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Borrego Springs, CA

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Made a temporary decision today

I awoke with hardly any pain in my shoulder today, and that was a very nice surprise.  I was even able to vacuum the rig with my regular push vacuum.  Yes, I have purchased a Roomba robot vacuum, but I’m reserving my opinion on that item for another week or so.

This afternoon was my appointment with the orthopedic doctor to find out the results of the MRI I had last Friday.  As I suspected, I have a tear in my rotator cuff, and a few other little age and use related problems.  At this point, I have two options.  One is surgery.  The other is physical therapy.  The surgery would involve several laparoscopic incisions, and a long recovery period that includes six weeks of my arm in a sling.  Full recovery would take a year (just like my hip).  That would be a definite challenge for me in my lifestyle considering I travel solo and have a stick shift car.

As with my hip problems last year, the malady is not life threatening.  It’s a matter of quality of life.  My hip got to the stage where I was desperate for relief, and a return to a more normal life.  The shoulder has not reached that level of pain or incapacitation yet, so I’ve opted for trying physical therapy for at least a month to see if I can strengthen my arm and shoulder to the point where I can live with it. 

As the doctor said, “Surgery is what I do, but it’s up to you in this case to decide when it is necessary.  Physical therapy will either help or not, I’ve seen both.  It won’t cure the tear, but it may make your life more livable.”  Those weren’t exactly his words, but that’s what I took away from the discussion.  He definitely wasn’t pressuring me to go under the knife.  Isn’t growing old fun?  I’ve got my fingers crossed the PT will help me maintain the lack of pain I had today.  If it doesn’t, I’ll have to scramble to make other plans.

Several readers requested more Ole and Lena jokes, so here goes.  Perhaps the rest of us will just groan??

Doctor (on the phone):  Ole, I have to tell you…your check came back.

Ole:  Vell, let me tell YOU sumting.  So did my arthritis!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

33 comments:

  1. That sure seems like a long recovery time, doesn't it? Here's to hoping the PT will do the trick. Prayers and positive thoughts are headed your way! Joe says you can follow us around for the next year and he will do all the work for you if you choose surgery.

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  2. I am with you. I would do anything not to have surgery. There are so many ways they can help with pain today. I will keep you in my prayers that the exercises will bring you comfort and a much better quality of life.

    Much better joke than yesterday!

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  3. I'm rooting for the PT to do the trick. I hope, I hope.

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  4. I've had a "frozen shoulder" and a back injury, and PT did wonders for me both times. Here's hoping that it does the trick for you as well!!

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  5. I had the surgery when I lived in Asheville. I don't remember having to wear the sling for 6 wks, but it was for quite a while. The PT was really painful, but it worked and I'm so glad I stuck with it as I have full range of motion today and no pain. The Universe is cospiring against us old-timers, Judy. What have we done to piss it off!

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  6. Hope the PT helps--and I loved the joke!

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  7. They say...Old age is not for the weak of heart :)

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  8. I'm in the same boat as you with my shoulder and I've done the PT thing. Didn't make it better, but it hasn't gotten any worse, either. I hope you have better luck with the PT. I'm not ready to go the surgery route at this point.

    But I promise, the shoulder won't keep me from washing your RV one of these days. ;c)

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  9. Good decision. As a person whose formal schooling is in medicine I couldn't agree more. Even if you should decide on the surgery later you will be going into it with the muscles educated as to what they are supposed to be doing as opposed to having been used in adaptive but nonproductive ways for weeks or months. Makes a huge difference. But I have seen many, many instances where folks were able to avoid surgery altogether with good PT and OT, about which you might ask when you get into the PT for a bit.

    Sarah

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  10. There is a new surgery that does not leave you in so much pain or take as long to heal. If you can talk to maybe the PT people to see if they have heard of it. I belong to RVBuddies and that is where I read this. Since a few of the women were having shoulder problems. It has been a few months and I have deleted the e-mails long ago. But if you need more info maybe I can ask them to resend the information. Of course it may not have been the same problem you are having but it wouldn't hurt to ask.

