On Life and Love

Shoulder Diagnosis and (Pending) Fix

I got an MRI with contrast last Friday afternoon. That process was quite unpleasant–I’d thought the contrast might be issued intravenously, but, alas, it was not. I had a shot into my shoulder socket.

Friday night was rough, because the contrast caused serious swelling in the socket. It took until Saturday afternoon for me to get the swelling back under control with my measly, widely-spaced ibuprofen doses.

I saw Dr. H for the results Monday morning, and there’s evidence of shoulder impingement from the shape of my acromial bone, plus some fraying (and possible tear) in the anterior area of my labrum. I got referred to Dr. H’s favorite shoulder surgeon, Dr. B.

I met Dr. B yesterday afternoon, and although we talked about the possibility of doing a couple months of rehab to see if that heals things up, he agreed that (given levels of pain, the duration of pain, etc.) surgery was certainly a reasonable option.

Despite the MRI, Dr. B won’t know for sure if the fraying and “irregularity” (the radiologist’s word) in the rear labrum is a full tear until they go in and look. So they’re planning for it to be a tear, just in case.

In addition — and this was unexpected — they recommend that something be done about my loosey-goosey shoulder socket. I knew that all that delicious flexibility was a culprit in some of my issues, but Dr. B wants to go in tighten up the ligaments.

Tighten up. The ligaments. Just let that mental image wash over you.

The short-term recovery is also much worse than my research suggested it would be. Six weeks in a sling. Six weeks. Folks, it’s almost summer. That’s going to be bullshit in the heat. Then (with some overlap) a couple months of rehab, which I don’t mind.

“At least” one week off from work. Two weeks without driving. A few days (maybe a week) of someone staying with me to help out (I’ll be on narcotics, and the arm will be initially pretty immobile). Sleeping in a recliner instead of lying flat. The typical care for incisions (not getting them wet, etc.).

I’m currently on my way to NYC for the weekend, but once I get some scheduling worked out with my boss, I’m going to schedule the surgery. I’m hoping for an appointment as soon as June 10.