A Shoulder To Cry On

Loyal readers are no doubt sputtering at that headline, wondering how on earth I am going to segue from “A Shoulder To Cry On” into a discussion on pretzel-thoughts, which I promised last time I would discuss this time.

Well, I’m not going to. You’re going to have to wait a week for that scintillating discussion, maybe even longer.

Depends on how good the anesthesia is.

See, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, the bone doc, Doc Z., is going to pin my tendon back on to my rotator cuff so I can use my right arm again without rattling the roof rafters with my screaming. And that little bit of surgery is all that’s on my mind right now.

“Pin” is not the correct medical term, of course. I believe he will actually sew it back on, a technique I never quite mastered, despite two terms of home economics classes in seventh and eighth grades at Grover Cleveland Junior High School, the same school where I was taught to dance the hula and square dance.

Along with Vicky L. and Kathy R., I was quickly identified as a H.E.H. (home economics hopeless) and forced to sit in the kitchenette closest to the teacher, where we scorched the toast, burnt the broiled grapefruit, spilled the tea, and generally lived up to our potential.

When it came time to switch over to the sewing half of the course, we were faced with the task of making a wrap-around skirt. I chose a trendy denim fabric, and stared at it helplessly for several class sessions, measuring out my pattern pieces again and again. Even Vicky L. was ahead of me. I never did sew the buttonhole; I just punched it through with the scissors and let it go at that.

It was worse in eighth grade, where the normally shy and sedate Sandy B. led the rebellion to make an A-line skirt and weskit (very trendy) rather than the normal jumper (very fifties), leaving all us H.E.H. in a panic. I didn’t even try. I gave my fabric to my first-cousin-once-removed, who gave it back all sewn up. I didn’t care. I managed to hold my head up high when forced to trot across the stage in the mandatory home economics fashion show. I wore the hated stockings but refused the makeup. I have my limits.

So I can’t blame M.S. or the stroke for my inability to sew, sad to say. But I can blame both for the shoulder surgery. Without M.S., I never would have been taking BrainScar, the drug we all (tacitly or not) blame for the stroke I had in August 2011. And it was either M.S. or the stroke that caused me to stumble and fall up the stairs that night in September that tore apart my rotator cuff.

Rotator cuffs can fall apart all on their own, because they are used for so much. They lie deep inside your shoulders, underneath all the muscles and bones and tendons. They’re kind of like Grand Central Station for your arms. Move your thumb? Gotta go through the rotator cuff.

One of the last things I did this week was have a tooth fixed. I found out that my dental hygienist is recovering from rotator cuff surgery, caused by years and years of cleaning people’s teeth. Poor Laurie!

It takes months to recover, lots of physical therapy, with and without physical therapists. Fortunately I already have found some good P.T.’s. I was working with them on this shoulder until we decided that the pain wasn’t getting any better and an MRI was needed to see if the rotator cuff was in fact torn.

Answer: Yep.

So a week after the surgery (just long enough for all the anesthesia to have worn off), I’ll return to the physical therapists to start the recovery process.

I’ve been trying to picture what sort of bandaging they’ll wrap me in after this surgery. The doctor was a bit vague about what sort of incision he was going to do: arthroscopic, he said, but then opening it up a bit, waving his fingers around in the air as if that explained it all, assuring me that he would also remove the arthritic matter that was in there. Seventy minutes, tops.

So I figure either a little Band-Aid, like you can get at the supermarket, or a two-by-four strapped across my shoulders with a roll of duct tape. I’ll have to go through doors sideways and carry a beeper for when I back up.

In either event, it won’t be me rattling the rafters anymore. And for that I am very happy.

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5 thoughts on “A Shoulder To Cry On

  1. That’s an extreme way to go about getting out of Thanksgiving duties. I wish I’d thought of it.
    I hope it’s not unbearable. This year, I’ll be thankful that you can still write such entertaining posts, despite the never ending struggles. I’ll also be thankful that Hannah never had to make an A-line skirt.

    • I don’t know how many more body parts I can sacrifice for CF’s family. I’ve had migraines, a stroke, and shoulder surgery on major holidays already. I might have to give up a kidney next just to entertain them. I’ll tell you, this West Coast lifestyle is rough.

  2. Pingback: Do, Ti, La, So, Fa, Mi, Re, Do | Who stole my brain?

  3. Pingback: Poof! The Magic Dragon! | Who stole my brain?

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