Monday, March 11, 2013

Feel Bad?? Keep Living.

July 2008

Have you ever had one of those days where you told somebody to do something, they didn't listen, and something bad happened? Then because they didn't listen they created a whole lot of trouble for you down the line. Aren't those days the worst? For some reason, I seem to have this happen to me a lot from a medical standpoint. I understand that I didn't go to medical school or physical therapy school, but I do know my body really, really well and only you knows your body best. On July 25, 2008 I was in my second week of physical therapy trying to get stronger from the capsular plication and biceps tenodesis surgery. While I was at pt on the 25th, I was laying on my back and my physical therapist at the time was working on abduction (moving arm out to side). Things were going okay, but when she moved my arm a little more, I felt a lot of pressure in the back of my right shoulder. I told her this, and I also told her to not move my arm anymore. Well, she moved it a centimeter more and POP! My arm went weak, and I felt a ton of pain just spreading over the back of my shoulder joint. I was crying and told her to get me ice. I was so mad. I just told her not to move my arm farther and she didn't listen. I don't know why when I say to stop sometimes, it seems to fall on deaf ears. Last time I checked, they weren't the ones living inside of my body feeling what I'm feeling. You can't treat every patient according to textbook; every patient is different and some have "special" circumstances. I don't get why there is such a disconnect sometimes. Like doctors, you need to find the right physical therapist for you. I am blessed to have found a really, really good one that I have been with for 3 years now.

Four days after the pop in physical therapy, I had an MRI and saw Dr. K a few days later. My MRI showed a possible loose stitch but it wasn't definitive. When I saw Dr. K he wasn't overly concerned. My gut was telling me it was something to be concerned about, but because Dr. K wasn't, I just continued going to physical therapy and tried working as hard as I could with the limitations that I had. Luckily that time of the year was super busy so I was distracted by other stuff just about every day. My parent's 30th wedding anniversary was coming up, so my siblings and I were planning a surprise party for them. We invited our aunts, uncles, cousins and some of their friends. They had no clue. August 12, 2008 was such a great day.

First off, when my sister and I picked up this cake, it was
the ugliest thing ever. It was white frosting with brown
icing; nothing else. As we were heading to the check-out
line freaking out about what we were going to do with this ugly
cake, we passed flowers. We decided to put fresh flowers
on it to make it look pretty.  

 My mom and dad

Come the end of August I was balancing school and physical therapy for both shoulders/shoulder blades. Fall 2008 I took anthropology, intro to bio, health, and intercultural communications; I still wanted to go into nursing. What sucked the most, was in order to stay on my parent's health insurance, I had to be a full time student. I don't know where to begin to explain how hard this was physically. It didn't matter if I would need surgery or not, I still had to be full time student. In the meantime, therapy wasn't going well in the least. I saw Dr. B in September and I explained to him what was going on. In addition to my right side being problematic, I told him my left scapula continued to give me trouble, I had something catching in the joint and I had the same biceps tendon symptoms that I had on my right side. When I saw Dr. B, he ordered an MRI; it showed I had a torn labrum and that there was nothing wrong with my biceps tendon. Dr. B wasn't sure why I was having scapular issues but going off of my word, he agreed to make an incision over the top portion and look. He also said he would do a biceps tenodesis on my left side like he did on my right. Surgery was scheduled for October 21, 2008

We've crossed over this bridge too many times to count.
It takes you over the Ohio River into Louisville, KY.
We always look forward to crossing this bridge because
we are out of Indiana. Once you get into KY it's so pretty.
October 2008

Knowing that this surgery was going to be more invasive and a major pain, my parents and I decided to drive down to Kentucky 2 days before surgery so we could have one day to have a "pre-surgery fun day". We went to Natural Bridge State Park. They have big hills that have various trails that you can hike. My parents and I decided to hike the trail that was closest to where we parked the car. Word of advice: look at a trail map before you start hiking; being the geniuses that we are, we didn't do that. So 3.75 miles later, straight up hill, and some sore muscles, we made it to the top!! All we planned on doing was going for a nice short leisurely hike. It was a wonderful surprise to find that there was a ski lift that could take us back down!!

