Shoulder operation update

8th Jun 2012


I am now just over a week post my shoulder operation (SLAP lesion repair) and things seem to be progressing well. I am very pleased to report that my general anaesthetic was a completely different experience from the last one I had in April. It was totally pain-free and non-traumatic and I am now feeling better about having them in the future. I was only in hospital for a few hours and was discharged early evening feeling slightly euphoric. I think it was quite funny for Tim and Alex (our house mate) because they said I was completely on one. I have to admit I was feeling great, I had no pain and was a little bit hyper if the truth be told. At about 10pm, I somehow set up my tripod and camera (one-handed) and was taking rubbish pictures of the moon out of the back door. It was quite a funny sight and apparently I couldn’t stop talking either; they both said I kept repeating myself but I’m not sure I believe them, in fact I’m not sure I believe them…

The view from my hospital window, very nice. Somehow I was referred as an NHS patient to a private hospital and you can see the difference.

Before the op, I was told I was going to have a nerve block as well as the general, which is normal procedure these days. The anaesthetist is duty bound to tell me that there is a low statistical danger of long term/ permanent damage from the nerve block. This got my alarm bells ringing and I voiced concerns about losing the effective use of my arm. If I was one of the unlucky ones that this happened to, I would end up a lot worse off than if I’d never had the operation. I basically wouldn’t be able to climb. So I asked the surgeon how much pain I’d be in and he implied a lot and that 95% of people have the block. So feeling a bit rushed, I said “ok, I’ll risk it, give me the injection”. They inject it through your neck and I think I didn’t really fancy that while I was awake.

My very civilised hospital lunch- Northern General Hospital, take note!

But as it turned out, the anaesthetist came back a little while later and said he’d found out I was a professional sportsperson and said they usually withheld giving the block while under the general and only gave it if it was needed when the patient came round. That way there was a chance to minimise the risk due to the patient being conscious and able to feedback whether the needle was in the right place- yuk! I felt relieved at this conclusion though, as in all honestly I didn’t want the nerve block at all. And the upshot of it was, was that I didn’t need it (unless they secretly gave it to me and I don’t know yet). I really didn’t have much pain at all. I was handed a bagful of co-codamol etc to go home with and have never taken any. I have taken paracetamol and they seem to have worked fine. The interesting thing is my Aunt recommended I take arnica pillules, leading up to and after surgery. Which I have done and I don’t know if they’ve helped or not but everything seems to be going very well so far. So whether you believe in the efficacy of homeopathy or not, it’s gotta be worth a try.

Recovering post op and feeling surprisingly chirrpy.

Unfortunately, the day after the op, I was bitten by a dog on my forearm and had to go and spend a few hours in the minor injuries unit to get cleaned and stitched. They also had to cut some blobs of fat off that were poking out of the wounds, which wasn’t particularly pleasant! Fortunately fat hasn’t got any nerves, so I couldn’t feel a thing. It was just a random accident in the park and my arm found itself the wrong side of a scuffle over a stick but I now know just how painful a dog bite is, my arm is still hurting a week later. I think the muscle was damaged a little and using my hand to pick anything up was not easy. So it was ridiculous there for a day or so, as one arm was non-usable in a sling and the other had puncture wounds and stitches and was very painful to do anything; getting dressed took ages! I do wonder how these things happen to me sometimes- keeps life intriguing though. The interesting thing the nurse said, was that out of a dog, cat or human bites, the dog bite was the least harmful in terms of germs etc, which surprised me. She said human bites were a lot nastier and had to be cleaned up really well.

Tim has become my personal physio, bless him. He is having to give me exercises three times a day, as I can’t move my arm myself yet. At first it was agonising and the session was taking about forty minutes due to him having to move my arm so slowly. But now a week down the line, my mobility has improved a massive amount and the pain is so much better and not as nauseating. I am very lucky that he isn’t working away at the moment as trying to get other people to administer the physio would’ve been very hard. I’ve got no idea how people cope on their own. And it’s a very clear illustration of just how important it is to do your physio exercises when you are given them.

The good news is that I saw the hospital physio yesterday and my progress is very good and we just have to stick with what we are doing until I see the surgeon next Friday. I’m looking forward to that, as I still don’t know what they actually found wrong in my shoulder. All I know is that he said, if they went in and happened to find it wasn’t a SLAP tear, I would only have one incision but if it was a SLAP, then I would have three incisions (all keyhole) but somehow I’ve ended up with four!! So I’m quite keen to know why and what they found, watch this space…

Enjoy the fantastic summery weather we are experiencing, I’m loving the rain it’s so refreshing- NOT! I’m just praying for sun, as it always helps to lift my spirits. I’m not too bad at the mo, but can feel boredom setting in again and a strong need to drive my car off into the distance but patience is (almost) being practiced.

Me and Buis charging around on Hell's Mouth beach, enjoying some open space and freedom before the operation.