Showing posts with label Osteoarthritis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Osteoarthritis. Show all posts

Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Journey to My New Bionic Shoulder - Part 2: What I Learned

Remember how I said in Part 1 (you DID read Part 1, right?) that this was going to turn me into an old lady? 

Well, the deed has been done and it's been over three weeks now. Right after surgery, my first thought was how much the human body is able to endure (I would post a picture of my incision but I don't want to gross you out). But as for the old lady stuff, I did feel it creeping in. In addition to not being able to drive or put on my bra or set my own hair or open a bottle of wine (all old lady things), I also noticed that I was using words like pocketbook and icebox and calling people dearie, but I have come out the other side. I went from "What have I done?" to "'s done." Now let's get on with the rehab and my life and shake off that old lady.

But I am not going to sugar coat this.  This whole thing was not fun and not having been someone who was used to hospitals and medical care, it was a sort of a shock, and I definitely learned some things, some of it not so pleasant.

What I learned:


I learned that you are on your own at the hospital. 

Waiting rooms are no more, so no one can go in with you and wait for the outcome. That is sad, because it's comforting to know there is someone out there who cares about your interests, so it's a lonely feeling walking into a hospital all alone to face a procedure you have never had before. And in my case, once prepped for surgery, I laid on the gurney for about two hours because, wouldn't you know, it was "a late day," the day when the surgeons had a meeting.  Let me tell you, even though I was in a hospital gown and hooked up to god-knows-what, I thought about sprinting out of there.

So...explain this to me.  If the rule about no one being able to be in the waiting room during your procedure is due to COVID, why is it not okay for your loved ones to sit in a waiting room while you are being cut open but they can come in during visitors hours from 2-8 and wander down to the food court and buy ice cream?  Mmmm.  Ice cream. (see "Food" below).


Forget about it.  I learned that a hospital is a very noisy place.

Even though you are trying to recover from some devastating assault on your body, a hospital is not a place for sleeping. It's not a quiet place.

It's a noisy place where you are awakened every few hours to have your vitals checked and where the changing of the guard every shift is noisy.  I was right across from the nurses' station and, if my door wasn't shut, I heard all about everyone's weekend.  Likewise, I had a saline solution machine next to my bed, that even when not administering saline solution to me, sounded like a dripping faucet, which I am sure you know is a kind of torture.  Thankfully, a kindly nurse listened to me and turned that off and another put a sign up to remind people to shut my door. 

Word to the wise: speak up.  Be your own advocate because not everyone in the hospital is looking out for your personal issues.


Forget about it.  I learned that hospital food is a notch or two above airline food but who wants french toast at 7am after a sleepless night, not to mention having to eat with your left hand.  

Oh, didn't I tell you?  The shoulder replacement was on my dominant side (I am right-handed) which after surgery was completely numb. I wouldn't have minded some help opening the tea bag or even getting stuff into my mouth! I was kind of helpless.

My happiest time was an ice cream cone from the food kiosk (thanks, Hubby)!


I learned that the level of bedside manner in a hospital varies greatly. 

Surprisingly, one of the best caregivers was a student nurse!  But there were others who were friendly and comforting.  But then there were those who were brusque or cursory or basically didn't give a sh*t.  

My favorite bad memory was in the middle of the night.  

Had to go to the toilet so hit my buzzer (I wasn't supposed to get up on my own).  It always seemed like when I hit the buzzer in the middle of the night, the female nurses were on break and a male orderly had to come help me.  Not my favorite, considering I had only one hand to hold the back of my hospital gown closed.  One night, an older gentlemen came to help, and as he was putting these pulsing "leg warmers" back on me, contraptions that are supposed to help keep you from getting a blood clot, he said, "These are important so you don't get a blood clot.  Because if you get a blood clot, YOU DIE!!!" Just what somebody needs to hear at 3am, somebody who has just come out of surgery and is on pain meds that make her feel like she is on LSD.

But I also learned that we humans are resiliant. I learned that I can change my habits e.g. I can now do quite a few things with my left hand.  I also learned I have a great husband and wonderful friends and family members.

I wish I had a picture of Hubby setting my hair with the hot rollers.  Though he won't be opening a Hair by Mr. Charles Salon anytime soon, he overcame his anxiety and the burning of his fingers with the hot rollers to make my hair look presentable.  

And so many friends and family members stepped up with well wishes, flowers, gifts, visits and making sure I was able to get out and about (and you know who you are)!.  So thank you Hubby and thank you friends and thank you family! Your caring has helped with my recovery. I am stronger because of you.

So almost a month into recovery, I am reflecting on my decision to do this.

There is one thing to be said for taking advantage of a fix for a problem.  I had a sore arm due to osteoarthritis, and there was a fix for that, so why not take advantage of that fix?  However, my one caveat would be - make sure your arm REALLY hurts and the pain is upsetting your quality of life, because this surgery is not to be taken lightly.  It's painful and recovery will disrupt your life for a long time. I am into physical therapy twice a week for the next who knows how long? I am told it will be a year before I will have my strength back and get the full benefit of the procedure and because I had a reverse procedure, my range of motion will probably never be that great.  So there is a period of "What have I done?" before you get to "Glad I did it (not there yet)." 

