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  1. #21
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    Sep. 27, 2001
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    Virginia
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    Thanks ZuZu! Any suggestions about bras? I certainly don't think I'll be using the over the head version I usually do... Or just use duct tape for a while??!!



  2. #22
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    Mar. 11, 1999
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    Clayton, CA USA
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    5,014

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    I had surgery for two full thickness tears. It happened when I was bucked off a horse, and I had the surgery two months later, on the advice of my doctor who said the longer you wait, the harder it is to have a successful outcome as the tendon contracts. It took six months before I was done with PT, but I regained full mobility of my arm and I'm pain free. The repaired shoulder is better than the one never injured, which I'm sure has some wear and tear.
    Mystic Owl Sporthorses
    www.mysticowlsporthorses.com



  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
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    6,357

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tackpud View Post
    Thanks ZuZu! Any suggestions about bras? I certainly don't think I'll be using the over the head version I usually do... Or just use duct tape for a while??!!
    Last time I got myself a couple of those "Ah bras" as seen on tv. You can step into them and pull them up.

    https://www.ahhbra.com
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,814

    Default Your hand will work ... get regular ones ~~~ fasten in front and spin around ~

    Just fasten in front .. hand will work and spin around .. ~

    No over the head !!!

    Hair brushing , putting halters on horses, brushing ones teeth all will be tough ?>! well a challenge


    Its a quick learning curve .... your arm will be fastened to you hip area ... nothing above your waist with immobilizer ~

    No putting hair in rubberband or clip ````

    sometimes people look messy and dress funny when rehabbing RC

    Quote Originally Posted by Tackpud View Post
    Thanks ZuZu! Any suggestions about bras? I certainly don't think I'll be using the over the head version I usually do... Or just use duct tape for a while??!!
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    42,373

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    You won't need a bra for several days and you can go check the maternity ones, that can be opened in front an put on and taken off easier, if you have to use some.

    Do have whoever helps you OPEN BOTTLES for you, or you leave some open already in the refrigerator, before you leave for the surgery.

    Gatorade is the best to rehydrate and get over the anesthesia, that for shoulders, if it is not open, but arthroscopic, it will be light and then an amnesia drug, so not as hard on you as the heavy type.

    My surgery was two years ago for a torn rotary cuff repair with three anchors, cleanup of the joint and chipping away some spurs, one that had practically cut the bicep tendon in two, that needed to be sewn back together.

    The surgeons don't really know what they will find, so asking them beforehand doesn't help much.
    They wrote down what they did in detail on my bill, they may yours.



  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2001
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    Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zu Zu View Post


    No putting hair in rubberband or clip ````


    Good thing my husband has a daughter and used to have to do her hair for dance class!



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2011
    Posts
    46

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    Gosh well I went to the disabilities forum and read all the RC stuff on there and now it's scaring the crap out of me! Whoever said "wondering if you really need the surgery" was bang on...that's me now!

    I do have use of the arm, definitely reduced mobility and constant pain to doing basically anything (sleeping was brutal but the cortisone has improved that aspect considerably). But typical horse person, I've learned to grit my teeth and just get on with life. Lots of "OW"s spurt out my mouth throughout the day though. Definitely have learned to lead left handed as the thought of having that arm wrenched by a horse strikes terror in me.

    It happened last May in a stupid fall (non horse related) where I was hanging by the arm and audibly heard the "snap/pop" when the tendon went. After the snap the arm literally dangled totally useless, just swung, couldn't move it at all for about 20 mins. Now that happens whenever it gets pulled hard, just swings with no control and pain is extreme, however it passes in a few minutes. I think there was a partial tear there already though for more than a year, that happened when a horse jerked it's head sideways fast to get a fly while I was leading it. Then when I did the fall it just tore the rest of the way.

    Did anyone else have that swinging puppet arm with no ability to move it at all?

    Dr told me it's the main tendon over the shoulder that has the full thickness tear, I think it's called the supra something or other. The tear is 1cm now, he says when they get to 5cm then they are not repairable and the likelihood of it moving further apart over time is high.

