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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    3,473

    Default Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    I had an MRI for some shoulder pain and it showed multiple tears. To say that I was deflated upon hearing that is an understatement. I screwed it up rearranging our son's room and moving furniture. I have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday when I'll get a sense of how bad it is and what I'll be up against.

    I have work scheduled this week but using the 32' extension ladder is out. I really wish I could just find out exactly what I'll need and get the surgery out of the way to start the long road to recovery. And in the bad timing department, I finally got around to getting a disability insurance policy for myself as I have not had any of this coverage since I worked in the corporate world. My policy got approved but they said they will not cover me for anything related to this shoulder which I expected.

    In any event, I fully expect to me on the shelf and bored out of my mind for a while. I'll report back with what the orthopedist says.

    If any of you don't have disability policies, look into one.

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    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  2. #2
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    I have had two shoulder surgeries. Both time it was arthroscopic, three small holes...tools, air and is leg......both required repairs to cuff and tendon thermal shrinkage encapsulation...and cleaned up the popcorn,,fluffy white stuff.no pins or staples....it was like they shrink wrapped the tendon from the inside.

    Been ten years now, yeah it bothers me, but, they don't fall out anymore....I took no pain meds as they mess me up... two weeks back to work and then another few weeks until I could start crazy training and work outs,,was a soldier back then...bank on a month...it's about pain management.... likes pain lol...

    Good luck....


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    McKinney Texas
    Posts
    475

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    I had that surgery. The surgery is the easy part. It's the recovery and the therapy that is difficult. You won't be putting any ladders up for a while after the surgery. Also if you do not do your therapy properly, you will regret it in the long run. My surgery was seven years ago, I have no side effects from it, I can do anything now including climbing on houses and putting up ladders.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    2,776

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Nick,
    Been there and have the funky sling to prove it.

    Mine was two fold, a worn out joint that had to be resurfaced and a Cuff tear.

    Immediate post surgery was not to bad. 5 days on oxicoden then Ibuprofen.

    Had 6 weeks or so in a sling 24/7. The new style/method has a hip pad that keeps your arm positioned about 4 inches or so away from you body, with an exercise ball for your hand.

    Then it was off to PT. Which is when the real pain begins. You work at stretching/joint out the arm and regaining movement. It is painful, speaking from the standpoint that the normal 10 on the pain scale is a 3 or 4 on mine. The worst of the exercises is one that you pull your arm up your back toward your shoulder blade using a towel or a belt.

    Since you are so limited for what you can do, you have a lot of time on your hands, unless you have a desk job or great people at Walmart.

    I found a gym that had a whirlpool hot tub. Went to PT 1hr @2x/week and then to gym for 3+ hrs. On no PT days I would hit the gym 3+hrs in the AM early and back in the afternoon for another 3hrs. Would elliptical for 1hr then move to working on the arm for 2hrs followed by the hot tub to soak arm in the jets for 30 or 40 min.

    Then in the evening I would exercise 1 hr in the evening.

    I was motivated to get going again. PT discharged me at 95% range of motion recovered and I stayed on the regiment till I could lift a 40 ft ladder to the rack on the truck roof. Which seemed to be the real test for my recovery. 12 weeks, I think, post surgical.

    You will find that there are 4 parts to your recovery.
    1) Range of motion for shoulder.
    2) Range of motion without pain.
    3) Regaining strength in arm from lack of use.
    4) Maintaining cardio and general muscular level while your activity is diminished.

    Oddly enough this will be a time where "No pain - No gain" is definitely true.
    Talk over you approach with the PT. Usually once the Orthopedic sends you to the PT you are healed and pain (level 10+) will stop you from doing damage to yourself.. That passing out will stop you every time. But truly you do have to work through the pain to get back to normal.

    My surgery was a little different since it also involved the joint. Which did leave me with recurring pain at the joint. Though the cuff has no pain issues.

    Good luck..


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Thanks for the info guys. I see the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow and my anxiety level is through the roof because I just don't know what he's going to say when he views the MRI and reads the clinical report which lists 5 tears in the shoulder. I know it can be corrected but I just want to get it over with. And there is a a lot I have to do just to be prepared for post surgery considering I will be essentially useless for a couple months and spending the days alone.

    I'll report back with what I hear at my appointment tomorrow.

    12 weeks post surgery to lift and load a 40 foot ladder Garry? I would consider myself very lucky to be back that quick.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    McKinney Texas
    Posts
    475

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Two steps to successful rotater surgery:

    (1) You are going to need someone at home to watch over you for a few days, because you will be on pain meds so strong you will not be able to function fully and will sleep a lot the first 2 days. Also, you should be getting an ice machine to keep the swelling down. Ask about that. You and your family need to be prepared when you walk back in your door. It will not be a normal day to day for several days. you will be okay but you will need help for several days. The more you prepare the easier it will be. I had to sleep in an easy chair for at least a week and I think you will to so prepare for that. Ask your Doctor about your first week at home. Don't underestimate this.

