Adjusting 

Good morning.  At almost 5 months post op of my 2nd shoulder surgery, over a years worth of physical therapy and all of the life changes that have been implemented as a result, I’ve been working on adjusting to my reality as opposed to fighting it.  I’m not giving up, but I truly feel that I’ll never get full use of my dominant arm back. If I do, that will be a happy surprise. 

As with the prior surgery & manipulation under anesthesia, I’ve improved to the point that the pain stays around a dull ache unless I overuse my arm. By overuse I mean: trying to lift/carry anything over a couple of pounds, gripping/twisting/pushing/pulling anything that requires muscle, trying to hold my arm suspended for more than a minute or so without support, any repetitive motions, bearing down on anything, reaching too far in any direction away from my body. I know that sounds like a lot that I can’t do but I’ve learned that keeping my elbow close to my body when I use the arm helps with support, so I can do a lot of self care & light cleaning without help. I find myself automatically finding alternate ways to take care of necessities with a lot of rest stops along the way. 

My surgeon & physical therapist think I could improve more as I strengthen the arm. 2lb weights fatigue me pretty quick. Aquatic therapy isn’t progressing much either. It feels more like maintaining what I have as opposed to moving forward much. My range of motion improves if my therapist uses her body weight & strength to push my arm into positions I could NOT reproduce on my own. I get that we are fighting scar tissue & frozen shoulder, but it doesn’t have much impact on what I can do day to day. 

Keeping all that in mind, my employment options are slim to none. Honestly, do you know any employers willing to hire someone who can only work minutes at a time without stopping to rest & then trying to find work that basically just takes one arm? And then there’s the disclosure of this type of injury & resulting limitations that make me a Workers Comp claim just waiting to happen.  No, I don’t think I’ll be high on anyone’s list for potential hires. 

We haven’t talked about my hand yet… The constant dropping of things….tremors & spasms. I’m still hoping my hand is a temporary condition. The EMG will tell the tale on that. 

My point is, I’m trying to stop comparing my pre-injury life to my current situation. Money is tight & we’ve given up a lot. Beating myself up over that doesn’t change anything. I’m working on the things I can do. Finding dinner recipes that don’t involve peeling/chopping/slicing or draining. Getting my left arm coordinated enough to do more things. Smaller loads of laundry, smaller bags of trash, grocery shopping online and soaking means not scrubbing. I’ve learned that if I boil potatoes with the skin on, it just slides off afterwards so I don’t have to peel them. 

It’s just a lot of little things that add up to regaining some of the independence I’ve lost through all this. There are so many people out there who have it worse than me. I’ve been blessed with so much & im determined to focus on the positive. 

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