Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Where do I begin...

On Dec 30th 2016 I had my shoulder scoped. This is that story.

Our scene opens at River North Same Day Surgery. It's like the quick service restaurant of the surgery world.  In fact the experience is much the same. They ask for your order, take your money and before you know it you're on your way out the door feeling far worse than when you arrived.  I was a little cranky and nervous. Not so much about the procedure but because I wasn't allowed my morning espresso. Anyway. We filled out all the paper work, I took a number and ran to the bathroom, twice...because I have a wicked streak of paranoia and actually had the thought...I wonder if anyone has ever wet the bed during surgery...damned if I'm going to be the first.

We were only there a few minutes before they called my name.

So how did we arrive at this point? Let me esplain....no there is too much, let me sum up.
Look ma, a fluid cyst (posterior view) 
My shoulder hurts when I run (when you run? Yeah, that's right, when I run). And when I sleep. Lots of waking up at night. For over a year (yes, that's a long time of stoopid). An MRI in late October reveals I have a fluid cyst in my rotator cuff. And not like, "we think there's a fluid cyst"...more like, "holy mother of pearl I've never seen a fluid cyst with it's own zip code."
So going in they know there's an problem as evidence of my leaky, incontinent shoulder. Most likely a torn labrum but it wasn't clear. I was showing none of the typical labrum tear signs (so says my doc...I have no idea what they are). I never had an issue swimming. In fact I swam a 2800 meter workout the morning before the surgery.  
Walking though the doors I immediately felt out of place. One, I was the only guy patient (hello ladies, how do you like my open back smock and grey footies?) and two, everyone else was visibly injured. Like bad-ass, athlete injured. A couple of runners, a high school lacrosse player. I looked like I had wondered in off the street. Like one of the redshirts from Star Trek - I was along to fill out the search party but also expendable since I clearly served no other purpose to the plot.

So there I am nervously hanging out in my surgery day finest getting a lot of mileage out of telling the nurses that I was there because I lost a bet (Schmitty, masking real feelings with humor since 1972). After plugging me into the IV they let Jen come back to make fun of  sit with me. Next up was the anesthesiologist who wrote directly on my shoulder with his sharpie (I guess because they ran out of post it notes) and explained the nerve blocker and what that was going to feel like before and after. And finally, rounding out our pre-op line up was the arrival of my surgeon Dr. Gordon Nuber who stopped by to leave me with, "well, we'll see what we can find...who knows, if this goes well, you could be back running in a week." (Cool side note: Dr Nuber is the team surgeon for the Chicago Bears. Take that nugget however you wish but he's guy when you say stuff like..."if there's one guy you want doing this surgery"...yeah, he's that guy.)

Finally it was cuttin time. Jen kissed me goodbye (and was a little too happy to see me off for my taste) and off I went. By the time I was rolled through the doors I was well on my way to dream town. But sleepy or not, I was keenly aware that the room was far too white for the urban hip-hop they were spinning. The place was thumping. I half expected my gurney to have hydraulics. I lifted my self onto the operating table, bobbed my head to the beat and was out cold.

4th incision not shown
So here is what they found. Some fraying of the labrum. Natch. That's what they thought. Shaved that down. Easy peasy. Smoothed the bone to give me more clearance. And then -- surprise! -- doc had to go into overtime re-attaching the labrum. Re-attaching. That means it had become completely un-attached. So, that's fun.

Remember what I told you about Dr. Nuber talking all best outcome and junk...well this was pretty close to the worst outcome. In a sling for 4 weeks (at least). No running for 7/8 weeks. No swimming until June.

So here we are at week 8.

If raising my hand straight up over my head is 180 degrees I can get to about 140 unassisted anterior flexion (in front). Maybe 60 degrees laterally. I'm still not really supposed to be lifting anything (but I am - I am an impatient patient). I've been riding my bike on the trainer for the last two weeks. It will be a few weeks until I can get into aero. I've been on the elliptical a few times using the static bars. Going to try to run this weekend finally on the treadmill.

Chester Copperpot
I'm thankful for Jen. I really suck at being an invalid. She was so patient with me and was a solo doggie parent until I was freed from my sling. I'm thankful for all the cards, the get well gifts and the get well beer :). And I am thankful for my co-workers who had Chester Copperpot sit in for me while I was out.

So what's the one thing that the Triathlife does while on the sidelines? The Triathlife signs up for a duathlon and a marathon as training carrots to get back at it as soon as possible.

Just don't ask for a high five quite yet.


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