Miscellaneous Rumbles

Shoulder replacement surgery needed.

1

I used my body rigorously during my youth, and I'm paying for it as I gracefully age (I'm 59 years old). I tore both of my rotator cuffs and had them repaired (the left side twice) at various times during my younger years. My right rotator cuff had been torn in about Y2k, and repaired a few years later. I got a lot of service out of the repair, until recently. About six months ago, it began to come undone, it started hurting and having a progressive loss of motion. About a month ago, I started having electricity running from the shoulder to my right index finger and thumb. I sought medical attention and was just getting the ball rolling when on Friday, March 13th (Friday the 13th!), I was reaching for something and my right shoulder popped and my arm collapsed to my side. There was a rush of pain, and by that night a large purple bruse began to form on my upper arm, becoming quite large (4"x8"), purple and black, over the weekend. I couldn't lift my right arm more than a few inches.

I made an urgent appointment with my orthopedics doctor, who looks after my spinal issues (it was the practice that I could be seen the soonest), and I was seen on Tuesday, March 17th. The spinal Doc put in an urgent consult with the CORE institute, to see a shoulder surgeon.

I saw Dr Jesse Anderson at the CORE institute on Thursday, March 19. He took some x-rays, and during the consultation we discussed what had happened. He showed me that my humerus (the large upper arm bone) was way too high out of the cup it was supposed to be in. It was bone to bone against the bottom side of the collar bone and shoulder bone joint. There was a lot of white showing (arthritis), indicating that this had been rubbing together for a long time, and the rest of the rotator cuff had finally come undone.

Long story short, regular rotator cuff surgery isn't an option. I need a full shoulder replacement. Dr. Anderson doesn't do replacements, so I've been referred to the shoulder replacement team in the same practice. I'm awaiting a call for an appointment to see the shoulder replacement surgeon. Right now, the CORE institute is still taking necessary appointments, routine follow ups have been asked to reschedule unless there is a problem.

After all the problems I've gone through with my back, this is just another bump in the road of getting older. The good news is that I can still play the guitar! As long as I have my guitars, anything the universe throws at me is doable. There will be a short down time after the surgery, but that is doable as well. It may be a little while before surgery can be done, because all elective (non life threatening) surgery has been suspended due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

2

You are one tough dude, I'll say that.

We can rebuild him. We have the technology...

3

Man, you've already got all kinds of add-ons. Like you need one more.

Blessings to ya, sir.

4

I've always said that you'll eventually feel all of the crazy stuff you did to yourself when you were younger. At least they can fix you up. Be well!

5

You are one tough dude, I'll say that.

We can rebuild him. We have the technology...

– Proteus

I get that a lot, Tim. I'd have to say that I'm really no tougher than the average person, more beat up, but certainly not tougher, stronger, or more courageous.

EDIT : After some thought, I believe that I do get the point of toughness, Tim. I suppose it refers to the ability to face yet another major surgery, with cool detachment. Honestly, I'm only a little annoyed if anything over it. That simple would not be the case of a first timer going through this. I admit that my first time around was a lot different beforehand, than this or any of my last few surgeries. I have calluses now, and no longer have any more darns left to give! END EDIT.

My situation has exposed me to a lot of average and ordinary people over the years, who went through some extraordinary difficulties. Without exception, these men and women have faced some often horrific injuries, accidents, and illnesses with a courage and toughness that resides is all of us. After visiting the Gates of Hell, we learn to 'Dance With The Devil', and avoid his touch. This is also true for people who have experienced the death of a close loved one. All of these things can take us to some very dark places, if we allow them to. The trick is to bow out of the dance (whenever it Temps us) and face the truth with an intellectual detachment. It's difficult the first time or two, but we get better at it with practice.

The greatest producer of fear, is the unknown. We, as a species, tend to assume the worst, when we are left without all of the facts. I combat this by being a very informed and assertive patient. I do the homework and then ask questions. It's the devil we don't know, that is the biggest enemy! Faced with the facts, all of the facts, we can make intelligent decisions. We can weigh in all the the risks, and all of the potential benefits, and go from there.

Without a doubt, the most courageous individuals I have known, are those who have a terminal illness. During 2010 - 2011, I was an inpatient at the Phoenix VA Hospital for 18 months. I had undergone a surgery to remove a piece of shrapnel that I picked up in the mid 80's in Central America. The shrapnel was deeply embedded in my mid spine, and the surgical site became infected with a Staph MRSA. So I was in it for the long haul, and nearly lost my life because of it.

The unit I was 'incarcerated' in was called the CLC, or the Community Living Center. It was a step down unit, from a regular hospital ward, but a step up from a nursing home. It's for patients who still required some level of daily nursing care, just not to the same level as a hospital word. We also had Hospice patients scattered amongst us. They could typically be recognized by the purple wrist band indicating DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate. I became friends with so many of these individuals, and saw their last days on earth. It's was in these people, that I saw the greatest courage (and faith) that I have ever seen. Generally, it was a cold acceptance, and a scramble to get things done before it was too late. I never heard a single whimper or complaint, I suspect that had been done (if at all) before they came to the CLC. It put my difficulty into gross perspective. At least mine was not life threatening, until the last six months of my stay, when the infection became more systemic, I then became one of those Hospice patients. Fortunately for me, I was able to graduate Hospice, rather than die there.

Back to my point, I have witnessed that there is a courage, strength, and toughness in all people, it just needs adversity to bring it out. Whether it be brought out by injury, illness or a bombed out city during wartime, all people have the ability to step up and face disaster with resolve and courage. I believe that it's just part of the human equation.

6

The Bionic Wade. I wish you well, and pain free.

7

Years ago, my Dad had both knees replaced. For Christmas I got him one of these... Good luck Wade.

8

Sorry to hear of your recent medical woes, Wade. You have the strength of conviction to get through this. Hope you get your surgery soon.

9

Best of luck to you Wade,sounds like you're head is in the right place.

10

Good luck to you Wade and hope they can get that shoulder re-built for you with a minimum of pain!

11

Best of luck with this operation, Wade.

Perhaps you could inquire to see if installing an exoskeleton might be an option, instead of replacing all of your bones one at a time?

12

Thoughts heading your way Wade.

Best to you through this process and recovery.

13

You have been through too much. Best wishes.

14

Wade, if this is some sort of surgery contest, you win. I don't want to play any more. Stop upping the ante, would you?

Seriously, take care man. Hopes and prayers that this will work out well for you.

15

Wade, I hope this is the last of your surgeries and you live a long healthy and pain free life afterward. Please keep us posted and let us know if there’s anything we can do.

16

Thank you for the kind words, guys, I really appreciate it! I am kind of bummed that it happened, but I'm happy to know that it's fixable. I should be able to regain 80% range of motion, which is a heck of a lot more than I have now. I feel fortunate to live in a time when doctors can do things like joint and organ replacements. I'd like to have had less experience receiving modern medical marvels, but hey, it beats the alternative!

17

All the best with the surgery sir!


Register Sign in to join the conversation