Monday, January 27, 2014

THE BEST MEDICINE


 My regulars know I took a spill a couple of weeks ago and hurt my shoulder.  I didn't see a doctor but visited Dr. Google at his Mayo Clinic site and he informed me I was text book for a rotator cuff tear.  He also informed me that the healing process could be quite long and annoying but often did not require surgery. Doc Google has been spot on so far.

The initial breath sucking pain did subside after a week and I was left with a dull ache and only had the occasional sharp pain when I over reached, like getting dressed, undressed, or tending personal functions.I have gotten pretty handy with my left hand and arm.  I did develop an annoying and constant neck pain from awkward sleeping positions trying to avoid the shoulder at night.  

I have mentioned before that I am my own caregiver and a rather surly patient. There were times the caregiver in me  just wanted to huff out of the room and let my whiny self figure it out.   

Ha, no I am not a split personality, well I don't think I am. It is just my two functioning selves when I'm ill often squabble.

After two weeks, I finally managed to put on a bra.  The girls had enjoyed their freedom and really kind of liked it. Being winter with bulky clothes made being bra-less something I could get away with in public. But, I had a luncheon date with my friends and figured I probably couldn't wear a coat through out lunch, thus the demon bra. It hurt like a sucker putting it on but I finally made it. My girls were quite sulky about being confined once more.

Those of you my age or near it realize the main topic of conversation with a lot of older people is their health. Parts just fall off or fail after so many years.  We are like old cars, always in need of repair. A  woman that hadn't been to the luncheons in quite some time showed up and brought us up to date on the absolute misery she has been in while absent. 

She had previously had a mastectomy which qualified her for our Cancer survivor group.  Earlier last year she had knee surgery.  She just recently found out she will need surgery on her other leg due to dreadful circulation and is also scheduled for a heart bypass in 4 days.  The bypass is scheduled first. Yikes.  

For me, it was a classic case of  " I moaned because I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet."  She sure made my achy shoulder seem like a hangnail.  On the spot, I offered up a silent prayer for her health and recovery but then I added a quick PS in the form of a grateful thank you for having only a minor "owee" in comparison. 

When one of my friends who knew of my fall asked me to tell the ladies about it, all I could give was an embarrassed three sentence account. "I fell. I tore my rotator cuff. It is so much better."  My need to whine was gone.  

I have blog buddies who have had or are now dealing with a frozen shoulder--a MUCH worse condition.  Others are facing eminent, major surgery or dealing with life altering conditions.  Dang am I lucky. 

Oddly, getting away from my own minor problems helped more than all the pills and creams I had been using. I still have pain but somehow now, it is much more tolerable. I learned the quickest way to heal myself is to quit being obsessed with healing myself.  Most of you who are volunteers, all ready know the benefits of this transference of attention and action. I always have been slow to the table.

While getting out of myself is not a cure, it does make the process of healing so much more bearable. I am no longer a cranky patient but a patient one.  I still do my shoulder exercises but now am not angry that results aren't immediate. And oddly by expecting less and by feeling lucky instead of abused,  I am regaining  my health so much more quickly.  Yesterday was almost pain free.   

Ahh yes, old dogs can learn new tricks.
  

43 comments :

  1. Your post was a good reminder to be thankful for what you have (or don't have.) I'm glad to hear that you are finally getting some relief from the constant pain and that you are able to maintain that wonderful sense of humor about the things that occur in your life.

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  2. I'm a copy cat. Our weather had turned warm ...40 degs..... warm for us and five days ago it rained at night, turned cold again and snowed. I started out on my usual walk to discover that under the fluffy snow was a sheet of ice. I did the same as you, ass over tea cups or tea kettles or what ever the saying is. As I found myself on the hard ground (and wearing a skirt) I wondered if I broke anything.) I got up and everything seemed OK but the next morning my should and arm hurt. Next day, even worse. Now, it feels better but it was a scare too. Now I wear my ice cleates and use the walking sticks. All that helps a lot.

