Saturday, May 4, 2013

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

After surgery in March of 2010, things were really, really rough. I did my best to try not to show how hard and miserable I felt. My stress level was through the roof. The classes I was taking were more demanding than previous ones. I had precalc, critical thinking and anatomy/physiology. My dominant right arm was braced for several weeks in a brace that was bigger than all of the previous ones. I felt huge! My left shoulder was in awful shape. I had both anterior (front) and posterior (back) shoulder instability making everything I did beyond difficult. My left arm was all I had. It took on all the demands of life. It's the arm I had to use to carry books (I couldn't use one of those backpacks on wheels that you pull because of my shoulder blade), write, shower, get dressed, eat, brush teeth, brush hair etc. Needless to say, my left was none to happy. There is a very good reason you are called right or left hand dominant. There are so many day to day motions that you go to with your dominant hand that you do not even realize; everyone takes it for granted. It's not until it's taken away that you realize how very important having that dominant hand is.

This was the only picture I could find of me in this brace. It made sleeping
a huge challenge.

Now you might be thinking, things couldn't possibly get any harder. Wrong! Two weeks after surgery, during my anatomy/physiology lab my left shoulder started killing. I tried to prop my right shoulder brace with my bag so I could unclip the strap to get the weight of the sling off of my left shoulder. I remember sitting at the table trying to keep-up taking notes as I felt my left shoulder blade literally move out of position. The pain was radiating up my neck and over the left side of my ribcage. Nobody in class knew there was a problem going on. I watched as the seconds ticked by on the clock and prayed they would go by faster.

When class ended, I gathered my things and had my fingers crossed my mom was already in the school parking lot waiting for me. I got downstairs and thank God there she was in the car waiting. She saw me walk towards the car and looked at me with an awkward, concerned expression on her face. After I got in the car, I told her my left shoulder blade was killing me like no other. Her eyes were wide and she calmly said, "I think we might have to go see Dr. K." I looked at her like she was nuts. In my mind, there was no reason I had to go see Dr. K. I told my mom to not overreact because there wasn't anything that wrong. Again, very calmly, my mom said, "When we get home, look at your shoulder blade and then tell me we don't need to see Dr. K. It doesn't look quite right."

After we got home, the first thing I did was go upstairs to my bedroom to take my shirt off and look at my shoulder blade. In that moment, I decided my mom was right and it was necessary to go see Dr. K. When I saw Dr. K it was actually kind of funny. Since Dr. K was squeezing me in, we expected to be waiting quite a while. They put me in an exam room and shut the door. As my mom and I were waiting we were getting restless. They had leg models with all the muscles on them so I decided to teach my mom because that's what we were learning in my anatomy/physiology class. The time kept going by and my mom all of a sudden says, "Does it seem awfully quiet in the hallway? I hope they didn't forget us." I looked at her and said, "I doubt they forgot about us." Well after some more time went by we both realized we had been waiting in this exam room for over 2 hours!! My mom opened the door and there was nobody to be found. The lights were off. I burst out laughing because this odd type of stuff always happens to us. My mom walked to the front desk and the secretary looked at my mom and said, "You're still here?!?" My mom said, "Yep. Meg hasn't been seen yet. Please tell me Dr. K didn't leave." The secretary told my mom go wait in the exam room because he was going to go get Dr. K.

My mom came back to the exam room and shut the door. The next thing we hear are running footsteps and a gentle knock on the door. In walks Dr. K very hesitantly. I'm positive he expected to get his head chewed off. Instead I looked at him and said, "Hi Dr.K, how are you? Something is not quite right with my left shoulder blade." He looked at my shoulder blade and said, "Oh my gosh. Something is definitetly not right." Dr. K gave me a shot of medication on the outside of my shoulder blade to help get my muscles to relax. He tried to manipulate my shoulder blade back into place but it wouldn't budge. The rest of that day Dr. K wanted me to take muscle relaxants because my muscles were in a crazy spasm. Dr. K then said I needed to go down to Kentucky to go see Dr. B.

My left scapula literally shifted out of place and had pretty bad scapular
winging. It would wing out farther when I would lift my arm in front of
me just a few inches.

The band-aid is where the shot of medicine went. This
is how my shoulder blade sat with my arm at my side. 

This shoulder blade issue made things even more complicated. I was just stuck with no arm to really use. School was a nightmare. It hit the point where I finally decided to leave my books at home because they were too heavy for me; instead I just carried a notebook and pencil to class. I still needed to wear the shoulder brace for my right shoulder and the weight of the brace was too much for my left shoulder blade. I ended up having to unclip the strap every time I was sitting and I would move the strap under my left armpit so the strap went across my chest so I didn't have the weight on top of my shoulder. Writing was even harder than it was before because it hurt to much to raise my arm high enough to write on a table. I would rotate my legs and write left handed in my lap instead. The hardest thing was accepting help. I felt so pathetic. Basic, easy, tasks were big obstacles now. Ex: opening a door, getting my seatbelt on, getting a cup from the cabinet, pouring a glass of juice, brushing my hair.

During times like this I learned I am capable of doing a lot more than I ever imagined and can still be successful. I learned I needed to modify even more to gain more independence. I realized I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. Writing about this time makes me wonder how the heck I got through those hard days and how I managed completing that semester of school. I think being blessed with my Grandpa King's "stubborn gene" helps me a lot too.

Next stop was going to Kentucky to figure out what the heck was going on with my shoulder blade...

A fundraising page was created to help with medical expenses. If you would like to donate follow the link below. Thank you!!


  1. Did you go to the Lexington Clinic? I have almost the exact same scar on my back and wonder if I'm going through something similar. My pain is still not controlled and I'm feeling more and more hopeless.

    1. Yes I did. You can email me at if you want. We could share our experiences.