Friday, November 14, 2014

Living with the Pain of a Dislocated Shoulder

Just about the only driving I am doing these days.

____Sympathy for the Devil.

 "There but for the grace of God, go I." has always been my thought when I see the bad luck suffered by others. But now it's my turn. Your guardian angel steps out of the office for a cigarette and in a heartbeat your life goes from "Fair to middling" down to "Down-right shitty." I could write a piece moaning about my moaning but I'm going to be positive and give some advice on what to do if you find yourself in my situation.

____Do not Google.

The Internet is great and I love it; information at your fingertips on every subject under the Sun. But when it comes to medical issues; maybe there is too much information. Reading all the stuff about your condition will only leave you feeling worse. You may become an expert and understand such phrases as "Multiple fractures of the rotator cusp due to reduction failures." But this will lead to mental health problems; especially when realise that you know more about shoulders than some of the doctors who have treated you.

____Phone a Friend.

With hind-sight; my first mistake in this saga was going to the nearest hospital. A small urban facility that would not have been my destination if I had called an ambulance. Now back at home; I didn't want repeat this by going to the local Steinbach hospital and just hope they could get me back to fitness. I'm sure they would do their best but shoulders are special so why not go to the specialist first? If your local health-care provider fucks it up; you'll end up at a specialist anyway and will have wasted a hell of a lot of time. My good friend and fellow blogger, Bobthedog, suffered serious shoulder damage in an atv/quad-bike accident. Now back to full fitness, a quick call told me that the Pan-Am Clinic in Winnipeg was the best place to go.

____Be a patient Patient.

The Pan-Am started out as a small sports injury clinic attached to the Pan-Am Pool, a facility built in 1967 when the Pan-Am Games were held in Winnipeg. It is now a large well-regarded centre for all types of injuries; with a first-come-first-served hobble-in service. Be prepared for long waits between check-in, exam, x-ray, re-exam; but they do know their stuff and it's not like a normal hospital where you are waiting around with a whole bunch of sick people and are liable to catch something. Life has to be planned around clinic appointments with only total uncertainty controlling the future.

____Buy a 1990's beige Buick Century.

A black Mustang is not the right car for you if you are pottering along at 35 mph in an opiate-induced haze with your left arm strapped to your chest. Some do-gooder will phone it in as a DUI. If it's an old guy in a Buick Century; it's expected. Get used to acting as if you are in God's waiting room. Everything takes time; washing, eating, even sleeping. I've always gone to sleep; laying on my stomach so sitting-up with a pile of pillows behind me is not what my body expects. The drugs don't help either; I doubt if I've had more than four hours of continuous sleep in the last three weeks.

____Shit Happens.

Make sure shit happens. Morphine is a great pain reduction drug but it does have side effects. One is: the Workers Compensation Board don't like it's habit forming qualities and won't authorise prescriptions for it. You have to pay for it. Second: it binds you up. Avoiding one-armed visits to the crapper might seem like a good idea at first; but you will pay for it in the end. The pain in the arse will match the pain in the shoulder. Keep constipation at bay with plenty of fibre and fizzy drinks. Get in a supply of laxative chocolate; even if you don't use it, you can have some fun with it afterwards. You don't want end up sitting on the bog for hours; thinking about the wonderful times when you over-did the truck-stop buffet and it went through you faster than a Ferrari.                  

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