My mom Karen, me and my dad Joe
My mom and I
My dad and I
View from the top!
October 21,'s surgery day...again. To make sure Dr. B looked at the right spot on my shoulder blade, I grabbed a good ol' trusty black pen and had my mom help me draw a line on my skin. I also drew on the front of my shoulder where I was having the biceps tendon pain. After that was done, we went to the surgery center. I had to be there at 10:00am. When I arrived, I found out they accidentally gave me the wrong time of arrival; I needed to come back at 1:00. Since I wasn't allowed to eat, we couldn't go out to breakfast. We did the next best thing...we went to the local Kruger grocery store to stock up on food for after surgery. Looking back, I'm surprised I made it through that store without eating anything. 
So back to the surgery center at 1:00. I had another new pre-op nurse. The 4 previous nurses I had all stopped by my room to say hello to me. It did not feel like I was going to be having surgery soon at all; the atmosphere was way to happy. With all the nurses in my room, we were talking and catching up with each other; it seemed more like a party. Soon enough our "party" ended and it was time to be wheeled back for surgery. Dr. B made his incision over the exact line I had my mom draw on me. Sure enough there was damage; a part of my rhomboid muscle wasn't attached to the bone so there was a "palpable hole". In addition to reattaching my rhomboids, Dr. B also did an arthroscopy to fix my labrum. Finally, he made a larger incision over the front of my shoulder to do the biceps tenodesis. Once again, my biceps tendon was moving back and forth like a windshield wiper just like on my right side; good thing Dr. B trusted me to do an open incision on the front of my shoulder as well as over my shoulder blade.
The car ride home was soooo much fun...not. It sucked. It is the longest 9 hours ever!

Sarcastic smile: yay the bandages are off, we are home & I feel great!
16 staples in the front

13 staples in the back.
Total= 29

In the movie "The Wizard of Oz" Dorothy says, "There's no place like home." This is very true. When you have surgery out of state, all of the little things that give you comfort are not there. Even though the peace and quiet is a wonderful thing, you don't have your own comfy bed, it's hard to take a shower because you don't have a "system" down, there are no neighborhoods to take a 5 min walk, and most of all, there are no pets allowed.

This is Daisy. She still lays by me to this day when I don't
feel good. Technically she is my sister's dog; however, Daisy
and I have a special bond. She is my "baby" and
my sister knows this :) 

Even when you don't feel good, not everybody knows this. The adults in my family know I don't feel good but my nieces didn't at the time. When the picture below was taken, they were 3 and 6. They didn't comprehend that it wasn't just a little "boo-boo" that you could kiss to make it feel better. When they would kiss my arm, I would tell them it made me feel better to make them feel like they have helped with something. In their eyes, I'm the same old person with just a big brace on. They want to spend time with me and have fun. I've learned we can still have fun by coloring, watching a movie, or making silly faces to have our picture taken. I've said it in just about every blog, but making fun really does help you get through the hard days. It sounds much easier to keep living and being involved in life when you don't feel good than it actually is. It takes a lot of effort and in a sense a lot of practice to get up and keep moving. In a weird sort of way you have to "train" your body to accept the way it is feeling and build up a tolerance to the pain and low energy. I don't want to feel like I have missed out on my nieces and other family member's lives because I didn't feel good.  
Have fun even though you don't feel good. My nieces
made me a princess crown so I would feel pretty.
Isn't this such a "pretty" picture :) 

It seems like I have said this before, little did I know, that pop I experienced in my right shoulder during pt back in June, did cause damage. It was only a matter of time before it was addressed...but in the meantime, my favorite holiday was coming up. Halloween!

1 comment:

  1. Awe, what a lovely family! And you definitely have some impressive warrior wounds. :)