of these might not be very good. That being said, I did get a few good ones that you can see here:
Detroit Zoo in the winter

Monday, January 4, 2010

More New Year Awesomeness

Travis Pastrana is amazing! It doesn't look like much, but he launched a car 269' on to a freighter!