My mother has written the words, “Life can be very complicated…” several times on my blog as a comment. Yes, Mom, life can indeed be very complicated, as I’ve learned throughout the years.
Some things seem simple, or like they should be simple, but then they turn out to be very complicated.
It seemed simple, at the time, loaded with migraine meds & pain meds, to move, without having Rhiannon with me, a bag (a big bag) of dog food into the car. The outstretched arm reached into the basket only to find… gee, you’ve lost a lot of weight, and with it strength & muscle. You can’t do that anymore.
It seemed simple, in the days afterward, to guess that I’d torn the rotator cuff, and it either would or would not heal on it’s own, depending on how badly I’d done it. I said, “Okay, Universe, I understand the lessons here!”
My orthopedist, my knee doc, seemed to think it was simple when he blew me off without much of an exam.
It seemed simple, when I first told my PCP, who did a more thorough exam, and diagnosed it as a partial-thickness rotator cuff tear. Three weeks in a sling,then start using it slowly, and hopefully it will heal.
It’s not simple.
Ten long & painful weeks since Pride, Pain & A Reality Check, it’s getting worse, not better. My PCP, who I trust about 1,000% more than my ortho, saw me yesterday, and after listening to me complain, gave me an even more thorough shoulder exam, & said she thinks it’s a SLAP tear combined with partial rotator cuff tear. I had never heard of a SLAP tear. I said sure, go ahead with a cortisone/lidocaine injection, figuring I’d look it up later. And she gave me a referral for an MRI.
It’s not simple. SLAP tears almost always require surgery, and several (3 – 4) weeks immobilized, and extensive PT. Do you see those initials? Physical Therapy. The words I dread most in the world (at least at this moment). How does a person with CFS/FMS do PT?
To make matters even more complicated, a SLAP tear is not an easy repair. It takes a shoulder specialist.
In the simplest terms, a SLAP tear works like this: the shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body. It’s a ball & socket joint, but the socket is very small. The body compensates by having a ring of cartilage-like material that makes it bigger. The whole thing is held together by muscles, tendons, & ligaments. A rotator cuff tear is the most common tear – a tear of the tendon(s). A SLAP tear is a tear of the cartilage-like ring that makes the socket larger. Cartilage does not re-grow, or heal on it’s own. Therefore, a SLAP tear involves trimming the loose bits, drilling a hole into the bone, and suturing it back down to anchors placed in the bone. Hopefully, but not always, accomplished with a ‘scope so you don’t have to cut lots of things that would otherwise be in the way.
The ortho who did my knee is getting nowhere near it. I need a shoulder specialist. Who accepts my crap insurance. And will listen to me when I list all my meds, my limitations, etc.
Left untreated, it almost always gets worse as it frays. Been there, done that, with my knee, which is almost as bad as it can get (word like “bone on bone” are used to describe my knee, which has had 4 rounds of surgery).
A very minimal amount of poking around the ‘net yesterday found people saying they were 6 – 12 months after the injury before surgery was scheduled, so difficult is this, and good surgeons are hard to find.
I won’t even get into the whole “I don’t heal well” universe except to say that my PCP ordered a full round of labs to see what the Valcyte (which causes slow healing) is doing to my system.
No, not simple at all. I can’t even schedule the MRI, really, until I find a shoulder specialist, so I have the MRI done where the specialist is located.
Not simple at all…