    (2) Don't blow off your therapy they will have you on. I promise you will regret it if you do.


  7. #7
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Things I didnt consider about about post surgery:

    Reaching for anything with the affected arm: doors, handles, toilet paper, answering the phone, drying head (really short hair). Accidental moments when you think you can catch whatever is falling...
    Hopefully your friends have some sympathy. mine always feigned punching you in the shoulder, and watching you react...its only funny a few dozen times

    My Jeep was a 5 speed, I needed a lift for a bit. Both times.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    FLORIDA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Oh my gosh...Let me give you a really unbelieable story. I slipped and fell while pressure cleaning an empty pool. I tore my rotator cuff. HOLY MACKERAL THAT WAS UNBELIEVABLY PAINFULL...
    I had an MRI and the tear was evident. I scheduled surgery.
    But since the pain went away after a while..I postponed the surgery and I was left somwhat disabled...but I was too busy to have 3 weeks of no pay.
    I had to climb to the top rung of a ladder and bend sideways to use my right arm to reach an 8 foot ceiling..I had to lift my hip to get my hand high enough to open a door and usually had to use my left hand to raise my right arm. This lasted 8 months..no progress..but no pain.
    .Then my neighbor came over to my house..asked me to install a sink for her..I told her that i would not be able to do it properly untill I had my shoulder fixed She is a carribean islander..She put her hand on my shoulder in my front yard..no crap...started a mix of christian/carribean stuff very loudly(EMBARRASSING)..then told me my shoulder would be healed in 2 weeks..and 14 days later it was perfect..and never gives me any problems ever. IRONICALLY...IM AFRAID OF HER NOW..AND I NEVER installed HER SINK.. ..Yes, I'm gratefull, but dont want get caugt up in any creepy stuff.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    2,776

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    I had forgotten about the chair. Like Gene mentioned. I to spent the 4 or 5 day and nights sleeping in a rocker/recliner. It allowed me to sleep without allowing me to roll around while I was asleep. It also help keep the arm still during the day while I was in a drugged stupor.

    You may want to look for some over sized sweat shirt or similar that you can put on without moving the arm around to much.

    My recover was quicker than normal, but I was motivated. I had no time table when I started. I accepted that it take as long as it takes, but I was going to do as much as I could to promote the recuperation. Just remember not to get wrapped up worrying about things. Just take it in stride.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    McKinney Texas
    Posts
    475

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Yes, absolutely have an easy chair available to sleep in. A bed won't really work because I think the doc wants the shoulder elevated. The chair will also keep you from rolling over on it.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Just got back from the orthopedist and it went far better than I was expecting. The doctor was in no rush to operate and suggested physical therapy before opting for surgery. He said there are definitely tears in there but based on the strength/pain tests he gave me in the office, he was not extremely concerned. He did say that if I opt for surgery which I think is likely at some point in the future, if they find more damage, it would need to be fixed. He told me arthoscopic repair of the shoulder would be a 2-3 month recovery which is far less than everything I've been reading. My wife went with me as a second set of ears to make sure I was hearing the doctor correctly and we both came out with the same understanding of his assessment.

    For now, I'll keep taking my glucosamine chondroiton MSM supplements, taking Aleve as needed, and do my rotator cuff strengthening exercises. I can at least work through the busy time for the start of the year and revisit the surgery option if things don't improve after doing physical therapy for 1 month.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  12. #12
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Great news, dont go under the knife until you have to...I had the opportunity to plan/schedule my second surgery. If you get the option pay attention to what time of year you get it done. I still had my boys at home, and they shoveled all the snow. It worked out quite well. Timing is everything

    Good luck


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    McKinney Texas
    Posts
    475

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Most rotator cuffs do not tear "all at once". They tear a little at a time over the years, until you get "the big one". Be careful of that shoulder to prevent "the big one". You will know it when it happens, you can feel it pop. I dont know if you do exercise but avoid doing chin ups. They are bad for rotator cuffs. Avoid yanking on things or jerking things like ladders, tools, ext cords. It is those "yanks" to avoid. Pull on things gradually, do not yank on them.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Exercise and working out is one of the main reasons I'd get the surgery done. I haven't been able to work out the way I like to in 9 months because of shoulder aches and pains. I'm OK with sticking with low weight and high repetition in the future but pain free is what is most important to me right now.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: Rotator Cuff Surgery Likely For Me

    Sorry to hear of this Nick. On the bright side, the sharing of your story may help someone to do more in preventing this type of injury. You have my thoughts and prayers during this time.


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