Tips and Tricks for Getting Thru Surgery and Recovery
Not long after I re-opened my office, I received the go-ahead to finally have surgery on an old injury in my shoulder. I am recovering quickly and have been told I will be back to work by mid September. Until then, here are some thoughts I wondered if folks would find helpful.....
As I have been in shoulder surgery recovery for 6 weeks now, I have been stopped by people so many times in public. They see the sling, ask what happened and will almost always respond with the concern that they or a loved one is needing surgery as well. Because of this, I thought I would put together a list of things I have learned about this whole process. These things will apply on some level to all orthopedic style surgeries. Much will apply specifically to my experience of rotator cuff repair. If it helps someone, then I am glad to be of help.
*Your medical team providers have much to do and may appear to be very rushed. Don’t let that intimidate you. They are your team. They are there to help you feel better.
*Ask your questions about your surgery and recovery plans. It is your right to ask all the questions you have to help you make the best expectations possible. Write your questions down ahead of time to help you and your provider keep on task at fast paced appointments.
*Injury, surgery, and recovery are all levels of trauma. This process can bring about a host of emotions. They are a part of the human coping process. You may have times of feeling scared, bored, worried, anxious, useless, time standing still, time going too fast, and more. It is okay. It will pass. Let it happen.
*Pre shoulder surgery, try to practice doing things with one hand/arm. Hold a rolled towel at your side by tucking your elbow into your ribcage as you attempt tasks. This will help you to understand and plan what things you will need help with during recovery and what will take just 3x as long to accomplish.
*For fun, have your support system people at home do the same towel trick. It will help them recognize where they can pitch in during your recovery.
*Communicate with your support team at home (your loved ones). They will want to help but won’t know what to do for you. What seems logical to you might not be for them.
*Always get the ice therapy machine when you can. I found the ice machine helped greatly with comfort and swelling the first 2 weeks of recovery. They can be rented or purchased. I found many on facebook marketplace for sale after others had recovered from surgeries.
*Get oversized clothing that you can wear easily for recovery weeks. Keep in mind that with shoulder recovery, you will not be able to raise your arm above your head for 6 weeks or more (depending on surgery details) and your arm sling will be your constant companion for usually 5-6 weeks. That means getting clothing you can step into with minimal arm movement. Zippers, pants buttons, and drawstrings will be futile. Elastic is your friend.
*Save your independence and privacy; get a bidet for hygiene. While they come in all shapes and sizes, universal basic models that attach to your existing commode can be purchased on amazon for as little as $25.
*Do everything your PT gives you for homework. At times it will feel menial or silly. Every exercise has a purpose for your overall recovery to be as full as possible.
I hope in some way that this has been helpful in giving your encouraging advice on what you might expect if you find yourself on an orthopedic surgery journey. I wish you beautiful healing and wellness!
I am always here for you if you have any questions at all.
I have a deep passion for helping others. Really that is the bottom line. Helping people be released from discomfort. Helping people be present in the life they are given. Helping people know that they are each valuable original treasures unlike no one else ever. To humbly be part of seeing a person hold onto whatever peace they need at that present time. Yes that is my passion.