Saturday, 9 February 2019

My shoulder op

On Tuesday I had surgery on my left shoulder to repair some of the damage done by an injury two and a half years ago (click here and scroll down to under the photo of me stretching in straddle). 
Two and a half years ago - English Champs 2016
This injury occurred when I did a (deliberate!) forward roll off the horse, but got my left hand stuck in the handle. The horse was big so my arm was up at its farthest reach, so as he moved and I didn’t there was a ‘pop’ and my acromioclavicular joint (shoulder blade/collar bone) pulled apart. It’s no coincidence that the left arm is the one that has everything happen to it - this particular injury was caused by the fact that I can’t control my left hand properly so couldn’t let go of the handle properly. Anyway, you live and learn, and now I just try not to hold on with that hand!

The injury was treated conservatively for some time with a combination of rest, physio and steroid injections. It took over a year to regain a reasonable range of motion, but I still had a lot of pain. Over the last year, I was getting more and more pain from shoulder impingement, which is where a tendon on the outside of the shoulder gets caught when you try to lift your arm. This in turn was causing severe nerve pain down my arm, which was the kind of pain to make you want to shout obscenities very loudly - not ideal when you work in a primary school!
An MRI revealed that there was abnormal bone growth which was causing some of the impingement and a lot of the pain. The jagged bone needed to be removed and more space created underneath the acromion (the outside tip of the shoulder blade). There was also a question mark over a rotator cuff (tendon) repair - going into the operation, the surgeon wasn’t sure if it would be necessary to try to repair the tendon, or whether removing the bone would be a significant enough change. For now, I haven’t had the rotator cuff done, which gives me a much better recovery time but does of course mean that they might need to go in again at some point. Fingers crossed my jagged bone sacrifice was enough and they can leave it for good!

For the surgery I had three separate injections designed to knock me out in various ways. The first was a sedative, which was just supposed to make me feel calm and possibly was meant to make the second one, the nerve block, less painful. It didn’t!
No, that isn't me.
Anyway, after the sedative was swimming around in me they located the right site for the injection of the nerve block. It was going in through the side of my neck, and they found my nerve for the precise point with an ultrasound scanner. As it went in it reeeeeally made my muscles in my arm hurt. I don’t think that’s meant to happen but fortunately they gave me the general and then I wasn’t aware anymore!

Anyway, after the nerve block going in and being sore I don’t remember anything until waking up in Recovery. Obviously I was a bit confused to begin with but then I started shaking like mad and couldn’t stop. I remember them taking all my vitals and me trying to tell them that I really wasn’t feeling good (which, with hindsight, probably wasn’t necessary). It felt like I was jumping around for ages but it can’t have been long before they realised that actually I wasn’t horrifically ill, just very, very, very cold!
They then found an amazing electric blanket thing which kind of had the consistency of two paper table cloths glued together around the edges, but which connected to a large tube which blasted hot air between the two layers. The relief was almost immediate, and for good measure they rolled up a blanket and wrapped it around my head. When I got back to the ward my mum sympathetically laughed and told me that I looked like a caterpillar. They actually closed the whole recovery bay I’d been in because it was so cold and even the doctors and nurses were freezing!
Caterpillar --> cosy --> Trumpapillar

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