    But at least right now I can bridle/halter horses, clean stalls, carry water buckets, tighten girths and ride! So the stories of the useless "noodle" arm after surgery for months are really scaring me and making me feel like I should be happy with what I've got!

    Couple of questions for you guys:

    - sounds like the MRI doesn't always show everything and it could be worse once they get in there? I'm surprised if that's the case as I thought an MRI was so definitive.

    - I don't understand why you can't sleep in a bed after the surgery and for how long? Can anyone explain that?

    - what is the immobilizor? I was told I'd be in a sling for 6 weeks and total recovery time 6 months. How do you shower with the sling/immobilizor? Do you sleep with it also? Does the arm actually have the ability to move and you have to make sure you don't or is that shoulder actually not functioning?

    - the dressing thing sounds like a challenge too. How do you actually get a shirt on and off if that arm is not allowed to move? What do you come home from the hospital wearing? What about applying deodorant? Sounds stupid but I don't want to walk around stinky!

    - The bra thing freaks me too as frankly I've got big girls and wear heavy duty bras. The sheer weight of them I'm scared will really pull on the shoulder. I was hoping for breast reduction surgery at some point but I guess doing them at the same time sounds out of the question. Anyone well endowed have this and how did they cope bra wise?

    - I am very rural and about 45 mins drive from any doctor or PT. So that worries me as I can't really be having husband drive me constantly to PT, also have farm and kids to look after. How often do you need to go to PT and how soon? Can you do most of it yourself at home?

    Thanks for your help and wisdom



  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
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    6,357

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    Quote Originally Posted by alterchicken View Post
    Gosh well I went to the disabilities forum and read all the RC stuff on there and now it's scaring the crap out of me! Whoever said "wondering if you really need the surgery" was bang on...that's me now!

    I do have use of the arm, definitely reduced mobility and constant pain to doing basically anything (sleeping was brutal but the cortisone has improved that aspect considerably). But typical horse person, I've learned to grit my teeth and just get on with life. Lots of "OW"s spurt out my mouth throughout the day though. Definitely have learned to lead left handed as the thought of having that arm wrenched by a horse strikes terror in me.

    It happened last May in a stupid fall (non horse related) where I was hanging by the arm and audibly heard the "snap/pop" when the tendon went. After the snap the arm literally dangled totally useless, just swung, couldn't move it at all for about 20 mins. Now that happens whenever it gets pulled hard, just swings with no control and pain is extreme, however it passes in a few minutes. I think there was a partial tear there already though for more than a year, that happened when a horse jerked it's head sideways fast to get a fly while I was leading it. Then when I did the fall it just tore the rest of the way.

    Did anyone else have that swinging puppet arm with no ability to move it at all?

    I didn't have that. What I did have was a reduced ability to move the arm. If I closed my eyes and raised both arms in front of me, I thought they were equal at chest height, but the injured one drooped 6 inches lower.


    Dr told me it's the main tendon over the shoulder that has the full thickness tear, I think it's called the supra something or other. The tear is 1cm now, he says when they get to 5cm then they are not repairable and the likelihood of it moving further apart over time is high.

    But at least right now I can bridle/halter horses, clean stalls, carry water buckets, tighten girths and ride! So the stories of the useless "noodle" arm after surgery for months are really scaring me and making me feel like I should be happy with what I've got!

    Couple of questions for you guys:

    - sounds like the MRI doesn't always show everything and it could be worse once they get in there? I'm surprised if that's the case as I thought an MRI was so definitive.

    Some things are hidden behind other things, apparently.

    - I don't understand why you can't sleep in a bed after the surgery and for how long? Can anyone explain that?

    I could sleep in my tempurapedic bed because I didn't need to roll over. In a regular bed, your body tells you when to roll over so you won't get a pressure sore. Most people find that it is easier to sleep in a recliner so you won't roll over--because that'll hurt!

    - what is the immobilizor? I was told I'd be in a sling for 6 weeks and total recovery time 6 months. How do you shower with the sling/immobilizor? Do you sleep with it also? Does the arm actually have the ability to move and you have to make sure you don't or is that shoulder actually not functioning?