    Yeah, that woman sure did have a ton of things wrong.

    I'm happy for you that your pain is getting less. Hope it stays away and we both remain on our feet. Hahaha

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  3. I am a hypochondriac. Have always hated that "No shoes...no feet" analogy. Let me whine. Okay, okay, that is wrong. However my trigger finger is back and probably the worse ever, yet somehow I don't complain as much since Ron isn't here to listen to me. Somehow it is manageable with no one to hear me moan and groan.

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  4. Sometimes things are just put in perspective for us aren't they? I had never heard the "I moaned because I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet." saying before - that's actually very powerful and thought-provoking.

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  5. It took more than a year for my shoulder (probably rotator cuff injury) fully recovered, but now it's just fine. There are alternative ways to put on a bra than reaching behind, you know. Clasp it together in front (while backwards) and then turn it around and pull it up a little at a time. How did I learn this? Guess! :-)

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  6. So glad to read of improvement. Sometimes getting the brain in order helps as much much as the physical healing! Ice can be found in the oddest places....take care!

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  7. I had that same shoulder problem and it has healed (with some exercise)completely.

    Of course it ruined any chance at all of my pitching for the NY Yankees.

    Those little problems do go away when compared to the issues some others face...but you are still allowed to whine a little.

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  8. Excellent advice- it's so easy to get wrapped up in one's own aches and pains. I am finding that out the older I get. Everything is falling apart.

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  9. With a partially healed rotor injury, I feel very lucky! PT has helped a bunch.
    I have informed my kids that the minute I start to fixate on BM's I'm to be shot.
    I have had strangers tell me about their BM habits... ugh!

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  10. I did that to my shoulder about 5 years ago, although it might not have been as bad as yours. I didn't see a doc either, and small things were hard, such as turning on a lamp that sat a bit further back on the table next to my chair, or sleeping, or bathing. Please do continue those exercises, because, as you say, allowing that shoulder to freeze would be much worse. Little by little, mine got better and now I can reach back most of the time with no pain.

    My latest problem is Achilles tendonitis, and I started to complain about it at a neighborhood get-together, until I realized I was sitting between a woman who is wheel-chair bound due to a leg that had to have its femur removed and a woman who had a botched knee surgery and now has severe ankle pain and has to wear a brace. My problems almost dissolved after that.

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  11. I have a shoulder problem too??? Hips are reported, but this is the first time I've read about all the shoulder issues. hmmm... And, I wear those warm fluffy vests under my jacket so the girls are free almost all winter.

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  12. I bought a Genie Bra… those sold on TV things ~ you step into it but then you'd still have to pull it up… hmmmm well? buy some pasties. I saw some glue on cups … been tempted to try those … but at this age .. I mean HAHAaaaaaa… what a picture … droopy ol cup things… nah

    Loved this post, Patti… after I read blogs and learn of people younger than I … going through all manner of health issues… I get bent out of shape with myself if I ate onions the night before and feel all burpy the next morning… like this morning! I moan and groan over the fact that I can't eat onions and such at night any longer without paying for it.

    This getting old business as has been said. … is not for the faint hearted… but when I start complaining … I'm reminded how truly lucky I am. I just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop… and then I get pissed at me for thinking that….. it … is … always …. something….

    Back down to 28 tomorrow … love it, don't you? hiss

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  13. Linda B,
    Thanks Linda, me too. Humor does make the medicine go down easier plus it releases all those endorphins. Win/win

    Manzi,
    Ouch! Wow crashing is going around faster than the flu. You make #4. Not too exclusive a club. I probable should get some of those cleats. Lets both put this behind us.

    Grannie Annie,
    It really is kind of nice to be able to groan in peace and not have to fake bravery isn't it? Hope your trigger feels better soon.

    Keith,
    That saying has always stuck with me and helps me to get through some stuff.

