By now, most of you all know that I had major shoulder surgery a week ago and I wanted to give everyone an update on what they found, fixed and how I am doing. I’ve also included some really helpful tips and tricks to help if you have to go through something similar, which I hope you don’t! It’s definitely been one of the toughest recoveries so far and I’m still only 6 days in!
First off, I’m not a big fan of pain medication at all. So when the nurse gave me the option to pass on the loopy drugs you take before entering the operating room, I declined. She explained to me the only reason they administer that drug is to reduce anxiety for patients who may be intimidated by the operating room. It was really cool to go in there with my wits about me and see everything and everyone that would be used to fix my busted shoulder! The first thing I noticed was how freezing cold it was, it was probably 30 degrees colder just in that room. There was about 7 people in there along with big bright lights directly over the stretcher I would be strapped into. I could easily see how some people would get freaked out by it all.
The anesthesiologist put on my breathing mask and after 2 deep breaths, I don’t remember a thing. The surgery itself took a little over 2 hours where they repaired the tears and tightened my shoulder in 3 places. Check out the video below where they added 1 of the 3 bone anchors that hold the sutures responsible for tightening my shoulder!
I woke up in a recovery room and was still basically half asleep as they gave three pain pills and some apple juice I apparently requested! Once I was more lucid they rolled me into a private room where I met my mother and doctor to go over post op details. With our instructions in hand, my lovely mom drove me home and so began the recovery process.
The first two days seemed like a breeze, I was in pain but still able to walk around and eat normally. I don’t really remember either of those first days, but they seemed easier! It was only on the third day the surgery began to take a toll on me. I try not to overdue the pain medication and I was really started to feel the effects of what they had done inside my shoulder. I have been forced to wear a sling almost 24/7 and sleep sitting up. Once I’m in that position I really can’t move at all. I tried sleeping on my good arm on my side and that only caused more pain. It’s like being caught between a rock and a hard place. If I don’t take the pain medication, I can feel a constant ache in my shoulder with any movement sending sharpe pain throughout my body and if I take too much medication, I start to feel nauseous. But honestly the worst part so far, is that I’ve been confined to my bed and the couch for 7 days straight. I thought I’d enjoy this time of rest but it’s only made me want to get out and get stuff done!
Here’s a list of things I really miss doing on my own for the next 10 weeks!
- Showering and washing my own hair
- Tying my hair in a ponytail
- Wearing anything other than a size XL button down or even putting on my own clothes
- Type (so my husband is writing this post)
- Even sleeping
- No exercise and the list goes on but my drugged up mind can’t think of anything!
If you’re about to embark on a similar surgery then definitely check out some of the things that really helped me out during recovery. I’ve heard a lot of people mention they need shoulder surgery but have put it off (like I did). Yes, it’s not a breeze and the recovery process is long but here’s a few tips to make it as comfortable as possible.
- You will need someone to take care of you AT LEAST the first few days.
- Planning, prepping, and precooking a healthier meal plan since you’ll be unable to exercise
- A wedge pillow or recliner so you can sleep (somewhat) comfortably
- Invest in a Polar Care ice machine to reduce swelling (It’s been a lifesaver)
- Comfortable oversized button down shirts are your best friend
- Stay on top of your pain meds (even the Advil) to reduce swelling
- Take it easy and get plenty of rest, don’t overexert yourself even if you feel fine
My post op appointment is next week and hopefully I’ll have some good news to share with you all!!