    The immobilizer is like a pillow that your arm half sits on in the sling. It keeps air circulating under your arm and it also takes some of the weight of your arm off of your shoulder. Yes, you sleep with it on. You take it off to shower and to dress. Yes, you can move your arm, but not above shoulder height. They want you to keep it still until it heals.

    - the dressing thing sounds like a challenge too. How do you actually get a shirt on and off if that arm is not allowed to move? What do you come home from the hospital wearing? What about applying deodorant? Sounds stupid but I don't want to walk around stinky!

    You wear a shirt that buttons or zips in front to your surgery. Stock up. That is all you will be wearing for the next few weeks. It is easy to slip a sleeve over that arm while it is hanging--you just can't raise it up.


    You won't worry about deoderant the first couple of days, and after that you will be able to put it on as long as you don't raise your arm overhead.

    - The bra thing freaks me too as frankly I've got big girls and wear heavy duty bras. The sheer weight of them I'm scared will really pull on the shoulder. I was hoping for breast reduction surgery at some point but I guess doing them at the same time sounds out of the question. Anyone well endowed have this and how did they cope bra wise?

    The first RC surgery I used an old fashioned tube top. http://www.tubetopcompany.com/

    But the Ah Bra worked better, and the straps are really much closer to your neck than to where your incisions will be.

    - I am very rural and about 45 mins drive from any doctor or PT. So that worries me as I can't really be having husband drive me constantly to PT, also have farm and kids to look after. How often do you need to go to PT and how soon? Can you do most of it yourself at home?

    I wasn't allowed to go to PT for 8 weeks-- until the initial healing was over. Then I went to PT twice a week for about 6 weeks. It is possible to get the exercises and do them at home after you get done with the "passive" exercises in which the therapist manipulates your arm.


    Thanks for your help and wisdom
    I hope that you can figure out my answers in bold above. Multi-quote doesn't work for me.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    42,373

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    Quote Originally Posted by alterchicken View Post
    Gosh well I went to the disabilities forum and read all the RC stuff on there and now it's scaring the crap out of me! Whoever said "wondering if you really need the surgery" was bang on...that's me now!

    Right, it gets worse until you are finally there and getting it done, buckle up!

    I do have use of the arm, definitely reduced mobility and constant pain to doing basically anything (sleeping was brutal but the cortisone has improved that aspect considerably). But typical horse person, I've learned to grit my teeth and just get on with life. Lots of "OW"s spurt out my mouth throughout the day though. Definitely have learned to lead left handed as the thought of having that arm wrenched by a horse strikes terror in me.

    It happened last May in a stupid fall (non horse related) where I was hanging by the arm and audibly heard the "snap/pop" when the tendon went. After the snap the arm literally dangled totally useless, just swung, couldn't move it at all for about 20 mins. Now that happens whenever it gets pulled hard, just swings with no control and pain is extreme, however it passes in a few minutes. I think there was a partial tear there already though for more than a year, that happened when a horse jerked it's head sideways fast to get a fly while I was leading it. Then when I did the fall it just tore the rest of the way.

    Sounds like you need that surgery to repair that before it gets worse.
    That was where I was, if that tendon had torn completely, it would have been emergency surgery to fish it back up and reattach it, the arm completely non-funtional then and who know what other damaged from that.


    Did anyone else have that swinging puppet arm with no ability to move it at all?

    Sure, that is why you have the pillow sling, that keeps the arm out there in the right position.
    Very important, while you don't want to be moving it, it also should not be totally immobil, as in a cast, or it may freeze in place and then be really hard on pt.


    Dr told me it's the main tendon over the shoulder that has the full thickness tear, I think it's called the supra something or other. The tear is 1cm now, he says when they get to 5cm then they are not repairable and the likelihood of it moving further apart over time is high.

    But at least right now I can bridle/halter horses, clean stalls, carry water buckets, tighten girths and ride! So the stories of the useless "noodle" arm after surgery for months are really scaring me and making me feel like I should be happy with what I've got!

