The long road back: Part 6


Part 6: Paranoid android.

So I saw my surgeon for the first time since my shoulder op yesterday. He poked. He prodded. Tore off my dressings without any warning (bastard!). Then made me ditch my sling for 10 minutes and perform all kinds of tiny movements with my left arm that, frankly, scared the beejaysus out of me having kept it virtually immobolised for the past three weeks. I winced, but he smiled. In fact all in all he seemed pretty darn happy with my progress so far which, whilst painful to my shoulder, was music to my ears. I also had yet another round of x-rays which showed, structurally, things are all where they’re supposed to be. Phew.

The net result of all this was the next stage of my recovery has begun. It’s not full blown rehab physio just yet – all going well that’s still another three weeks away – but it’s a definite step towards it; a series of simple motion and posture exercises every hour or so to get the joint working again, followed by ice. Having not really used my shoulder at all since the crash five weeks ago, and remembering that beyond my trio of fractures and titanium plates I also have a grade three AC separation, right now the whole area is very bloody sore. I’m told this is totally normal and to be expected. Drugs and ice. Drugs and ice. Of course, that’s easy for them to say.

(NB. One upside of having surgical rather than conservative treatment has been the telltale AC separation ‘lump’ you typically end up with on your shoulder, often forever – which I most certainly had before the operation – is now completely gone. Yes I have a couple of impressive scars, but no visual deformity. That’s a win, right?)

Back home as I type this, I’m actually feeling a mix of relief but also paranoia. Not wanting to wreck the joint further or have to go through this shitty process all over again, every little tweak or click, of which there are many, is cause for genuine anxiety, especially when the sling is off. I guess this will fade as I get used to my latest ‘new normal’. On the upside, having the sling off more frequently has also been quite liberating, mentally as much as physically. I’m still under strict orders to wear it when sleeping and at all times when I’m out and about, but even just lounging on the sofa, it’s good to feel normal(ish) again.

One observation: it’s amazing how quickly your muscle/condition deteriorates. As a bit of an experiment I tried to type with my left hand a bit earlier and it made my whole arm and wrist ache. After only 5 weeks? Guess I’m sticking with  s-u-p-e-r  s-l-o-w  one finger typing for a bit longer yet.

In the final bit of good, no GREAT news, the surgeon was also okay for me to start light spinning on the trainer at home when I feel I’m ready. Haven’t actually had the courage to do it yet, but I’m sure I’ll get back on in the next day or two. That will be the first riding of any kind I’ve done for about a month so my heart rate stats will be interesting (in a diabolically bad kind of way). Road riding is still many weeks away, of course, if not months. But the wheels are turning…

Days since op: 23
Days since crash: 39
Shirt removal pain-o-meter:  3/10


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