    Djan,
    Ha,ha that is how I do it normally(I learned it when I did this same thing several years ago and just kept it up) but it still is really uncomfortable. So sorry it took a year for you to recuperate, I am hoping for sooner.

    smartcat,
    You are so right. Our brains can make or break us.

    joeh,
    I totally agree on the exercises. I did this several years ago and exercises really cut the recovery time. Glad you are better.
    So that is why the Yankees signed Tanaka?

    Terri,
    Thank you and me too. Sadly, collapsing via age is a progressive condition.

    Brighid,
    Do you suppose your kids will hire out? I so agree and wish the same fate.

    Judy,
    I am so glad you are better and I do totally believe in the exercises. They really help.
    Sometimes a little comparison as we look around can change our outlook.
    Hope you find relief for that heel.

    turquoisemoon,
    Yep, it was a couple posts ago. I took a spill on some ice. Ha, my girls are free most of winter also unless I have to go somewhere I have to dress up a bit. They sure like their freedom:))

    Carolyn,
    Ha, the image of pasties is just too scary. Those days are history.
    I know, it is so easy to think we have such awful problems. Then we look around and realize just how lucky we are.

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  14. I think I will revisit this post many times in the future, as my body continues to play painful tricks on me. I need to remember that there are so many who are suffering far worse than I. It's easy to forget that and whine about my aches and pains. So, thank you for that, and I am so glad that you are feeling better.

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  15. "Tincture of Time" is one of my husband's favorite remedies. And sometimes all you can do is wait it out. Good luck.

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  16. I laughed when you talked about 'the girls' being free....Since I cannot go anywhere my 'girls'are free ALL the time, and very Happy about it!
    I feel our Health Issues are all my friends and I talk about, practically....Well, in truth, a lot of time of the day is spent on these age related things, plus the other stuff that starts to happen. It can be a big bore, but, sometimes commiserating makes you feel better.....take good care of that shoulder, my dear....!

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  17. You win my vote for the best blog of the day!

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  18. The mind does have healing powers and it is so helped by a positive attitude, but I have also found that a brief wallow in self-pity doesn't hurt and has its own healing effect.
    Mike went to a physical therapist after a long time suffering with his shoulder. She taped it and gave him a couple of simple exercises and he was back in shape in no time. Now, I tape sore muscles myself.

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  19. I have had a shoulder problem of some kind, but time and babying it has helped a lot. Now I think Uncle Arthur has settled in that shoulder because I sleep on my right side a lot and when I wake up the dang thing is hurting. Oh well. It doesn't do me any good to complain. It is what it is. I just feel fortunate anymore if I can get up and walk. That was hard for me for so many years with my ankle that was badly broken. I'm happy your shoulder is getting much better! Take care!

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  20. Great reminder! Speedy recovery on your shoulder too. I always appreciate a body part most right after it heals from an injury.

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  21. So sorry that you have the shoulder injury, it is amazing how such things can affect nearly everything you do through the day. Glad that it appears to be mending. Isn't Dr Google good!!!!
    Kind thoughts from us not all that far from the South Pole,

    P, L, and NS xxxxx + careful hugs!!!

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  22. Poor thing... Sorry about your pain --but you truly do handle things like this well. I never think of you as a complainer. You are a glass-half full person instead of a glass-half empty one.... That is GOOD!!!! Proud of you.

    I have a blog friend who whines and gripes and gets a lot of Poor Me attention from all of us blog friends... She loves the attention --but doesn't take time like you do to count her many blessings...

    Bless you.
    Hugs,
    Betsy
    P.S. I had lunch with a friend today--and guess what we talked about: our health (aches and pains). ha

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  23. Good for you for being able to put this into perspective to come up with a healthier mental outlook that will see you through your ordeal.Take care and don't tax yourself too much.

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  24. A friend of mine--in her early 60's--had surgery for rotator cuff repair and it was DAY surgery! Amazing!
    She had one or two bad days, but that was it.