    That is your call, be sure you are ok with the surgery, of course.

    Couple of questions for you guys:

    - sounds like the MRI doesn't always show everything and it could be worse once they get in there? I'm surprised if that's the case as I thought an MRI was so definitive.

    Shoulder is a very complicated joint and MRI is a snap in time, the next second after you move it, another MRI will show something else and so on.
    Best do a basic MRI for no big surprises and then go in there and see what else is needed.


    - I don't understand why you can't sleep in a bed after the surgery and for how long? Can anyone explain that?

    Some, because of the shoulder block interfering with that lung, you don't want to lay down and it fill with fluid, gravity at work while you are standing helps move things, best I understood, but that is a question for the surgeon or nurse, if indeed they tell you not to lay down for a few days, as they did me.
    I could not handle the recliner, getting in and out was bad, so I piled pillows on the bed and sat leaning on them.


    - what is the immobilizor? I was told I'd be in a sling for 6 weeks and total recovery time 6 months. How do you shower with the sling/immobilizor? Do you sleep with it also? Does the arm actually have the ability to move and you have to make sure you don't or is that shoulder actually not functioning?

    Pillow immobilizer sling for me was just about a week, then just the sling

    - the dressing thing sounds like a challenge too. How do you actually get a shirt on and off if that arm is not allowed to move? What do you come home from the hospital wearing? What about applying deodorant? Sounds stupid but I don't want to walk around stinky!

    Dressing for three little holes was nothing, use a plastic bag stuck into itself to make a shoulder sleeve for the shoulder and take showers for a few days.

    - The bra thing freaks me too as frankly I've got big girls and wear heavy duty bras. The sheer weight of them I'm scared will really pull on the shoulder. I was hoping for breast reduction surgery at some point but I guess doing them at the same time sounds out of the question. Anyone well endowed have this and how did they cope bra wise?

    Right, I would not try to put a strap over that shoulder for some days, but you still have the other shoulder if you want to wear a bra and you won't be doing any wild stuff anyway, but walking around carefully.

    - I am very rural and about 45 mins drive from any doctor or PT. So that worries me as I can't really be having husband drive me constantly to PT, also have farm and kids to look after. How often do you need to go to PT and how soon? Can you do most of it yourself at home?

    Ask the surgeon, he may let you, as he did me, do the exercises at home, every hour, for ten hours a day, a whole tiresome job, I tell you.
    Or he may send that machine so you can just sit there hooked to it and it will move your arm back and forth for you.
    Eventually, you will have to do the exercises yourself, once more mobil.


    Thanks for your help and wisdom
    I was surprised that, going to feed, while my arm was in the sling, it had a mind of it's own and would move my whole body away from the horses, being protective, a very strange feeling, to have your arm guide how you move.

    My horses were very sweet and polite, I think they knew I was tentative and not quite right.
    They seemed to be looking after me and being very careful.

    Until the shoulder block wears off, be careful not to hit door jambs, because you can't tell where your arm is at all.



  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2005
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    Wild Wild West
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    My surgeon went in arthroscopically first, looked around and saw what a mess there was, and opened me up. Really, it didn't matter that he opened me up. It's maybe a 3-inch incision and it healed very quickly. I had a few stitches in the incision that the surgeon removed the next week.

    Everyone says that you will not be able to sleep in bed and will need a recliner, but I slept in bed. Get lots of pillows to prop you up, because you will not be able to lay down at first. Build kind of a wedge behind your back to support you and have some extra pillows in case you want to put them under your arm or under your knees (to take the strain off your back).

    Have some button-up shirts available. They are the easiest thing to get into. Put the bad arm in first very carefully) and then put your good arm in. It wasn't very long before I could get my own shirt on. It was hard to put on (and button and zip) my jeans one-handed so some days I just wore sweatpants. The bra issue was comical. I am well-endowed and won't leave the house without one. Fortunately I had my husband's help. Like your shirt, put your bad arm in the strap first (or more appropriately, put the strap over your arm so you aren't moving your shoulder), then put the good arm in, then, if you have help, have someone else hook it. Leave the strap on the bad arm loose so it hangs off. I went home from surgery without a bra. It wasn't worth the gymnastics to put one on before I left the surgical center. The nurse will help you get dressed and she will love you if you have clothing that's easy to put on - sweatpants or pj bottoms, button-up shirt, and slip-on shoes (I never figured out how to tie shoes one-handed).

