1st PT session on the shoulder last week. Very exciting for a number of reasons…
1) On instructions from the doc I’ve been SHARPLY limited on range of motion, so basically have had pretty much ZERO idea if there was “anything there” to work with.
Today we did full range of motion measurement. Pretty much no joint occlusion. Only 5 degrees from going fully vertical (175 of 180). She said this was minor and not the joint, just the muscles and we would easily get those stretched out. Every other direction has 100% motion. This is exciting stuff.
2) Did some exercises that begin to use the repaired rotator cuff muscles. No resistance…arm weight only. Very weak…quite a bizarre feeling…but THERE’S SOMETHING THERE! This is the first time since the injury that I’ve had anything positive on that shoulder. It’s better in its current state than it was then! Makes sense since the two major top ones were completely torn off and retracted…
3) PT Doc, on seeing the range of motion, “God I LOVE Dr. Vo’s patients. You picked the right surgeon. He is SO good at this.”
4) Over the last week or so that shoulder has felt…”restless”…and “desperate to stretch” for lack of a better way to put it…I’ve, of course, been unable to. That’s exciting because a) PT doc said that was a very good sign and b) I got to stretch it today. Ahhhhh! Almost better than sex. 🙂
5) I have “homework”…a series of exercises several times a day that strengthen and do range of motion on the shoulder.
This is the first time I’ve had something *I* could actively do that would influence the outcome. The prospect of the disability I was encountering from the shoulders was absolutely terrifying. Now I have more than a “hope” based on others assurances…rather I have solid evidence that I can get better.
One of my nightmares was that this would all be for naught.
Hard to explain just how much better it feels physically AND mentally just after one session (and some homework).
Got a bit of a dangerous time coming up…she (PT Doc) says most re-injuries in cases as severe as mine occur between 16-25 weeks…as it will feel 100% but it’s not quite ready strength-wise. Careful will be the word of the day.
Hard work…and it’s a bit painful…but pain I can do as long as I know what’s “good” pain and what’s not.
…and I’ve never been afraid of hard work.
In case it’s not clear…this is me being positively giddy!
Oh, and one of the PT Laws on a poster on the wall: “Never scream or cry because it only encourages us.”
Trodging (that’s a technical term) on the treadmill today…1.75 miles…all uphill (15%) for over 400 calories at a heartrate of ~150 when the cute hardbody strolling on the one next to me looks over at me breathing hard and wiping the sweat off my face and says…and I kid you not, “It’s a LOT easier if you lower the incline…”
I didn’t need one last week. See, it’s simply a tool…kind of a “jack of all trades” tool…like a Crescent Wrench…used for a lot of things it can “competently” do…but there’s better tools for the specific job. Now, it’s a GOOD tool…the actual “Crescent” brand so to speak…but there are better quality and more suitable tools for my specific endeavors that I might purpose it for. It’s a cool looking tool though…so lots of folks “toss one in the box”.
See, I have far better tools…in quantity, higher quality, and in configurations more specifically suited to particular purposes, than this tool could hope to be. Some of them look even cooler.
So, yeah, I don’t need one of these tools.
But then…tragically…sadly…predictably, the tool became the focus…and only focus…of a tragedy and deliberate misuse. People with no historical concept of just how important those tools are, calling for the removal of the tool…and categorizing all owners of the tool as “evil”…or worse, blaming them for the misuse.
It’s easy, ya see…mindless reaction and demanding others do something rather than look at the actual problem. The actual problem is pretty tough…and a scary thing to contemplate. Screaming is easier.
So, yeah. Last week I didn’t need one of these tools…
And the hand-wringing screamers are correct. THIS week I don’t need one of these tools either.
“What’s the hook do?” says the young boy of perhaps 8 years.
I *like* curious kids. First, simply because I readily identify with them…but more so because their curiosity will cause them no end of problems throughout childhood and teenage-hood…but if they make it through the mire with that one thing intact…they will go far in the world.
So…I always make time to reply.
“That’s in case I need to hook on a chain or cable…”
The kid looks at it for a moment…his face screwed up in concentration, then, “No…it would be on the top for that.”
I almost laughed. He’d managed to work out that nothing would stay in the hook with it on the bottom…but not that the hitch could be easily turned over.
I decided that he *liked* thinking and I would help him do a little more.
