Torn Rotator Cuff

Just when I’d convinced myself there was nothing wrong.

The turning point was physical therapy, last Thursday, improvement was nearly nil, I knew this was more serious than I hoped it might be.

So I came home and immediately called the bigwig doctor, who couldn’t see me for five weeks, I could see the number two on May 9th, this can’t be!

I made the appointment. And then I called my go-to guy. You have to know people in this world, and you know who this guy is, and thank god he was on the case, I got an appointment first thing Monday morning.

Where the doctor was reluctant to shoot me up. Because if it’s a torn rotator cuff it makes it worse.

I intentionally didn’t stretch before I saw him, I wanted to be the worst I could be. As it was, it was tough for me to go, I felt I should brush it off.

I was stunned when he commented on how bad my movement was, mortified when he spoke of a potential rotator cuff tear and surgery, he said I needed an MRI to be sure.


That’s my personality, when I’m on the case there’s nothing in the way, I clear the decks and get right on it. I went into the tube Monday night, during the first available window.

And in the interim I reeled.

A 4-6 month recovery period? With your arm immobilized in a sling for the first thirty days? How was I gonna type? And what about my standard transmission car, and my obligations?

But by time I was finished with the MRI I’d calmed down, a bit anyway, to tell you the truth I was agitated, but I’d done all I could, now I just had to wait.

My original plan was to call the doctor, the report would be ready midday Tuesday. Then I reconsidered. What if there was more, would it translate well on the phone?

It wouldn’t have.

Today I got there early and I had to wait. Stunningly, the doctor apologized.

And by this point, as I stated above, I thought I was out of the woods. I could lift my arm above my head. Pain was lessened. But there was still that pop.

That pop turned out to be a biceps tear. And there’s a labrum tear too. And theoretically I could skip surgery, it’s only one of four rotator cuff tendons, but the doctor said he would tell a family member to do it, because there’d be weakness for the rest of my life, and possibly pain.

But I can lift my arm over my head now, I showed him!

And he pointed out the hitch in the lift.

So they pass the info on to the surgeon, who reviews it and gets back to me within three days. This is the guy I couldn’t see for five weeks, this guy is world class.

And what’s the recovery like?

Well, there’s a good amount of pain.

Well, I can’t take anything with Tylenol, it interferes with my Gleevec.

But the doctor reeled off a bunch of alternatives.

So where does this leave me?

I’m gonna have surgery, I’m not dumb. You don’t fix things and they haunt you in the future. It’s kind of like a car, I don’t let it slide, I get the repairs, I don’t want the thing breaking down on the side of the road, I don’t want to be hit with an even bigger bill in the future.

And to tell you the truth, I’m numb. I was forewarned, but I’d convinced myself I was fine.

But I’m not.

P.S. Had kidney tests yesterday, awaiting results. I don’t anticipate a problem, then again there’s the above, however I haven’t bled since.

P.P.S. There’s a brief window within which you can do the surgery, a month or two, it depends on your biology. So, if you wait and see, you lose your opportunity.

P.P.P.S. The tube, the MRI… Don’t be afraid, it’s just a psychological game. The first time I signed up for the sedative, but then I decided I’d give it a shot without. Now I’m a regular, I almost look forward to it, where else can you be undisturbed by phone calls and e-mail?

P.P.P.P.S. As I said, the doctor apologized for running late, but I’m willing to wait… Yet it’s good to hear. And I’m standing over his computer screen where I see a report detailing an acute rotator cuff tear…and I go into shock, this cannot be me! And I’m not sure it was. The MD had to go back and bring up another screen, had to type my name in. Maybe I got a reprieve, but it was not to be. We looked at the pictures and it was clear. I asked him would the MRI have shown problems even without the trauma and he said yes, maybe there was a preexisting condition, but what he saw now needed to be addressed. And I can’t get over the pops in my arm, the biceps muscle out of its groove and the rotator cuff tendon flailing, that sensation when it slides from under the bone.

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