    After surgery plan on resting for a few days. It takes a while for the anesthesia to leave your system. Plain water is best for flushing out your system; drink lots of it The sports drinks have a lot of sugar in them which you don't need. Have some crackers around to have with your pain meds to avoid stomach upset and plan on taking something to avoid constipation (Miralax is great).

    As for immobilizers,slings,etc. different surgeons do different things I wore a sling for only two days. The immobilizer is a big thick pad you wear around your waist and your arm is supported by it. Not everyone needs one. I was allowed to shower a day or two after surgery; I just had to keep the incision dry.

    The thing is, you don't want to move your shoulder, intentionally or accidentally because the repaired tendon needs to heal. The sling reminds you to not move it but hopefully they will have you take the sling off and move your elbow, wrist, and hand throughout the day.

    For getting dressed, remember this - bring the clothing to your arm, not the arm to the clothing. To wash your hair, use one hand. When you are allowed to bend your arm at the elbow, bend your head forward and anchor your upper arm at your side and use your hand to wash your hair.

    You'll figure a lot out. It's amazing how resourceful you get!

    P



  11. #31
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    Feb. 11, 2005
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    alterchicken, sounds like it is the supraspinatus tendon. This is the same one I had repaired. You really need to have it done and just plan on the down time to recover. Without surgery it will get worse and you'll end up with a useless shoulder.

    I forgot to mention in my last post - you'll be able to get a stick of deodorant in there and apply it. If you care about shaving, shave right before surgery because that will be hard to do for quite a while.

    You need to ask your surgeon about PT; I was in PT the week after surgery. Other people don't go for many weeks. It depends on the surgeon.



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2005
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    upstate New York
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    Op, where are you? I work with a fellowship trained upper extremity surgeon who is nothing short of a miracle worker. He is fantastic and our ot guy is equally fabulous.



  13. #33
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2005
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    Try getting some sports bras that have the velcro on the straps, I use the Moving Comfort Fiona bra. I could pop the strap off the bad shoulder for my physiotherapist when they were giving me ultrasound and I didn't have to worry about getting the strap over my bad shoulder to put it on since I could do it up after it was in position. That begin said it did take me 5 months to be able to put my bra on over my head like I normally do without crying or swearing like the saltiest of sailors. My husband said he never dreamed he'd ever get so good at putting my bra ON...

    Shower at night after you take pain meds, I needed my husband to hold my arm in the same position it was in the sling for the first few weeks and I was still in tears by the time I finished showering. Also if you shower before bed you don't have the extra challenge of trying to bra up with damp skin...

    I got a huge t-shirt to wear home from surgery, I think it was a 4XL... You can slide it up over the injured arm then pull it over your head and slide your good arm through. I was back in regular t-shirts within a few days though, but I like mine on the large side so I had some wiggle room. Definitely get some track pants or loose sweats that you can pull up with one hand, doing up a fly or buttons on pants won't be happening for a while.

    I saw my doc the day after surgery and he removed the big dressings and I just had bandaids on the port incisions. I could shower as long as I didn't have water pouring directly on the incisions until I had the stitches out a week later.

    I still go to PT 3 days a week for about 2 hours each time. I have homework to do as well which takes almost as long. Talk to your PT and your doc about getting more of a home based program going since it's a long commute for you, most will be willing to work with you. My PT gave me some of the things I needed for doing the exercises at home and I went out and purchased a few on my own like the cheap kids ball for range of motion exercises...

    Get yourself one of those constant ice machines like the Breg Polarcare, you fill it up with ice and water and it pumps the cold water through a pad you put on your shoulder. It's a life saver after surgery, I used mine constantly for the first week or two, my husband got to know the cashiers at the local grocery store really well since he would pick up a bag or two of ice a day. Ice is your friend!

