Monday, January 21, 2013

On these shoulders....

This December, I had a surgery to repair my right shoulder labrum. What started out as an innocuous basketball injury 7 years ago, became an injury which deteriorated progressively as the years passed.  First, it would just be severe pain when I injured it, then it slowly transformed into my shoulder popping out. Initially I was able to pop it back in by myself, until this year when after a certain misadventure it didn't and  required a visit to the Emergency room. This was the final straw that made me decide that I need to take the big step to get my shoulder fixed once for all, like going to the doctor......

Over the years, my injury severely inhibited my ability to play sports, especially being able to play basketball. Though I never became the next Michael Jordan, basektball brought lot of fun and enjoyment for me. In high school I would come back home, have a quick tea, and rush to the basketball court and spend the next 3 hours playing there. Attempting to play like  Jordan, and naturally coming up very short on any of his moves. But it was still a great deal of fun. Besides basketball,  I’ve had to be careful and more conservative with lot of my activities, especially not to move or do an action in the horizontal plane to the shoulder. So when the doctor informed me I had to get surgery done, I didn’t think, “Damn, my life sucks”, but rather that this was an inevitability and was something I needed to take care of.

My workplace was extremely understanding, and offered me a great flexibility while I recovered. All through the process, they would tell me that healing my injury was the number 1 priority and that there was no need to rush back to work. Hearing those reassuring words comforted me a great deal and I felt lucky that I worked at such a great work place who were willing my to adjust my work schedules. The other change that I needed to do was to postpone my Turkey trip. I had been planning it in great lengths over the months prior to the injury, and was very much looking forward to backpacking through the country. The trip was pushed to June, and in insight, the weather is lot more better in June than in December. I did try to sneak in the idea of doing the trip before the surgery to the surgeon but him giving me snarling look was enough to make me think better of it.

Preparing for the surgery date, I had this thought constantly in the back of my mind that I was missing one final detail and that there would be some insurance information that I missed, which would cause me to pay thousands of dollars, and bankrupt me. No matter how many times I crosschecked the documents and the requirements I kept thinking that I would arrive at the surgery center, and they would look at the papers and go, “Sir, you’ve failed to do this or have this, and we can’t cancel the surgery. You’ve to pay 10000$ fine....!!!!!”. Luckily none of that happened, and I'm still not bankrupt :). I was helped a great deal by my friend Mansiha. She helped me out before and after the surgery. Especially with dropping me and picking me up after the surgery. Ensuring, that I was in good condition after the surgery. It is truly great to have a good friend who would help you out in these tough times, and I was very lucky to have one.

Finally, the day arrived. Dec 13, and funnily enough I didn’t feel too nervous getting to the surgery center. As I entered surgery room, I realized I had some very poor choice of clothes for the surgery. Instead of wearing track pants, which would’ve been considerably easier to get in and get out, I decided to wear regular pants. Somehow my mind never realized, how tough it would be to put the pant button on after the surgery, considering my one hand would be immobilized. But barring this one unfortunate oversight, everything was else went as per schedule. It is remarkable that doctors today can do the entire repair with 3 small holes in my shoulder. The greatness of modern day science.

I came back home feeling more nauseus from the anthesia than the pain from the surgery. Which I thought was a good sign, though I kept throwing up whatever I ate. So all that tasty food Manisha had cooked went down the drain. Sleeping was a lot more comfortable than I thought it would be. Partly because of the painkillers and because of numbing injection on my shoulder. Waking up the next day I realized there wasn’t a lot I could do besides read, sleep, and watch TV. And that I did a lot of, especially the first and third. I scoured Netflix to pick a movie to watch, and finally decided to watch the series 24. 20 episodes in I realized, the series was bullshit, and that Jack Bauer couldn’t do all this shit he is doing, and no way can it happen in 24 hours. Come on.!!!! So I stopped watching 24 at that point, and decided to move towards some Harry Potter movies. Despite not being a fan, over thanksgiving, my friend had passed me this sweet deal for the entire Harry Potter series on blu-ray for just 30$. There was no way I could pass up on that for sure. And 8 movies later I’ve to say that I was wrong all these years and the series is a lot of fun, albeit a bit lengthy. And Snape surely is the best character of the lot.

Now that surgery was a few day in, I knew the next big step lied ahead, physical therapy. This was a lengthy process but also very important in my road towards to recovery.  The doctor wasted very little time and began the physical therapy 4 days after the surgery, the idea being you want to reduce the stiffness caused by surgery. As they began assessing my shoulder and it's range of my motion, I knew the road was long and that there really was no turning back. I kept thinking, was this such a good idea, did i do the right thing. As I was struggling for my most basic motion, it dawned on me that I wasn’t asking or wanting to do anything spectacular with my arms, all I wanted was to just lift them or pick up something with it, and that I was so far away from that. It just humbled me a lot, and gave me perspective on how easily, what you think is something you can have with ease, is something you've to fight for sometimes....

I returned to work a week after the surgery, and by return I mean, working from home. I was still in no position to drive,and I had to sit on the couch to do my work. Sitting on a couch and working is not ideal, and over the next few days it made me realize that working from home is a nice thing to do once in a way but in no way could I do it long term. I missed the buzz of the work place, interacting with people, talking about soccer, music and all the other good things that comes with being around people. Also, considering it was the holiday season being stuck at home made me long for home, thinking about the comforts of home, family, home cooked meals, and so much more. And thinking of my Turkey trip and those balloon rides that I was supposed to take in Cappadocia, made me sigh a lot..... Aaah, so many things. But, I was happy that my surgery and post recovery had gone according to plan and that there were no horror stories.

As of writing, it has been little over 5 weeks since the surgery. I took off the sling, as prescribed this week. I’ve been driving last few weeks, with not too many problems. My physical therapy has been going on at a steady pace, and I feel that the clinic i’m going to is pretty awesome. They’re the right people for me, I feel they understand the process of recovery very well and are pushing me at a steady pace. My mobility has slowly been returning, and I know its a long road, one that is a matter of months and not of weeks. And I’m sure at the end of I can do those 500 push ups that I’ve been wanting to do...and who doesn't want to do that..

1 comment:

  1. Apart from the fact that initially the length of the post ( deceptively may I add, coz of the format chosen) scared me from reading the whole thing in one go, it was a good read. A nice snap shot of what happened!

    Anyways, get well soon and keep trying for the 500 push ups in hot air balloons ( or is just hot air! :-P )