I’m amazed that it’s been over 7 weeks since surgery. Every day that goes by I’m thankful to be another day along in getting my shoulder back to normal, even if the progress is depressingly slow. I’ve made some small improvements in the last few weeks in flexibility, but nothing groundbreaking. The repair is actually healing very well and relatively painless but my biceps tendon is incredibly painful and is getting pinched in my shoulder joint. That makes physical therapy and stretching much more difficult than it should be.
I saw the physicians assistant today to get cleared for active exercises. It was an encouraging appointment. She said that I’m on the right trajectory and shouldn’t be discouraged. This week I’ll get to start actively raising my arm and hopefully in 8 weeks I’ll be able to move it in every direction again. The best news she delivered was that for most people the 2 month to 2 1/2 month mark tends to be the turning point where the shoulder starts noticeably improving. Almost there!
Despite the varying level of constant pain, my arm is starting to feel stronger. Still sleeping in the recliner, but hope to transition back into the bed soon. While I’ve officially retired from recreational basketball, I’m hoping to be able to shoot around a bit this summer.
A few more observations:
First, I can now see why medical issues can become so all consuming to people. When it’s painful and there’s an uncertainty lingering in your mind about the possibility of full recovery, it’s hard not to think and talk about it all the time. Doing stretches and now exercises three times a day, it feels like a part-time job. When you already have one really full-time job, this is the last thing I desired. Emotionally, I feel like I’ve been neglectful of my family and friends because this thing has been an emotional drain on me. I just haven’t felt present and my family has paid the highest cost.
Second, I imagine Kelli (and many others) have to be sick to death of hearing about it every day, but there’s something therapeutic about talking about it and commiserating with someone. In fact, I don’t know what I would do without that. It’s especially encouraging to talk with those individuals who have been through it. All this to say; if I’ve been too big of a baby, I apologize. I think I’m out of the whining stage finally. 🙂
Third, knowing that I cannot lift anything it has been awesome to see other people step up and do the set-up/tear down work at Evergreen. Two years ago I remember a morning when I moved every chair and brought in every piece of equipment. It was a Sunday that fell on 4th of July and apparently, for whatever reason, that means you don’t go worship God that day, which is terribly alarming and made me realize in a lot of ways we’re no different than any other church I’ve been a part of. To be really blunt, I remember feeling like I hated everyone that morning and found it hard to preach. My attitude was not good. But I was mostly angry with myself because it was my fault. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t want to burden people with showing up at 8am and moving everything. So I just hoped people would magically show up in the morning. Now I can adequately look back and conclude: that was dumb. Thanks to Kelli and Krista’s help in coordinating, our setup crews have been massive and awesome! And because I can’t really do anything to help, I’ve just been able to talk to people which has been fantastic!
Fourth, I’ve realized how much activity I take for granted. Right now I can’t run, I can’t ride a bike, I can’t pick up Gram, I can’t lift a carboy of beer, I can’t stir the mash, I can’t brush my teeth, I can’t cut my food. The list goes on and on. Things that I not only have always taken for granted, but feel entitled to. I’ve realized as I’ve become a fixture at OHSU and the rehabilitation center how many people can’t do those things either and a lot more! Some of these people will never be able to do many of those activities again. I realize through this experience how much there is to be received as a pure gift.