    Good luck, it will suck for a few months but it will be well worth it in the end!
    Freedom is the ability not to care what the other person thinks...

    Got air?! Member of the Asthmatic Riders Clique



  14. #34
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    I hope we are not scaring those contemplating that surgery too much.

    While some have pain, others not at all.

    It is inconvenient for a bit, especially not being able to drive.



  15. #35
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    There is a lot of really good info here for future patients. Maybe we could move all of this to another place for future reference when the OT forum shuts down.

    as for pain, it varies. I did not have the kind of pain I expected to have. Use ice if your surgeon tells you to, take your pain meds so you don't get behind the pain, and find a comfortable sleeping position.



  16. #36
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    Not a rotator cuff but in 2005, I knocked off a small piece of cartilage on the anterior portion of the shoulder. I believe it is known as a SLAP tear and it is quite common. SEVEN YEARS and seven different excellent surgeons/specialists, I finally found a doctor who was competent enough to diagnose and correct the tear this past February. I had virtually no cartilage holding my shoulder in place and I would displace at least two or three times a day… my fondest memories involve going to open a light door and displacing my shoulder before the door even moved!! Hell, I even slept with my shoulder displaced!! My surgery gave me my career back and I will forever be thankful to my wonderful surgeon.

    In April of 2013, I went in for the surgery and my life was literally hell for a grand total of a whopping week. Everything caused pain and it was awful. My quality of life greatly improved once I figured out how to get a sports bra within that first week… it took me nearly 2 hours to finagle it on but I did it! My recovery has been a really fantastic experience for me and I still celebrate small victories (it has been two weeks since I have gotten stuck in my Keeneland sweatshirt! )

    I would do it again tomorrow if I had to.

    I would highly recommend getting XXXXL sweatshirts/shirts to wear around. I held my arm in "sling" position and used my good arm to pull the fabric over. Keep lots and lots (and lots and LOTS!) of ice packs on hand and keep them on your shoulder constantly. I found that alternating Ibuprofen and Advil every 6 hours (so 3 hour splits) worked the best for pain control. Get lots of pillows to rest the arm on, you'll want to minimize the pull of gravity.

    After skimming over some of the comments, I would encourage you to not get spooked off by them. This isn't going to get any better and it would be better to get it repaired now than waiting until it gets worse (and it will). Like I said, I would have the same surgery tomorrow.
    Kaotic's Reality- the best ever and always. 01/17/90 - 01/09/09



  17. #37
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    So go in for surgery yesterday. MRI shows full tear and tendon retracted. Get the nerve block, go into OR, wake up in recovery and Dr comes in to say he couldn't find the tear and the tendon attachment looks fine. WTH?? So now I'm left with a blocked shoulder (which has now woken up...), pain from the holes in my shoulder, and no idea what is going on. Why is there limited movement and severe pain in my shoulder if it's totally fine? Can't wait to go to the Dr next week and hear the rest of this. Good thing I was still doped up yesterday or my language might have been a bit colorful.



  18. #38
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    Oh Tackpud, that sucks!

    Hopefully the doc has some ideas, I can't imagine how frustrated you must be! Keep us posted on what the doc says...
    Freedom is the ability not to care what the other person thinks...

    Got air?! Member of the Asthmatic Riders Clique



  19. #39
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    That is really weird. Let us know what you find out.



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tackpud View Post
    So go in for surgery yesterday. MRI shows full tear and tendon retracted. Get the nerve block, go into OR, wake up in recovery and Dr comes in to say he couldn't find the tear and the tendon attachment looks fine. WTH?? So now I'm left with a blocked shoulder (which has now woken up...), pain from the holes in my shoulder, and no idea what is going on. Why is there limited movement and severe pain in my shoulder if it's totally fine? Can't wait to go to the Dr next week and hear the rest of this. Good thing I was still doped up yesterday or my language might have been a bit colorful.
    What were they looking at someone else's MRI? That's inexcusable.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



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