Thursday, November 13, 2014

To Do Nothing in Haste

The coming Monday will be six weeks from my shoulder surgery. This means that at my surgical follow-up tomorrow morning, I will likely be told I no longer need to wear the sling that has held my right arm for every minute of the last five-plus weeks save for those spent showering, layering or unlayering clothing, or doing physical therapy or having it done to me. Quite frankly, this terrifies me. I know myself too well. I am a perfectionist and hyper-competitive, especially with myself. While I have become a bit better at it since the surgery, I still hate asking for help. Lightner's First Law is, after all, "if you want it done right, do it yourself."

I have been told that almost 20 percent of people who tear a rotator cuff re-tear it and have to have repeat surgery. I have also been told that 65 percent of those who re-tear it do so in the first six months after the surgery. My physical therapist has shown me movements that would likely re-tear something. The problem is that many if not most of these movements are done quickly or instinctively, usually with one's dominant hand which for me is on the same side as the repaired shoulder. I am pondering ways in which to remind myself to think twice, or more, before I use my right hand for anything. I saw or heard somewhere that holding a pen in the hand works. I have also considered a fingerless glove, though I have not yet looked through the glove supply to see if there's a right glove that fits the bill.

I have needed help with many little things. I skipped having a hot dog for lunch today because I was unable to open a new jar of relish with only my left hand, even with one of those grippy things. Unloading the dishwasher often means one plate or bowl at a time up from the dishwasher to the cabinet. Most pullover shirts won't without torquing my right arm too much. If the right arm can't go in first and come out of a shirt last without being tweaked in the process, I don't wear it. The husband has been a dear about tying my shoes each morning and putting my hair into a ponytail. While I expect I will be able to tie my shoes when I'm free of the sling, I may still be unable to do a ponytail myself. And whatever I can do, I must do slowly.

And that's going to be the hard part--harnessing my type A personality and taking it down to B if not below. It's scary; it really is. Perhaps I'd best go look through the glove supply.