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  11. Hope the pt works well. This getitng old has some definite pitfalls, but the alternative is not yet appealling:)

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  12. A shot and PT worked for me, however it was painful. The pain is coming back some this winter, I don't carry anything heavy in that arm or reach backwards...I try to keep everything inline when I do lift something. It sucks to get old. Your kids live in a good area for Surgery and help for the care of you and Emma during your recovery if you choose the surgery route.

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  13. Sure hope the PT helps ... the alternative would require a lifestyle change ... something neither you nor your readers want for you.

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  14. ouch ... sounds very painful ... hope the PT works, well, of course, I do....

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  15. I agree with Chuck. Getting old is not fun, but neither is the alternative!

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  16. Quality of life. Sometimes the decisions are tough, aren't they?

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  17. I had that rotator cuff problem about 2 years ago and my doctor recommended plain old exercise over surgery. I'm glad he did because I seldom have any pain now and I can even golf again. It took about 6 months or so for the pain to completely go away.

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  18. Must be a lot of shoulder pain going around lol!! I went to the doc today for same. I've already had two injections but might get another if this doesn't clear up in another week or so. Sure hope the PT works for you or that Jo is able to provide some information about the new surgery. Take care..

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  19. Love the Ole and Lena joke! That's what we all should do....if they don't fix it, we don't pay. Auto mechanics too. I would opt for PT over surgery too. Although I don't know anything about rotator cuffs. I opted out of surgery on my trigger thumb and did exercises and a brace but none of it worked UNTIL I got some topricin cream. Amazing stuff. My thumb is almost normal after a month. SO glad I didn't go for surgery.

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  20. I would always try PT before surgery. You really have nothing to lose!

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  21. After I broke my arm, I had 6 weeks of PT...it helped, but I have to be careful sometimes about stretching with it. Maybe your PT will make it good enough that you can handle a twinge here and there...On the other hand, a week ago I did something to my back making our bed..I could barely get up and down from a chair...Ibuprofen every 4 hours for a couple days and I am feeling better..Also, I never gave up my walking or bike riding, I think that helped too...Hope the PT works..definitely smart to go with the non-invasive choice first!! (Medicare pays for it, if memory serves ;-)

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  22. I do hope the PT works for you, Judy. The surgery thing is just so very hard with all the pain meds required and the help you will need again. You are so independent, I can only imagine how difficult it is to have to deal with this stuff.

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  24. My R shoulder was badly torn (I took a direct hit on it in a fall), and, like you, I was given the option of surgery or PT. I chose PT. Relief wasn't instantaneous, the PT hurt, but I kept at it. For a long time. My shoulder will never be as it was when I was 20, but neither will the rest of me!!! Anyway, today I can move and even lift! Pain-free! Glad I opted for the lesser of two evils.

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  25. I found this to be an interesting site/study: http://www.moonshoulder.com/. I downloaded a therapy program booklet and am giving it a try. They claim a study showed 85% effectiveness and the ones that failed to improve did so (or not) in the first couple of weeks. Keeping my fingers crossed but I'm afraid it's going to take a lot of what I don't have much of ..... patience :-)! Wishing you luck!

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  26. as everyone has said hope the pt works. yep growing old aint for sissies

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  27. Well, its a lot to decide and only you can do that..... Best wishes for quick healing either way you choose! Thanks for the joke!

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    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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  28. I'm so sorry to hear about your shoulder.

    I'd certainly start with therapy, provided you still have full use of your arm. But if you don't you may lose the option to get the tear fixed, if the muscle shrinks too much. That may well be the case in my left, diagnosed arm. But is was on her left arm. I don't think you'll be able to reach for the stick for longer.

    Keep us posted and good luck.

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  29. If you get a choice, these folks in Baytown are top shelf!! This is where I rehab'd my shoulder after surgery. http://www.bayarearehab.org/directions

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  30. Yes, I'd go with the PT too. So sorry you're having this pain.

    Love all the photos, but I couldn't get the video to work. I imagined it, though. LOL

    Speaking of LOL, that joke at the end was a LOL one. Really enjoyed it. :)

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  31. I've almost had rotator cuff surgery twice but got bearable so passed on it.

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  32. Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

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