Monday, August 18, 2008

...But just barely. Holy crap, what a ridiculous, screwy, confusing almost-week it's been. You know I won't get into a bunch of Medical Details, but I want to let you know what the deal is so that those of you who have been so kind and concerned are all squared away on Things. Plus, "My Condition", such as it is, will be informing my life for a bit of time to come here, and that will affect my posts here at the Dept.


Surgery did not quite go as planned. Once the doctor got the instruments into the four portals in my shoulder, he found that there was NOT a bigass tear in the rotator cuff. The MRI had provided a false read. It was, as I had known all along, my second case of adhesive capsulitis--this time in my other shoulder. The adhesions were horrible, and he birsed them all away and cleaned up the area. It was only after he did so that he was able to finally fully raise and rotate my arm. My "rise" from the anaesthesia and return home later that day was largely unremarkable--those of you who have had surgery know all about the labors of trying to sleep and the post-op discomforts, etc. That is nothing out of the ordinary. I had to keep my arm in a sling for two days.

After those two days, I went to physical therapy and the doctor and got all the tape and packing and the four small stitches taken off/out. The sling was taken away, and I was given the first round of physical therapy, and the doctor's blithe philosophy, which is: "It's going to be hell for the next 4-8 weeks. Intense. And I don't believe in pain meds. It's pretty much Aleve and suck it up."


So let me tell you this: I don't "believe in pain meds" either. I had adhesive capsulitis before. And the pain is excruciating. I cannot describe it except to tell you that it is like knives at one time, then like insistent throbbing the next, then like someone taking a rope and wrenching your arm out of the socket when you least expect it. And this could all occur in the space of, say, two minutes. Over and over again twenty-four hours a day for months and months. Aleve does not even begin to do it. So, doc, don't give me your bullshit, okay? How about this instead: "I know you'll be in a lot of pain, and believe me, I'm sorry. But pain meds bring along a whole other set of problems and I'd rather not set you down that road. Let's be realistic together and agree that therapy will be painful, but it will be worth it."


Sorry. I'm being a bit negative. Sigh. Here's the thing. I'm not real sure the surgery was entirely necessary at this point. As I said, I've had this before, and I got through it without the surgery; it merely ran its course, and I had therapy at the end when it "thawed", when I was not in as much horrible pain. Now, I'm still in the terrible pain I was in before surgery, and I'm in pain from post-op, and I have the soreness and stiffness of working the joint and muscles that are slack from not being used. I don't get it.

I am very grateful that I didn't have the torn rotator cuff. That surgery is nasty to come back from. I'm grateful to be able to start school on time, but I feel so weak and tired and not 100%. I start in just a few days! It feels impossible. And I wonder how they (both my family doctor and the surgeon) could have been so wrong with the MRI. Last time, the other surgeon (this guy's brother, ironically!) looked at the MRI that had been read as a tear and immediately diagnosed adhesive capsulitis and that it was a false tear. No one really answered my questions adequately, and it's really just too late now. "It is what it is" and the best I can do is just do my therapy and get over this hump.

I want very much to be well. And soon.

This is sounding un-Nance-like. But we all have our Off Times. I am a firm believer in Wallowing When Necessary. I know many of you will want to suggest Drinking Overmuch as my Home Therapy. I have considered it and discarded it for now as Dangerous. I like Drinking as an Indulgence, as a Happy Thing or as a Rewarding Experience. Drinking now would seem like a Desperate Thing. Not good.

Ah, well. There it all is. But, I am back. And soon, the Rest of Me shall be as well. I don't often wallow long. But I do think I have reason.


  1. I never recommend drinking. Chocolate is always the way to go.

  2. You wallow away Nance - but really, you aren't wallowing at all. This isn't a fun time, especially with school so close on the horizon. Plus, there's no "ignorance is bliss" for this recovery. Sometimes a gal just needs to have a poop-fit before things can settle down and the new normal established (that would be me...). You vent, wallow, whatever you want to call it all you want - you've earned it!

  3. I am so sorry to hear that you're suffering from adhesive capsulitis again. When you had it the first time, did you know it would occur in the other shoulder? Will it heal more quickly this time around because of the surgery?

    I have a billion more questions. But most of all, I hope you get better QUICKLY!!

  4. I would totally drink as a solution to desperate things, if only it helped. My experience has been that it makes things worse. So no, no drinking overmuch as a solution. Sigh.

  5. Dude, you totally have a reason to wallow!

    Nance, I'm sorry you are in such pain, and it bites that your doc wouldn't give you pain meds. I'm not sure exactly why, because unless you have some sort of history of addiction (is there something you aren't fessing up to, eh?) there should be no real reason.


    Feel better soon!

  6. You aren't wallowing; you are pissed. Big difference. Good luck with the pt; it sounds like it will suck big time.

    BTW, the picture for your post had me laughing out loud. Good job.

  7. Oh my! I think it is just crap that you were diagnosed wrong and had to go through what sounds like a bunch of unnecessary bullshit.