“Well, the cables I’m talking about are like on the aircraft carriers. Ever see ’em land a plane? That hook on the tail that stops ’em fast? That’s…” I indicated the hook, “So I can stop REALLY fast if I have to.”
His eyes were wide as he mouthed, “Ohhhh…coool!” and started away with his parents. I could tell he was still working out the implications of my statement so just stood and watched him departing.
He got it. It was visibly evident as he brought so much of his processing power on-line that his feet quit working quite right and he ground to a halt.
He turned laughing, “No it’s not!” Pretty certain he’d worked out that the logistics of TXDOT deploying stop cables at my command were at best, *improbable*.
He trotted over and looked closer. “You can turn that upside down.”
I smiled, “Yep!” as he trotted back to his parents.
Mission accomplished. Brain operating. Logic beginning to function. Humor and skepticism engaged. Critical thinking skill developing.
I hope all those survive his future education.
…and why yes, yes I DO strive to be the magnificently weird uncle all kids should have.
Y’all might recall I’m recovering from shoulder surgery…this means my arm’s in a sling…and my doc says “don’t ride.”
Now, I’m often given to ignoring doctors advice, but in this case, what he means is, “If the tendons don’t get a chance to heal back to the bone you’re gonna permanently lose function in that arm…” so I’m highly motivated to get this right.
Translation: The universe is topsy-turvey and I can’t ride.
Ya know what a Dragon does when you’ve been riding her nearly daily for over 17 years and you suddenly ignore her for several weeks?
She pisses all over the garage floor. That’s what she does.
Fickle little minx…
I’ll see you on the road.
ps: The issue is the Shifter Shaft Seal, which is not a big deal…if you have two arms at your disposal anyway…
Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
‘Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains
-Imagine Dragons, “Whatever It Takes”
Y’all may recall that I’m recovering from shoulder surgery…when I was getting diagnosed my (future) surgeon took a look at the MRI and said, “Holy crap dude! You didn’t do all this at once!”
Nope…a lifetime of dangerous things…hard work, women, and motorcycles. Also more than a few of those events where I as a man (as opposed to just “male”), had to step up and do what I had to do at all costs.
Some of that bill is becoming due.
The right shoulder operation has been done and I’m in bit of enforced convalescence to let the tendons graft back to the bone. It’s an all or nothing kind of thing…if I tear ’em again before completely healed there won’t be enough left of ’em for another attempt.
So…what’s the difficulty? The pain? The money?
Nope. Pain I can handle. Money…well I can make more. The tough part is the “role.”
Here’s the deal…literally all my teenage and adult life, my role as a man was simply this: “Push past the pain and get the gawddamn job done.”
It was a lesson learned hard and early. Want to eat? Don’t want to freeze? Then work…and hard.
Crime wasn’t ever my thing. I *like* people too much. And I was the wrong sex, and/or color…and from the wrong background, for there to be any outside help. It came down to work.
It always has.
It was a simple equation. Work or die.
That was it. In work, home life, education, protecting me and mine, whatever…the “job” was mine and the only acceptable place for me was in toiling at it. There were no days off. No excuses. No allowances for exhaustion, pain, or weakness.
There’s still, outside of me and mine, really no place for me in society if I’m not doing that. I came from “a long way down” where this is both obvious and unavoidable.
The world is absolutely ruthless in this regard. Platitudes and wishful thinking do not alter the reality one iota. Examples litter the streets of every city in this nation.
So…the shoulders…first surgery done. Pain, yep, I can handle it…but here’s the thing…this damage is simply because I spent so much time pushing past my physical limitations in the past. Trading pain and health…the one currency life ALWAYS accepts…for my present and future.
If I do that now. push past the pain, the disability will become permanent. If I take the time to let this heal as instructed…well…I stand a good chance at 100% recovery.
So…let’s just say I’m HIGHLY motivated to do this right.
…but the drives are intense…near overwhelming really…and the world keeps on moving with or without me. My required role in it has not changed. The things I need to attend are still piling up. If I fall far enough behind…well…I’m of an age where I may never catch back up.
My skill-sets have changed to a degree, allowing some leeway…but only some.
Between a second surgery and a LOT of PT, this year is a bust. It remains to be seen what the final cost will be (and I’m not talking about the money).
“Work or die”. It’s ingrained in my soul. It’s part of my id.
…and there’s work to be done, and at the moment, all I can do is sit there and stare at it.
Wanders off singing, “Paying anything to roll the dice just one more time…”