    Patti, Patti, Patti. . . hook that bra in the front and twist it around!

    Hope you recover as easily as my friend. I'm glad you can still type,

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  25. robin,
    I need the reminder myself. It is something I know but tend to forget.

    NCMountainwoman,
    I like "Tincture of Time". No side effects and is the right price.

    Naomi,
    I know. They do love their freedom don't they? I think mine have gone feral.

    Nan Talley,
    Wow, Thank you so much.

    Olga,
    If I don't heal, I may try that. With this, you have to be careful of not using it or it will freeze.

    Cheryl,
    Sometimes we have to be grateful for the small things. I sleep on that side also which is why I kept getting a sore neck trying not to hurt the shoulder.

    islandwonder,
    How right you are. Injury is when we find out just what that part does for a living.

    Peter,
    Thanks so much. Dr. Google is really good and I love his fees. Hadn't thought about it but yes, you are the closest to the South Pole of anyone I know.

    Betsy,
    I have always been a half full type of person. I think it is less stressful, much easier and I am basically lazy.

    Stephen,
    You are so right. The mind can make or break us. Keeping it happy makes all of life easier.

    marylee,
    Thanks but that is how I always do it:)) I learned that the last time I messed up my shoulder. Still even with that trick, donning a bra hurts. Better to let the girls be free as much as possible.

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  26. Ah yes! I've had adhesive capsilities (frozen shoulder), bursitis and tendinitis. None of it is fun, but the frozen shoulder takes the prize for pain. Don't you need some physical therapy for the torn rotator cuff though? I really think you should march yourself to the doctor and get it checked.

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  27. Getting old, having parts fail, yes, such a pain. But you are right. We count our blessings in the light of real suffering.

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  28. I've done a few things to myself that most would likely run off to the ER for. Probably broke a rib or two over a decade ago falling off of a trailer - they are still misshapen, screwed up my shoulder a year or so ago (sounds similar to yours, BTW, except for the bra thing), and certainly broke and/or dislocated a toe last year while running in 5-finger shoes in the woods of Vermont. Meh. I grew up with stubborn Pennsylvanians as parents. Slap some duct tape on that puppy and go, is pretty much what I learned. ;)

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  29. I'm glad to hear your shoulder is doing so much better! And without surgery--can't beat that!

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  30. "I moaned because I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet." If I had a dollar for every time my mom said that to me if I dared mention ANYthing I would be a rich woman. Well, it IS true, but a little compassion for ourselves is ok too, in my book anyway. Just not too much. :) LOL! Yep, I agree, talking about BM's is where I draw the line!! Take care of yourself

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  31. I feel guilty now, I'm worried about going to the doctor's tomorrow about my stye that won't heal. Pathetic really. You are so right the less we obsess about things, the quicker they heal and go.

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  32. I never thought of you as a person slow to the table. haha...Like that expression you used. Now me I do fall in that category. Having suffered through a rota-tor cuff like yours I understand completely why you would have your moments because the pain is excruciating.
    Being with others and hearing their problems most often make us realize ours are not as awful as we we think they are.
    Hang in there and keep doing those arm exercises they do eventually help.
    I of course had to laugh at your writing about the girls liking their freedom. At our age it is nice now and then to let them have it. lol
    Hope your staying warm. What a winter we are having but nothing like our poor blogging buddies further north. Amazing how they manage to hang on to their sanity through these winter months.
    Love ya
    Maggie

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  33. Kay,
    Thanks, It was yours and Linda W's episode with frozen shoulder that got me on a shoulder exercise program early on. It has really ramped up the healing.

    Linda R.
    You have been a stellar example of how to deal with medical problems. Your attitude and push through problems has been a marvel.

    Barry,
    Ha ha, Ok, I knew I was forgetting something---duct tape. Like you, a doctor other than Google, is usually the last resort unless a part is hanging off.

    pattisjarrett,
    Thank you so much and I know I am lucky.