    You'll be better soon. Maybe you should go back to work just for a week or so to get your students rolling and then take some time're allowed to do that you know :)

  8. I'm so sorry to hear you're going through all this, and right when school is starting! Crap.

    My mother is in the hospital right now, and it's been a nightmare. She went in for one thing and has been there for almost a week longer because they gave her an infection - that went septic thank you very much - and now have to remove a blood clot caused by the infection. I swear, I hate hospitals, doctors, and most of all - radiologists. I think I have lost three full days of my life waiting for radiologists to read my mother's x-rays.

    Take care!

  9. scarlet--hospital infection was my #1 phobia, and remains so, about having to even have surgery. i share your antipathy toward all things medical. thanks for stopping by, and my best wishes for your mom.

    nina--oh, i definitely have a ton of sick days, but you know what it's like to leave a ton of stuff for a substitute teacher to get through, esp. for honors kids. and i just hate to try and re-corral them when it takes me long enough to "make them mine" to begin with. it's just not all that doable.

    nancy in a2--did it really sound pissed? i was hoping it didn't sound whiny and pathetic, which is how i feel so much these days. and trapped. rough territory for a control freak, which is what i hear that I am.

    gina--no, no "history", but for some reason, i have a very high threshhold for pain meds. the last time i had this ailment, it took oxycontin to quell the pain. that drug IS THE DEVIL, pure and simple. it ravaged my body and destroyed my life. it left huge gaps in my memory and took parts of me that will be gone now forever. since nothing much else can do much, i have to try to go totally without, a fact that this doctor is not entirely aware of. it was his attitude, not the substance of his comments, which infuriated me.

    j.@jj.--that was the point i was making exactly.

    jenomena--i knew there was a small chance it could occur in the other shoulder (it is 30% within 5 years, I would later learn), and the surgery doesn't speed healing, just allows me to move rather than have the "frozen" aspect during the painful stage. If you have more questions that you really want answered, I'm happy to. Just click the email link below my bio in the sidebar. if there is something i'd rather not answer, i'll just tell you. no big deal.

    roxanna--sigh. i know, but i won't really be doing anymore of this here. though the support is so much appreciated. i don't want the Dept. to turn into a Therapy Blog. but it's awfully nice to know that i can vent here if i want to and get some encouragement.

    potu--you're wise beyond your years. and i've already laid in a supply.

  10. Yeah, you better get back to work because I'm not going to be very available this year to help :)

  11. No wonder you haven't been taking over Tera's blog. Though not sure you could have improved on the last one!

    Hope you feel better....

  12. What a bummer that you have to start the school year like that. (Not that it isn't a bummer just being in all that pain.) The worst thing is how badly the doctors screwed up. If I hear one more comment from a U.S. citizen about how it is worth all the expense and bullshit to put up with the healthcare system in this country as compared to "third world countries" such as.... where I lived for a quarter of a century, I will puke. Doctors everywhere make mistakes, and really expensive ones. I am not even referring to the expense in terms of money here, I am talking about all the unnecessary suffering we the patients must endure because of tests, etc., that are not done, misread, etc., etc.

    Get well soon, dear. I don't know how you do not succumb to alcohol, although I do understand your reasons. :-)))

  13. Anonymous10:30 PM

    Sending good thoughts your way. And if you ever need anyone to blow up the balloons for your pity party on the day you feel like wallowing? Let me know.

  14. It totally stinks that you went through this unnecessary procedure. A friend had a frozen shoulder and she only found relief through intense Pilates, much like physical therapy I would guess. She said it was very painful at first, but got better over time.

    Pain meds are always the savior and the devil at the same time. The doctor's attitude definitely sucked. Remember most doctors think M.D. stands for minor deity.

    Alcohol might work if you picked something you really didn't like enough to overindulge in, but that would take the edge off. Still I understand your no alcohol stance.

    All the best for a quick recovery, Nance.

  15. shirley--thanks for the encouragement. no one knows the pathology behind "frozen shoulder", and because 70% of its victims are women, it's pretty low on the totem pole for research. now, if it were "frozen penis" syndrome, you tell me just how fast the research dollars and treatments would be expended/developed!

    a.l.--sigh. thanks.

    ortizzle--it was just one medical irony after another. so infuriating. i'm hoping that the school year is not adding to my frustrations. what are the odds...?

    noregrets--hey, welcome to the Dept.! thanks for the kind wishes.

    nina--i wouldn't step foot in that building this year if i were you. stay home with that baby. with all the construction going on, parking is a nightmare this year.

  16. You have every reason to vent. A wrong diagnosis would make me pretty mad too.

    I hope you heal well and quickly and get back to your normal self. Remember, the government needs you! ; )

  17. Anonymous6:29 PM


    Of all the examples of men's ailments that you could have mentioned,I think you picked the ONLY one they wouldn't want to find a cure for. FROZEN PENIS.

    Maybe you want to rethink this one.......

  18. Anonymous8:56 PM

    Frozen penis----ha, ha, ha.

    And a burly lesbian as a therapist administering the cure--snort.

    I can't imagine constant pain. Really I can't. I would not be a brave hero, I'd be a psychotic bitch, pitching plates at the wall, assuming of course, my good arm isn't the one that was frozen.

    Take care.


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