Ouch, that hurt.

ice pack

My Ice Machine

My shoulder hurts worse than it did before surgery.  I don’t think that’s right!  HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO SLEEP ON MY LEFT SIDE WITHOUT AGONY?  I LOVE sleeping on my left side.  It’s my favorite side.  I MISS that side so much.

They called me at 3 PM on the day before surgery to inform me that I should be at the clinic at 6:30 AM the next day for the decimation of my arm.  I was also informed I could not eat or drink 12 hours before.

“Can I at least have black coffee?”

“No Mr. Tanner.  Don’t even swallow water when you brush your teeth.”

I immediately opened my snack drawer in my office desk pulling out my stash of M & M’s and Sweet Tarts.  I knew I should begin packing away nutrition immediately understanding the food sabbatical Dr. Isbel was putting me on.

When I was taken back to be prepped the next morning, the nurse asked if I needed to go to the bathroom.  I did.  She then asked if I had any concerns.  I said, “Yes.”

“So, what are your concerns Mr. Tanner?”

“I don’t like needles in my veins.”

“We will deaden the area before we stick one in.”

“Anything else?”

“I’m afraid of blood clots.”

“You’ll take an aspirin a day to help ensure that you won’t develop a clot.  Keep moving around, don’t be sedentary.   Wiggle your feet often.”  She showed me how to bob my feet and toes up and down to avoid this potential crisis.  I began immediately.

“Mr. Tanner, you won’t need to move them until AFTER surgery.”

“I just wanted to practice.”

Another nurse came in and pulled out a syringe.  She said, “This will deaden the area where we put the IV.”  She shoved the needle in my hand.

This is unhelpful.  They stick a needle in your hand to deaden the area so they can stick another needle in your hand.  She was right, the IV did not hurt.  However, I almost came off the bed with the initial injection.  Maybe next time I’ll ask if they can give me an injection to lessen the pain for the injection that lessens the pain for the IV.

The anesthesiologist was the father of a kid who went to middle school with Stephanie.  Because I knew him, I decided I had to act braver.  I didn’t want him to go home and tell his daughter that Stephanie’s dad was a weenie.  It’s a good thing because he shoved a needle the size of an ice pick in my neck and left it there four of five minutes while he maneuvered it around to deaden the nerves in my shoulder and arm.  Had he been a stranger, I would have simply left.

Once they had me hooked to the IV and I had my hospital gown on, I had to pee again.  Geeze this bladder.

They rolled me into surgery and two muscular dudes lifted my frail lifeless body onto a coroner’s type table.  That’s the last I recall.

When I woke up, my fiancé, Florence Nightingale, was in the room.  She helped me dress and fed me Cheez It’s.

My arm had no feeling.  The neck needle had totally deadened my left side which would last about 12 hours.  It felt like I had a two by four attached to my body.

When we got home, Julie told me to rest and headed to the store to buy some provisions.  I wanted to do as she instructed, but the Weed Man had just aerated and seeded my lawn, and I needed to water it.  She left, and I headed out to line up the sprinklers.

When Florence drove up from the store and saw me shoving the sprinkler head into the hard ground, she was NOT happy.  I never knew that sprinkling your yard could have the adversarial affects she described including additional pain, extended healing time and potentially more surgery.  But my lawn is beginning to take shape which is healing in and of itself for me.

I had planned to use bags of peas to ice my arm for the next week (I also had some Green Giant corn kernels in the freezer).  Instead, Florence purchased a machine that pumps ice into a pad that you attach with Velcro on your shoulder.  The doctor suggested I purchase it at my pre-opt appointment but it cost $150 and peas are $1.79 at the Food Lion so I declined.  I’m glad she got the machine.  It feels really good and will have ongoing use.  I plan to fill it with ice next summer and Velcro it to my armpits after jogging.

All in all, surgery went well and a couple of people at work who don’t really like me that much were extra nice on Monday when I wore my sling.  And in approximately 10 – 12 weeks I should be able to lie on my left side.  Eureka!

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Pre-op

PhotoI just bought Stephanie a new car – well, a new used car.  She was driving my 2007 Acura MDX.  It has 260,000 miles on it.  It’s on hold for Michelle who gets her license in two months.  It has to make it for three more years before I can afford another.

Sometimes I feel like I have 260,000 miles on me.  On Saturday I turned 53.  I still have some hair which is good, but there seems to be less on my head and more in my nose and ears.  Sometimes my knees hurt.  Sometimes my right hip hurts.  My cholesterol is high, and I couldn’t touch my toes unless you amputated them and put them on the table.

And tomorrow I am scheduled for shoulder surgery.

When I first saw the doctor for the incessant ache to the left of my neck, he told me I had several bone spurs.  “Simple surgery.  You won’t need physical therapy, and you’ll be back to normal in no time.”

I think he sells used cars on the weekend.

When I went in for my pre-op appointment in May, the physician’s assistant told me that I would not be able to lift weights at the Y for 10 – 12 weeks.  That is not “no time.”  So I cancelled the surgery.  When I went in for pre-op in late July, because my shoulder still hurt, the same PA gave me a waiver and shared the news that, although unlikely, I might die from this surgery.  I cancelled again.  Last week I went back for my third pre-op appointment because my shoulder still hurts.  They made me put down a deposit.  The only thing I like more than not having surgery is money.  I assume I will be sliced open like an apple this week.

My parents enjoy surgery.  When one of them has a procedure, the other gets jealous and gets the same one.  They both had their eyes lifted because the skin on top was skewing their sight.  They both had their hands operated on because they hurt, and they couldn’t open the pickle jar.  My mom just had knee surgery.  She told me, “I need to get well soon because your dad has to have the same thing done to his knee.”  I’m guessing my dad tried to have a hysterectomy after my mom.  They are like conjoined twins that aren’t attached anywhere.

I think they sort of look at their bodies like car maintenance.  I call the dealership when the service needed light comes on in my vehicle, “I’m showing a B12 indicator light, what needs to be done?”  “An oil change, draining and replacement of your rear differential fluid, a full check of the transmission and a tire rotation.”

They call the doctor with similar questions:  “I’m showing an 80+ indicator light Doc.  What needs to be done?”  “A colonoscopy, an eye lift and a double hip replacement.”  “Can you take me on Thursday?”

I am not looking forward to this week.  Nor am I looking forward to the next “10 – 12” weeks of recovery.  I’ll let you know how it goes in an upcoming blog post… that is if I can type.

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