Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Titanium

I’m getting old. Yes. I am. I’m still 5 years younger than Honey. (sorry Honey) And still not in my 40’s. I shouldn’t be complaining, I know.

I’ve always had 20/20 vision. Always been kind of happy about that. All of a sudden this year I learn that I need bifocals. Bifocals????? I foolishly went for two different pairs of glasses instead and now I regret it. I should have just swallowed my pride and accepted my fate. Now I have to wait until the insurance swings back around before I can get a new set of frames.
The other thing that tells me I’m old is my shoulder. Although, to be fair to myself, it’s my shoulder that’s old. I broke it when I was twelve. Flew off the front of my bike racing down a hill, landed on my face, slid for who knows how far, rolled over and snapped the ball of my shoulder in half. Also messed up my growth plate, so if you spend a few seconds and really look at me, you’ll see that clearly my left arm is shorter than my right. Plus, the bone healed kind of rotated a little off and…well – it’s lame. I remember my grandfather telling me at the time that it would never be the same. He was very, very right.

It actually seemed like not a big deal until the year I turned 30. All of a sudden, it was like something snapped and I was in pain all the time. I lost about 75% of my mobility. My regular dr sent me to physical therapy.

(I learned some interesting things there, btw. For instance, she thought I was a swimmer because my shoulders are broad, but I’m not. And the reason is because my ligaments are naturally really loose, and my muscles have to make up for that. Thus, bigger muscles in my shoulders to essentially hold my arms together. Groovy, huh?)


Anyway, after several weeks of therapy and getting worse instead of better, I went to an orthopedic surgeon and had an MRI. Apparently, I had several bone spurs, a torn labrum (the thing that professional pitchers tear) and very little cartilage left in my shoulder. The ball of my shoulder is shaped more like an egg, instead of being nice and round. He shaved off the bone spurs, repaired the tear and tried to fix it up as best he could. He gave me 8-10 years before needing a full shoulder (ball and socket) replacement, but said I’d be very lucky to make it to 8. Titanium body parts! Awesome!!! He also told me it would take several years for me to completely heal and recover from that surgery. He was right. I spent approximately 7? weeks in physical therapy, which was just voluntary torture. After that, I did stuff on my own at home and over about 4 years I noticed very slow and gradual improvements. I went from >25% mobility to about 80%. I can finally lift my left arm up above my head and get something off the shelf (as long as it only weighs a few ounces) and I don’t have to use my right arm to help it back down afterwards.

Anyway, everything seemed pretty stable, but a few months ago, I noticed it starting to kind of hurt. Sometimes for a couple of days. Sometimes for a full week. More recently, I’ll be totally fine and reach for something and get a big zing. Today, I folded a towel and tossed it up to hang it over the top of the shower door and ‘wham’. It really stinks. And now, I’m very sore. It hurts to just sit here and type. Dang it!!!

I’ve read about shoulder replacements. We want to wait as long as possible because they’re only good for about 10 years. But if we wait too long, and I lose a bunch of mobility before the surgery, I won’t restore that mobility afterwards. They do a large incision across the front of the shoulder, cut off the bone partway down and drill into it to place in a new top with a ball. I don’t really know how they replace the socket. I’m not very excited to find out. The fun part is that I’ll get to carry some cool thing when I go to airports so they don’t freak out when I set off all of the alarms going through security. The part I dread is the pain. Pain from the surgery. Pain through recovery. More than anything I dread physical therapy. It’s bad you guys. Bad! Plus I have fun memories from the first surgery, like waking up partway through and hearing him working. I even asked him questions about what he was doing. They very quietly shuffled around and knocked me out again. When I got home, I was very sick to my stomach and couldn’t keep anything down. So, I had no pain meds in my system. The block they’d put on my shoulder started wearing off and it felt like a combination of superduperbad pins and needles combined with a really intense burning pain all the way down my arm. I felt like all I could see was red and orange and red. I think I even told Honey several times that it was all red. Pain like a 25 on a scale of 1-10. The pain only made my nausea worse. Eventually, I was able to take something, and after too many hours I finally got it mostly under control.

Gosh, I’m excited. I’m old. My dr told me my shoulder is like 80, even though the rest of my body is in it’s mid-thirties. So, before long, I’ll have a titanium shoulder to match my bifocals and who knows what after that! Maybe cataracts. Maybe arthritis. How did this happen? My brain still thinks I’m like 25.

4 comments:

Markie23 said...

Hemorrhoids

Memzy said...

ouch

Jenny ESP said...

Owe. Not good, having an 80 year old shoulder. Good news is, it was good seeing you last week!

Jenny ESP said...

I meant ow. Don't make fun of me, K?