It has been 1-week (and a couple of days) since the surgery and there isn’t that much to report in terms of progress. I had my first physio session for the shoulder just recently and even that looks like it will be a tedious process.
In terms of physio and the type of repair that was performed on my shoulder, I will be mainly hooked up to a fancy muscle stimulating machine (think of an abdominal machine on shopping TV) for half an hour to prevent huge muscle wastage around the shoulder. Then after that it is 15 minutes of assisted moving of the arm and doing my herp derp pendulum exercises (which I have to do four times per day). It is going to be an arduous process, I can tell that already.
I have already started to notice the signs of muscle wastage, particularly on the arms and the pectoral muscles. I guess I will have to go hard at the gym when I’m allowed. At the moment, my fitness exercises are limited to doing bodyweight squats and lunges etc. I’m not allowed to run, jump or do much at this stage. I suppose it will get easier once I get rid of the sling.
In terms of the damage, I did a real number on the shoulder. Apparently I had a tear in my labrum (if you think of a clock) the extended from 1 o’clock to 6 o’clock (at the front) and from 7 o’clock to 11 o’clock posterior (that is if I remember reading the surgery notes right), plus the ruptured bicep tendon, which was re-attached where it was supposed to live. My physio did tell me that when I get back to hockey, I’m likely to experience some tightness in the shoulder when going into take a shot, but that it should ease off. The key part of that sentence is “WHEN I GET BACK TO HOCKEY”. It is a relief as I know that I will be able to get back to the game and should play without any limitations once fully healed.
Life one handed has had its challenges. I am fully appreciative now of how important the use of both hands is. It is something you take for granted. I know there are people worse off than me. People who have lost one or both of their arms and I can only admire those people and how they have picked themselves up and re-taught themselves how to get on without an arm.
For me the most difficult thing has been not being able to pick up my son. Before the operation I used to pick him up and throw him about and have him walk around the house whilst holding to my hands. Right now, I can’t do any of that, let alone take him swimming, something that had become a father-son activity for us.
Otherwise, I still need help cutting up my meat-based meals, I need help getting dressed (though mainly getting T-shirts on), drying myself after a shower is difficult, as is shampooing myself. The one thing that has really weirded me out is wiping my butt after taking a dump. Doing it left handed feels so weird and foreign to me that I don’t almost know how to do it.
Also, typing up this blog post has been challenging and time consuming, but at least I manage, which is encouraging as I’m due to return to work.
Where the recovery may be a time consuming process and a difficult one, I am still certain that this is an opportunity for me to get stronger and better. Both mentally and physically. Where I will be saddened to lose the bulk of the muscle in my upper body, I’m sure that I’m able to build it back up. Sure, there’s no gunshows this summer, but it is not the end of the world. In only few weeks, I’ll (hopefully) be allowed to start doing more workouts and fitness work, which should give me an outlet for any frustrations.