Sometimes it's difficult to see the good in the final outcome when you have to sleep sitting up, you can't drive, you can't use your dominant arm (when I was able to use the computer, I had to type with one finger and learn to mouse with my left hand), you can't fix your hair, you can't put your contacts in, you are in pain and you can only wear clothes that button in front, which means there are all of those cute clothes of yours that have to be pulled on over your head that you can't wear.  And  forget wearing a bra (good thing I did those exercises with my Mark Eden Breast Developer back in the day, no one was the wiser - didn't all of us 60's girls have one of those)?


Seriously, here is the bottom line for me: I had a talk with my left shoulder.  "Lefty," I said, "Stay strong cuz we ain't doin this again."  

Now if my knee would just stop hurting!

Thanks for reading!

See you soon for Part 3 -

What Got Me Through - TV Series I Watched During Recovery 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Journey to My New Bionic Shoulder - Part 1

So, my arm hurt.  

But I was raised by a Swedish mother and a Christian Science father, so I was used to sucking things up. I basically accepted it and went on with life.  It hurt, but not that much. I am a healthy (mumble) year-old.  Never broken a bone, never been in the hospital except to give birth, nary a scar.  I go to the doctor once a year to get my prescriptions filled because I do have a slight blood pressure and cholesterol issue, but that's it. 

But the last time I went to the doctor, I must have felt that I wasn't participating fully in my medical care and wanted to be interesting to my doctor, so when my doctor asked me if everything was okay, I foolishly mentioned that my arm hurt sometimes, so she ordered some physical therapy for me.

And thus my journey to my new bionic shoulder commenced.  

So...physical therapy.  

I am wondering if physical therapy makes things worse.  Because after a few sessions, my arm hurt so much more that the physical therapist thought I needed to go back to my doctor for some pain meds.  It wasn't until I went back that x-rays were ordered and it was discovered I had advanced arthritis of my shoulder. 

Ew. Not a pretty sight!

No wonder my arm and shoulder hurt.  The ball and socket of my shoulder had no cartilage to work with.  So it wasn't a rotator cuff issue, which was what the physical therapist assumed.  I wondered, why were things assumed? Why weren't x-rays called for in the beginning? You know what they say about assuming.

So now my arm not only really hurt, my shoulder really hurt too.

I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon for a cortisone shot.  After reviewing my x-rays, she shared information with me about shoulder surgery.  Oh, just a little 2-3 hour reverse total shoulder replacement surgery where she puts in a metal and plastic device to act as my new ball and socket with a two night stay in the hospital, arm in a sling for three weeks and six months of physical therapy.


I thought, er, no way.  For one thing, with a metal prothesis in my shoulder, I would set off the alarm when going through security at the airport, something I don't want to happen, so bring on the shot.  

"Can I just keep getting the shot forever?" I asked, thinking that was going to do the trick.

The surgeon said, "Sure, the damage has been done.  It won't get better, it won't get worse."  I told her the tale of the Swedish mother and Christian Science father, that I was used to sucking it up, and she nodded sympathetically while pressing the shoulder surgery brochure into my hand and saying "But you are in pain, right?" Well, yeah. She had a point.

And, yes, she was right. The cortisone shot didn't work, and now my arm really, really hurt.  I was in pain and surgery was looking like an option.

But you just can't decide to have surgery.  Oh, no.  You have to prove that you are worthy. Now I'm not just doing something I don't want to do but now I have to do something I need to prove I am worthy of doing.

First, I had to go to the dentist and have her sign off on my mouth, that it's fit for surgery. What does my mouth have to do with my shoulder?  Well, if your gums are infected, could cause an infection after surgery. Well, here's the story with that.  My dentist has wanted to get my old fillings redone forever. Now my view of that is that my fillings have been just fine for all of these years.  Why get that old drill out now?  But, here we are.  Gee, now that she has to sign off on my mouth to be ready for surgery, guess what has to be done before she will say I am fit for surgery?

Then it's back to my GP to have her sign off, once I have had a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram and blood work. Then CT scan and an MRI and then if all goes to plan I might be deemed worthy of this surgery, which will put my arm in a sling (my dominant arm, mind you) for three weeks or more, I won't be able to drive, won't be able to dress myself, will have to sleep sitting up (they recommend buying a Lazy Boy!), followed by at least six months of physical therapy while we get that little metal and plastic ball and socket working. And this is a woman who has never spent one night in the hospital except when giving birth. 

Can I just say "Ew" one more time?! 

And for me the worst part is the Lazy Boy. Just the idea of a Lazy Boy in my house throws my sense of aesthetics into a tailspin, not to mention having to sleep in the damn thing. So that ain't gonna happen.

But anyway, I have done my due diligence.

Dentist - Check! 

CT scan - Check!

MRI - Check!

(that MRI thing - what a strange experience.  Felt like I was being reprogrammed on an alien space ship)!

Blood work, EKG and chest x-ray - Check!

Covid test - Check!

Now after all of that I am good to go - FOR SOMETHING I DON'T REALLY WANT TO DO!

So now I'm asking Hubby if he thinks he will be able to help me get dressed, set my hair with the hot rollers, put on my mascara and handle other unmentionables he may have to help me with. 

I am thinking this is the beginning of my becoming an old woman.

But you know what?  As one wise person said to me, well more than one actually, if there is a fix for a problem, why not do it?  So I'm doing it! 

And then I will give the Bionic Woman a run for her money with my very own BIONIC SHOULDER! 

Well, that's what I'm hoping, anyway. See you on the other side.  Gulp.

(And if there is anyone out there who has had this done, I would love to hear from you)!

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!
(I hope)!

And you know there will be a Part 2 - a review!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!