What I learned In Rehab

My post op nurse taking advantage of my inebriated state.

My post op nurse taking advantage of my inebriated state.

No,not that kind of rehab. Physical rehab. A week ago I had shoulder surgery. I’ve had a torn Labral tendon for a while now and bursitis.  I’ve been telling the world, it was the result of saving a horse from a terrible fall and I thought it was. The truth turned out to be not quite that heroic. The surgeon got in there and found that the damage was a result of over use and maybe, and I mean maybe a few sports injuries from when I was a kid.  Mostly, it’s a natural degeneration of the tendon over a lifetime.  The bursitis, just bad luck I suppose. So, I’m not a hero. Just falling apart a bit.

The Doc said in his office the procedure was no big deal. As he walked into pre-op   and there I lay with an IV hanging off my arm, a pain block needle just having been extracted from my neck and fresh from having been told they would be putting in a breathing tube, I questioned his definition of no big deal.  He said “the procedure was no big deal for him. It’s an easy fix.  Not so much for me though.” He clarified that indeed this was major surgery. That it was going to hurt for a while and it would be a long road back.

I woke up in an immobilizing sling. My arm clamped into one position, it was pretty unclear to me just how long I was going to be in this thing and what exactly lay ahead for rehab.  Earlier, a nice fellow had come by with my prescribed “cold machine.” A unit complete with 6 feet of tubes that pumped constant cold water into a pack that was part of the immobilization rig. Deeee-lightful. I looked like a defective astronaut that they picked for a suicide mission.

My 3 day stay on the couch. Thank you fat Chargers fans, or I would have had no wardrobe.

My 3 day stay on the couch. Thank you fat Chargers fans, or I would have had no wardrobe.

The first few days were really bad. Very painful, lots of painkillers and pretty much propped up on the couch hooked up to my machine, wearing cut up XXXL San Diego Chargers tee shirts and watching football.  Now I like football, but after watching 4 games in a row on Sunday, it was getting boring.

Well, it’s a week later, after a post op visit to remove the surgical wraps, getting some exercises to start my rehab, I’m feeling a lot better. I’m out of the rig and into a sling. I can sort of use my right arm again and I had my first pain free night last night.  So, after shaking off the cobwebs, I can gather my thoughts again and let you know what I’ve learned. As always, as in life, so it is in business.

1. Have great people around you. Without Adrienne taking care of me through this, I’d be dead.  I didn’t have to look around for help, ever. She was always right there anticipating what I needed and pushing me to get better. She’s the best nurse, and dead sexy.

2. Do your research.  My doctor is great, he’s the orthopedic surgeon for the LA Kings and the Olympic Volleyball Team. He’s great at fixing you. He also works with pro athletes that know when they get hurt and need surgery, it’s going to be a big deal. What I realize now is that it was my responsibility to know just what was coming, not his to spoon feed me.  The internet was right there, I could have Googled “just how bad is this going to be?”

3. Do the work. The past few days, I have really pushed myself. Making sure I did my rehab without fail or excuses.  I have over done it a few times and gotten wiped out. But, I’ve found the right pace now and and am getting steadily better.

4. Be thankful for the experience and grow from it.  I don’t take as good care of myself as I could. While this injury wasn’t necessarily connected to not taking care of myself, if I exercised much more regularly and watched my diet better than I do, perhaps I would have been more in tune with my body and felt this coming much earlier.  Maybe even avoiding surgery all together.

getting better

getting better

Well that what I got right now.  A new year starts and though a bit gimpy, I’m fresh off a great life lesson and ready to start anew.

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