Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Full thickness partial tear

that's what they call what's wrong with my rotator cuff, and they're fixing it on 25 feb. they open up the shoulder, send in a little camera, and make a to-do list for while they're in there. might as well shave that bone. could check the bursa. and is that tendon what's causing the impingement?

the operation is done with me sitting up - "but they strap you in," said the pre-admission nurse, helpfully. it takes about three hours and requires one overnight in the hospital. then i spend six to twelve weeks with my right arm in an immobilizing sling.

let me repeat that: six to twelve weeks.


the awesome news is, that means no shoveling, no dishwasher-unloading and no email. i'll be off work for a long time. i'll read on the kindle. the medium-awesome news is, no chef's knives. the anti-awesome news is, no driving and, if internet stories can be believed, no sleeping. also no texting, no bras, no tidying, no shoelaces, no river valley, no shaving, and no making mo's lunches, for a long time. it's actually pretty staggering, when you think about it.

and i have been thinking about it - mo's insisted i do, even though she doesn't know that's what she was saying. she said, "practice with your left!" i'm glad i have because it demonstrates that i have no idea what i'm capable of. not in that character-building way; in that complete-absence-of-judgment way. brushing my teeth is messy but doable; however, i almost took out my own eyeball with the hairbrush. i can make coffee, allah be praised - but feeding the cats? i anticipated that it would be hard to open a pull-tab can with one hand, and it was, but the real poser was how to dish out the food one-handed. you stick a spoon in a can and then more or less chase the can all around the counter. on the other hand, so to speak, i can flip an omelet left-handed. who knew?

more than anything, after an hour of practicing i was mentally tired. it was incredibly hard to actually think about every little thing you do. how do you pull up a knee sock one-handed? (slowly.) how do you get coffee and the newspaper back up to bed with you? (two trips.) how do you grind pepper? (you don't.) it gives you huge respect for what babies must feel like at the end of the day - at the end of every day: hours and hours of trying to figure out the simplest little things, in a body that won't behave the way your mind says it should, turns out to be exhausting.

but what i anticipate to be really really tiring is being tolerant. as i'm fond of saying, i can only be who i am, and who i am is ... particular. fastidious. fussy. (some people use unkinder words.) post-op, i am going to be ridiculously dependent on mo, who is going to be working ridiculously hard managing - well, everything. here is a likely scenario: she will come home after a full day at work and start fixing us dinner, based on whatever she's picked up on her way home. in the course of unloading the dishwasher so that she can reload it so that she has room to make dinner, and with the cats yelling at her for their supper, it could be that she puts the bowls, or the cups, or the glasses, or (god help us) the plastic containers away in the "wrong" order. i will see it. i might have to actually watch it happen. and i will have to live with it.

i mean, consider the alternatives for just a second.

right? surgery will make me a more tolerant person, or it will give me a stroke.

my only hope is the painkillers, which i hope are strong and plentiful. 'cause i have a feeling i might have to share.

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