Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Well, it has been about 2 months now since I last wrote here. Since that time I have had surgery, been back to the Dr. multiple times (various reasons, suture removal, follow-up and again for follow-up). Been through 6 weeks of physical therapy already, and getting ready to try and go back to work.

We'll start with surgery: Surgery was June 10th up in Park City at their newer hospital. It was really nice, they have a quiet waiting room (i spent all of 5 minutes there), fireplaces burning and the whole works. In the surgery packet I got it said to limit your guests to a max of 2 but you had to bring at least one person with you or they won't operate, for some reason. :) I had Nicole, Mark, both parents and step-mom Joyce come up for moral support. They took me right back to pre-op and got to work. They shaved my shoulder (?) couldn't tell you why, it's not like I'm a hairy beast or anything, but it's what they do. Got me a tiny little IV in my hand after the nurse numbed it. I told her she didn't have to but she did anyways. They took a orange marker and wrote yes on my right shoulder and left me alone for a bit after they told Nicole she could come back and keep me company.

Dr. Metcalf came in to visit for a few minutes, took a purple marker and wrote ya on my bicep area so I had it written on me twice. The Anesthesiologist came in and asked the same question everyone else had too and then he found one of the techs walking down the hall and there I went. Going down the hall, the Dr asked what I did and I told him I am a paramedic, he said they come through IMC all the time intubating and such. When they got me in to the OR they did one of the strangest things I have seen, I was introduced to everyone in the room and they all introduced themselves to me. I recall saying "No offense, but in 30 seconds I honestly hope I don't remember any of your names." I got a courtesy chuckle, they had me move myself over to the table and I was advised not to worry about the bean bag in the middle of the table, it just helps hold you in the right position for the Dr. to do his work. No sooner had I slid over, my hand started to tingle a little bit. I had just enough time to look up and ask why my hand was tingling and heard "well, you just got 10 mg versed (benzo sedative), 100 mcg fentanyl (narcotic sedative) and 4 mg zofran for nausea." The room started spinning and I had just enough time to say "good night" before I was gone.

Surgery lasted about 45 minutes, the Dr said he was expecting to find something was just stretched out some, but when he actually got in my shoulder and took a look around, he found a Labral tear and fixed me up with a couple stitches and looked over the rest of my shoulder while he was in the neighborhood to make sure nothing else needed to be fixed. Not finding anything he closed the tree little holes he made in my shoulder. I was wheeled out to wake up. From what I am told the only thing I was even remotely insistent on in recovery was I had to have my glasses back so I could see. I also really did not like the oxygen mask on my face. While they had me under they gave me a brachial never block. In effect paralyzing my right arm and incidentally the right side of my torso. Only important organ there is the lung, which didn't want to work very good so they couldn't keep my blood oxygen levels up, imagine that!!!! I am told I was the life of the party, from what I recall (not being a whole lot) I tried to get the discharge instructions myself, and the nurse very wisely distracted me. Dad had been standing there the whole time and when I said "It's my shoulder, give me the information!" she very quickly replied, "Look there's your dad." That's all it took to distract me at that point. I don't recall a whole lot about the ride home, I vaguely remember the sling being placed on my arm and a short wheel chair ride to the truck, not being able to move my right arm at all, not a lot more than that.

So, the Dr sent me home with a prescription for pain pills, I guess we stopped on the way home and picked them up. For some reason, my phone was taken away from me for the first while. Nicole didn't want me calling random people in my drugged state. I was allowed to talk to my friend JJ and he got me all hyped up about gummy bears and then Nicole's mom called to see how things went and I told her I liked gummy bears and she volunteered to bring some over to me and I am told I very politely declined, got off the phone and promptly told Nicole I'm glad your mom is bringing me gummy bears. Needless to say, I got gummy bears that night. Nicole sent her mom a message saying you probably better bring him some, he's expecting them.

The learning curve for my pain meds was a fairly steep one; the strongest medication I had taken to that point was Ibuprofen 800 mg, if there was even a remote possibility of me needing to do anything more than 15 min later, I wasn't given any. Right after surgery, I was put in the shower AFTER I had been given 2 of my pain pills. This was still a big production, we had to get my sling off, cover the dressings and I had to have tons of help because I could only use my left arm. Then I had to have help drying off, again-I'm not a left handed or even ambidextrous person. By the time I was being dressed again, I am told I was trying to dance around the bedroom. It's what happens, I had no idea where the meds were in the house, I got one before Nicole left in the morning and she left another one by the side of the bed after which I got no more until she got home. Something about they made me VERY goofy and I didn't need to OD on them. In addition to that, I'm not sure where my keys lived for the first 2 weeks after surgery, they were on vacation. I wasn't allowed to drive.

So, I had my first follow-up (f/u) with the Dr 5 days after surgery to see how the incisions were healing and to make sure they were not getting infected. We walked into the Dr's office, his ATC (athletic trainer) took one look at them and pulled them right out. He said I was healing up beautifully and they were ready to come out. When Dr. Metcalf came in, he went over the pictures he took of the inside of my shoulder and told me I wouldn't be using my right arm for the next 4 weeks until my next f/u. That was the longest 4 weeks of my life. Especially since it took me past the 4Th of July. Summer fireworks were not possible this year. The only thing I could do was drive a truck pulling the trailers around. Couldn't do much more than that at all! :(

Went back for my f/u and was told I would be doing 6 weeks of range of motion physical therapy only. The muscles which hadn't been moving and had glued themselves together had to be broken apart before I could get any strength back. I went to the same PT as before surgery. For the first week or two, the PT was all manual manipulation, the therapist doing all the work, just getting my arm used to moving again. NO fun at all. I am not rotating my arm (parallel to the ground) about 75 degrees out, almost all the way! Lifting my arm I am about 145 degrees, they don't want me to be at 180 degrees yet so it works out! Reaching up behind my back is the area I am not progressing as much as I would like but I can reach the bottom of my thoracic ribs now which is a lot better than it was previously.

I had my first f/u since I started PT this week. The Dr asked how I was doing, I said much better, I can move my arm again. To show him I raised it as high as I could. He got a small look of amazement and asked how the rest of the motion was. He checked my motion and then help my elbow out and told me to resist him pushing on my wrist. He said that was surprisingly good as well.; I am now on a full-time strengthening program for therapy. I was also released to "light duty" at work if the boss man is willing to work with the restrictions I was given. I can lift 25 lbs to my waist and 10 lbs to my shoulders. I am back in Dr. Metcalf's office in another 5 weeks or so to see if I can get those limits increased (cross your fingers). I talked to work earlier today and they said they needed to talk about it amongst themselves and would have an answer for me about light duty in the warehouse soon. I would be willing to work in PR with the one girl doing that, or even if the only thing they would let me do; dispatch. Can't wait to get back on the ambulance!!

All-in-all, I can't really complain about much of anything right now. Well, I could but nobody want's to hear about it. Those who do, can't do anything about it so I won't. Everything is getting itself taken care of. Hopefully I will have some pics to post up here soon enough of what's been going on: surgery, scars, wounds, etc......

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