The Mysterious Brotherhood of Shoulder Surgery Patients

I’m starting to think there’s something wrong with me. Mentally, I mean, since what’s physically wrong with me is as plain as the sling in which my right arm’s been trapped. But I’ve always gotten the impression that days on the couch with the cheerful company of the TV and absolutely no responsibility is supposed to be some kind of vacation paradise.

I’m losing my mind here. The high point of my day was going to Kohl’s and buying two pairs of pants. Considering my normal feelings about clothes shopping (somewhere between a shark attack and being trapped in a room with a drunk frat boy who thinks his Adam Sandler impression is amazing) that in itself is alarming. And pants? Really? It’s almost like my subconscious  took its chance to shred my previous pair of Ugly Comfy Pants knowing that I wouldn’t be able to survive another day wandering aimlessly around my house, and my inability to wear pants without an elastic waistband was just the perfect excuse.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping with my mother, because it got me out of the house. Staring drunkenly at the selection of malt-o-meal cereals sounded better than watching another episode of Grimm because even if I like the show, too much of a good thing does exist.

I really wish I could concentrate long enough to read some papers. Or write without pausing every few minutes for a micro-nap, which I’m sure is making this list of complaints more disjointed than it needs to be.

Things are looking up. I’ve arranged to have my stitches taken out on 4/30. But I found out I’m not allowed to ride my bike for at least 6 weeks. I know that’s actually very quick as recoveries go, but considering I was averaging 100 miles per week before surgery, it feels grim indeed. I hope next week I’ll be able to start running. It just depends on when I cut out the percocet entirely, since I can barely stay awake, let alone do complicated tasks like walking or peeling my own hard boiled eggs.

I think I would make a terrible drug addict. All percocet has done so far is make me vomit and render me incapable of focusing on anything even as inane as a blog post. I can’t wait to be rid of the stuff.

Everywhere I go, I seem to be part of a Mysterious Brotherhood of Shoulder Patients. Complete strangers walk up to me and ask about my operation, share their own horror stories about physical therapy and recovery. So far I have learned that shoulder surgery sucks, intensely, in ways that the doctors carefully don’t warn you about in advance, not that you have a choice by the time surgery has become a necessity.

I’ve also learned that I’m almost unspeakably lucky. 2-3 months of recovery is unheard of; everyone that’s spoken to me so far was in the 9-12 range. I’m lucky that it was bone rubbing bone, not torn tendons. Bone heals fast.

So as much as I want to whine about the couch and tv and ohgodjustletmetakeawalk, I know I’m lucky. I’m young and healthy and can easily count down the weeks until I can get back to my insane level of activity.

That doesn’t make it any less bizarre, though, when I’m begging a friend to take me to Costco so I can stare at the enormous buckets of frozen peel-n-eat shrimp. I’m beginning to understand how sailors of the past could spend years carving intricate designs into what is effectively trash, only at least those lucky bastards had two functioning hands. The best I can do is price tubs of mayonnaise and reflect on the hope that maybe tomorrow I can cut my dose down to something that’ll allow me to compose coherent sentences while I scrub my hair one-handed in the shower.

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