    Aunt Betsy,
    Me too on hearing it a lot only it really made an impression on me that first time. I even worried about all those hungry children in China:)) Guess you could call me obedient.

    Joey,
    I am glad you are going. You have had that stye for an incredibly long time. Hope the doc can help you with that.

    Maggie,
    Thanks friend. The pain does get your attention doesn't it? This is my second time and last time, exercise really helped. I am much better thank you.
    I feel for you Texans. You'all aren't geared for these temps. Stay warm.

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  34. Glad to hear that you're getting better. Been there, done the torn rotator cuff stuff. Not fun. Hang in there!

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  35. I told my doctor once that I used to be a hypochondriac until I got type 1 diabetes. It's kept me so busy, I haven't had time to worry about anything else.

    Seriously though, I am sorry you fell too and glad that you are feeling better. My pain has moved to just one place now and I found the right pain meds for me, simple headache pills work better than all that strong stuff that make you lose your mind.

    All the best to you.

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  36. Sweet Patti it is good to hear that your shoulder is making progress toward healing. I think this is a beautiful post my friend. My heart goes out to your friend with all the problems and she will be in my prayers right along with you. Stay safe, no more falling and keep on healing. Hugs

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  37. Even at the worst of my Shingles pain I forced myself to go to my volunteer job at our Free Care Clinic. It worked just like you said ...seeing others in worse condition and just plain getting out of myself worked like magic !

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  38. Pat,
    Sorry you had it also. I guess it is about as common as shingles in seniors.

    Inger,
    Me too on just nsaids. They do enough of the job to get by. Glad you are doing better.

    Maggie,
    Thank you so much for your prayers for my friend also. She is having a rough go of it.

    Ginnie,
    It is almost a miracle drug isn't it?

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  39. Patti, you are not only a trooper, but you are also an inspiration. What you say is true. I live with chronic pain, but I try not to let it take over my life. Like you, I have learned that I really have no health problems when I compare myself to others in my same age bracket. I try to take to practice good self care in several areas of my life so I don't get out of balance and focus on one aspect of my life. Also, I look at my mother who at 97, nearly 98, went to the doctor twice last year. The year before that, she went once. She is great at doctoring herself with Dr. Google too. She takes few medicines. I do think she is fortunate not to have the arthritis that makes life hard for a lot of older folks.

    Also, when my mom had this same injury years ago, she started wearing a bra that hooks in the front. She also did the exercises and it healed itself enough that she never had surgery.

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  40. And you have expanded those new tricks to sharing what you've learned. Thanks for the reminder. It helps.

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  41. Dear Arkansas Patti, thank you for this posting. It certainly put into perspective for me the minor aches and pains I have. And it helped me realize that I've become some what of a whiner in the last few years. I hope to adopt your philosophy from now on.

    And I'm so glad that you are taking time off so as to tend to the thinking of good thoughts and the taking care of yourself and being your own caregiver. Peace.

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  42. Sally,
    You are doing everything right and sometimes it is easy to forget we are most often quite lucky till we look around. How wonderful your Mom is doing SO well. It must be a comfort to know you have great genes.

    LC,
    Thank you. Your attitude is one I shoot for. You so impress me with your humor and resolve.

    Dee,
    Sometimes it is really hard when the minor stuff piles up and a lot of your stuff I wouldn't call minor. You are walking courage and strength

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  43. Hi Patti, I see you haven't posted for awhile. I've been off-line, too - just getting back to it. Hope by now your shoulder is so much better. I agree that seeing the issues others face often puts my own problems into perspective. Of course, that doesn't mean I am always altruistic! A little self-pity never hurts... Bob had a shoulder issue for years - now he he has a foot issue that bothers him more, so the shoulder doesn't seem as bad. (Not hoping this transference happens to you!)

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