Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thankful for Dr. K

December 2011:

A little over a month after the left scapular muscle reattachment surgery I started physical therapy. I only did about 2 weeks of therapy because on December 23, 2011 I was going to be having surgery on my left shoulder joint to stabilize it. I met with Dr. K the day before surgery to go over any last minute questions and I also had a gift for him. I had been working on a tiger off and on between surgeries for six months to give to him as a huge thank you. He has done so much for me and thank you just doesn't seem enough. When I went to my appointment I had it all wrapped up in festive Christmas paper. Dr. K walked into the exam room and saw this big gift sitting on the examining table and his eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning and he said, "Is this for me?!" He picked it up and moved it over so he could evaluate my shoulder. After doing so, Dr. K asked me if he had to wait till Christmas morning to open up his gift or if he could open it now. I chuckled and said, "You have to open it now! But don't read my card now. Read that later when I'm not here." He ripped the paper off and was looking at the tiger. I then told him I drew this tiger for him. Dr. K's eyes got big and he just looked at me. Dr. K had no clue that I knew how to draw. It never came up in our five years of conversation. The only thing I could think to say was, "Surprise!" Dr. K gave me a hug, smiled at me, and said he will see me tomorrow. The only thing I regret on that day is forgetting to take a picture with him and the tiger. I guess I'm going to have to ask him to take a picture with me one of these days.

On the plaque it says, "Dr. K thank you for walking
this journey with me"

The next day was surgery day. It was kind of amusing because the nurses and other doctors kept talking about the tiger. So either Dr. K or the fellow that was in the room when I gave Dr. K his gift must have said something. Surgery was an open posterior capsular shift. I had posterior (back) instability so Dr. K fixed that and cleaned up the scar tissue and loose body that was getting caught in the joint. This surgery took longer than my surgeon originally anticipated. In my operative note he has written, "...due to the complex revision nature of the procedure, an additional 90 minutes was required." As expected recovery was difficult. My Christmas day consisted of sleeping through just about every Christmas movie that was put on. I hurt a lot and my body was just so tired. This was the fifth surgery that I had done in 2011. Fortunately I was on winter break from school so I could really take the time to rest up and get ready for when classes started at the end of January. Bracing was for 6-8 weeks.

January 2012

At the end of January I started my two classes. I took Biomechanics & Kinesiology as well as an Exercise Science Course. I LOVED those classes; especially the biomechanics & kinesiology one. I learned so much in those classes and the biomechanics/kinesiology one just made sense to me. From all the surgeries, I have learned a lot of the anatomy. The test I did worse on was actually on the shoulders. I got a B. I knew the anatomy but on the test you had to be able to explain what motions were needed when giving a person a high-five, shooting a basketball, driving etc. These are all motions that I haven't been able to do in years. To put in perspective, the last time I had my arms straight in front of me at shoulder level or above my head was 2006. It's a motion that I can not do. It was/is so aggravating that I don't know what "normal" is anymore. Regardless, I still loved the class and I still want to major in Kinesology (movement science). 

On March 23, 2012 I was having surgery on my right shoulder for the crazy anterior (front) and posterior (back) instability. I thought this was going to be the last surgery that I would be having for a few years. The left side was done with all of its surgery and now I just needed to address this side. I was so happy that day. When Dr. K came into the room I was in the middle of playing the card game Rummy with my mom. He asked me if it was okay if he interrupted my game so he could examine my shoulder. I told him it was okay as long as he takes a picture with me before surgery. It was a deal. 

It ended up not being the last surgery on my right shoulder BUT I can still
remember how happy I was that day. I thought there was actually going to
be a break from all this surgery. 
After Dr. K moved my right shoulder I felt my muscles start going into spasm and my right shoulder popped out the front. I didn't say anything to him right away because I didn't think it was a big deal. We took our picture and Dr. K told me he would see me in the operating room. After he left the room the nurse needed me to sign some paperwork but I couldn't move my right arm so I signed them left handed. She looked at me and asked, "What's wrong?" I moved my gown and she said, "Oh my, I'm going to go get Dr. K." Dr. K came back but wasn't able to reduce it. I told him not to worry about it because they're going to come get me soon anyways to give me a nerve block and I won't feel it. You know you've had one too many subluxations/dislocations when you start telling your surgeon don't worry about getting my shoulder back in place because it will be numb soon and you will be doing surgery on me.     

Dr. K and I. Behind my smile I'm thinking, "Uh oh my shoulder is coming
out the front." Again, you learn to become a good actress.
Recovery from this surgery was one of the harder ones. It was an open procedure both anteriorly (front) and posteriorly (back). This surgery took an additional hour of time. Dr. K put 5 anchors in to secure things. He also scoped it to clean out all the scar tissue and labral fraying (cartilage surrounding socket). At my post-op appointment Dr. K told me my posterior capsule was extremely patulous and I had a lot of laxity at the bottom of the joint. He also found I had one spot of moderate chondromalacia (softening of the cartilage) on my humeral head ("ball"). To this day I still don't get how I was more unstable out the back than the front because every single time I went to move my arm my shoulder always popped out the front.

Day after surgery. Ice is your friend after shoulder surgery!
I was able to remove the bandages a couple days after I got home. There
was a lot more swelling and bruising with this surgery.
Incision on the back of my shoulder. You can see the bruising on the side
of my arm. 
This is Daisy. She had an infection on her foot that she wouldn't leave alone.
We recovered together haha.
Lucky for Daisy, she was able to keep the cone off her head as long as she
didn't lick her paw. I didn't have that luxury. She's one big baby. 
Two weeks after surgery I forced myself to go back to school so I could take my tests and be all caught up before Spring Break started. It was so hard; I almost started crying after an hour of sitting when it was a 2 1/2 hour class. Looking back it wasn't the smartest move but I hate being behind on my assignments and I just wanted to be able to rest all of Spring Break without worrying about looming assignments that I needed to complete. Since they were night classes, by the time I got home, I was SO ready for bed.

About 18 days after surgery was Easter. I sat with my nephew Austin
and played with Easter eggs.

My nephew Austin. It's good to have some fun for a couple hours
and then go relax. It helps break up the day and it is good for the soul.
I've said it a lot before but no matter what, after surgery you are going to hurt. I'm either going to hurt laying in bed by myself or I am going to hurt while having a little fun enjoying myself with my nephew. Personally I would rather hurt while having a little fun. I hope everyone incorporates a little bit of fun into their day even when they aren't feeling 100%.