One month after the accident, I went to the orthopedist, who checked
out how far forward and sideways I could move my arm (which was
embarrassingly little), and sent me to Physical Therapy.
relationship a patient develops with a physical therapist is unique, no
doubt about it. There you are, feeling helpless and pitifully unable
to do the simplest of movements with your injured limb. The PT is like
a lifesaver thrown to a drowning man. He or she is your lifeline back
to being a Two-Armed Person. But, in that quest, he or she will have
you do things with your poor injured limb (and do things to it, too)
that, to put it mildly, hurt. And you have to trust that
they’re not injuring you further, they’re helping you to heal. As
Laurie, my wonderful PT puts it, "It’s a good stretch." From my perspective, though, sometimes what she calls, "a good stretch" has me convinced that my arm will drop off if she continues!
I have now completed 7 PT sessions.Â I was afraid to write anything
about this at the very beginning because, at my very first session, as
I was trying to move my arm more than an inch, I was watching other
patients around me (also with shoulder injuries) heave weights, hoist
their arms over their heads, and work out on the arms portions of one
of those arms-and-legs-together exercycles. I could barely point at
the floor two feet in front of me.
To make matters worse, after my first PT session, my shoulder popped out of joint again–in the middle of the night.
I didn’t realize at first what had happened; I couldn’t figure out why
it hurt so much, and then I realized that it was further forward than
it had been, kind of like when it had been dislocated. I tried
changing positions, and then pushed on my shoulder, first gingerly, and
then with more force, and definitely desperately. Suddenly, I felt a
"pop," and then the pain instantly disappeared.
I thought maybe I popped it out by rolling on it–after all, I had
been a side sleeper B.A. (before the accident). I piled pillows on my
left side and vowed not to roll. And I didn’t roll, but I kept waking
up every night with my shoulder out–not as far out as in the initial
accident, but it definitely wasn’t in the right place, either.
At PT, Laurie noticed that my shoulder was not stable, and that
there was an unusual amount of inflammation, so I went back to the
orthopedist, who ordered an MRI. More on that to follow…