Better ‘n Better Day by Day

San Diego – I truly want to thank all of you who have sent “get well” wishes to me over the shoulder surgery.  It is still hard for me to type but that is due nearly as much to the restraining nature of the complex sling they have me in specifically to keep me from using the shoulder muscles until they are quite sure that the soft tissue damage of the incision is repaired and that the “stem” of the new shoulder ball, now inserted into the upper arm bone, has properly affixed itself to the inner shaft of the bone and will not come loose as I rotate and flex that joint.

It has been quite a ride, quite a journey, from the constant and sometimes excruciating pain of my old worn-out shoulder through the psychedelic days of heavy painkillers to now.  The pain killers, though in much reduced doses, keep the pain at bay until I forget to keep up the regimen and go too long between medications; so my perception, aided by better living through chemistry, is one of being relatively pain free.

The moments of reality come when, for example and as happened the other day, I respond instinctively to a falling object and reach out suddenly with the left arm to catch it in spite of the sling.  I can tell you without fear of contradiction that reality rears its ugly head with incredible speed and force on such occasions to remind me I should REALLY not have done that.

The situation creates moments of profound and deep psychological and emotional agony for me when I am required to have help doing such everyday and personal tasks as getting dressed.  I could simply lay around in my P.J.’s but I’m not good at that and my mind is in a better spot when I look and feel ready to see people.  But for days I wore sweat pants because I could not button my jeans and it is still very difficult to pull them up and fasten them and a belt.

I have been wearing oversized T-shirts because I cannot, by myself, put on a normal button front shirt.  I had to have help the other day putting on a vest and then taking it back off.  Verbose as I can be, I utterly lack the words to tell you how much of a problem that is for my psyche.  I just hate it… hate it hate it hate it hate it!!!!

Once the surgeon is confident of the strength of the joint and the strength of the repaired muscles and tendons, then Physical Therapy will start in earnest.  Meantime, near terminal cabin fever has set in.  I have always had a very low boredom threshold but that line was crossed some time ago.  I cannot type two-handed, and cannot drive without risking damage to the repairs so am disciplined sufficiently to not attempt to violate those overly much even though in my mind I could do both at least a little.

Writing this for example has required an interesting approach.  One handed I peck out a roughly phonetic shorthand version of what I want to say.  Then I go back and painstakingly edit/proof that to render it into at least marginally acceptable English.  A ten-minute note such as this can take hours spread out over days.  That means that though I am sitting here with lots of time on my hands, creative and serious writing is nearly out of the question.

But, as indicated in the title, each day seems to be getting a little better.  After all, tomorrow will only be the second week since the surgery.  It is my hope that by next week I will at least be able to type normally at a computer and get some work done.  And maybe soon, very soon, will be able to head out to see if I have forgotten how to use my cameras to capture a wily image somewhere.

I’ll keep you posted…


About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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1 Response to Better ‘n Better Day by Day

  1. Adam Johnson says:

    Wow, you had a total shoulder replacement? That’s not just a tune up that’s serious business. Sounds painful but you will be back to your old self soon enough. About the boredom let me throw out an idea, I just stumbled upon somebody who had been doing macro landscape scenes of 1/10 scale frontiersmen. I thought maybe if the cabin fever was bad enough you could “construct” a landscape out of available foliage in your yard – moss, tiny flowers, twigs, pebbles, whatever you may find (maybe even a plastic dinosaur?). That could potentially kill a chunk of time during the day.


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