Date: January 08, 2020 06:56PM
I know that "medical dramas" are not always appreciated here. But this is the community I turn to for support, so I ask your indulgence.
I ripped my right (dominant) rotator cuff back on St. Patrick's Day (3/17) last year. An attempt at repair was done on 6/13, but one of us - either the surgeon or me - screwed up. It never seemed to heal properly. Still limited, still painful.
An MRI taken in December (after MONTHS of bitching by both me and my physical therapist) showed a tear that looks about the length of California where the rotator tendon ought to be. There is a little nub of tendon tucked up under the clavicle, and a little nub of muscle partway down the humerus, with nothing in-between. So the use of my right arm has been severely limited for the better part of a year.
The orthopedic surgeon said that since the repair attempt had failed, he needs to install an entire new artificial shoulder. Deeply shocked, I asked, "At MY age (72) you can do that??" He assured me that he could.
Reviews tell me that this guy is one of the best ortho surgeons in our State. He did well for me in the past. The surgery has not been scheduled yet - he said vaguely "sometime in March or April." (To me, this feels like a Category 4 hurricane hovering just offshore, but nobody can say when it will make landfall. I used to live in Louisiana, so this terror is extremely vivid to me.)
Once the surgery is done, I know that I will be in for 6 to 9 months of physical therapy. During this past go-round, P/T has not only been painful, but ultimately, absolutely useless. (If you have ever been through P/T, if it doesn't work, they always say it's YOUR fault.)
My DH has been superbly helpful, the best cheerleader ever. And my son and precious granddaughters will be there for me, too. I'm thinking of turning my anxiety into creativity, and trying to make a "Frozen" dollhouse out of cardboard cartons, with all kinds of things - beds, stairs, a slide that ends in a "pool" (not water - the local craft store will have better ideas) that we can use.)
I need to throw myself into some kind of diversion. Nightmares about the surgery itself, the post-op pain and limitations (at least one night in hospital, maybe more), are chewing my brain up. I can pretend to be cheerful while awake, but the real truth comes out in my dreams. And I am flipping terrified.
I keep thinking that if I just had a DATE to hang the terror on, maybe that would help. I called the surgical scheduler yesterday, to see about nailing things down, and she said, "But you still have another meeting with the doc toward the end of the month." Yeah, I know. But he ain't about the cancel the surgery. . . Why can't we nail a date on the calendar??
Any recommendations about dealing with the anxiety? I don't drink alcohol. And nobody in my REAL life even suspects how frightened I am. My all-time favorite therapist died years ago, and there is no way I will try to break in a new one at this stage.
Please, guys - HELP!! (You always do!)