Monday, November 12, 2007

Motion denied

So. Remember all those books I moved? You know, the 4,200 pounds' worth? In 60-pound crates? Back in June?

Well, ever since then I've had some issues. Shoulder issues, to be exact. Started with some tightness and tingling under my right shoulder blade. Didn't hurt at all. Just felt ... funny. Then I started noticing some twinging in my arm if I reached backward (say, to retrieve my purse from the back seat). Then more pronounced shooting pains with certain motions, including the idiotic attempt on my part to throw a hose to the swamp cooler guy up on the deck that left me lying on the ground yelling some very bad words (he almost called 911).

I kept thinking (hoping) it was just a pulled muscle. Ha ha. Finally, the other night, I discovered that I am now incapable of raising my right arm more than about 95 degrees. I'm not saying it hurts to raise my arm (well, it does, too); I'm saying that I can't. The muscles simply stop working at that point. My arm has half its range of motion.

Yes, I know I should have gotten it looked at months ago (and some of you who suggested that are welcome to say, "I told you so"). But I did get it looked at today by my very nice doctor (that's her on the left), who said, "Gee, you must have a really high tolerance for pain."

Um. I guess?

Likely diagnosis: torn rotator cuff. Possible other diagnoses: pinched nerve or bad strain. Fix for former is surgery. For the latter, PT. My MRI is Wednesday, so I should know by Thursday or Friday.

I guess more waiting room magazines are in my future!
(P.S. Sorry, Mom, I was going to call you, but I had to get to work and then I was too busy. But hopefully I'll get ahold of you in the morning before you read this!)


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  2. A long time ago, pre-MRI days, I slipped down the bottom half of a flight of stairs and my left arm torqued behind me. I had the same problem raising my arm afterward as you do, but an x-ray showed I had bursitis in my shoulder. A shot of cortisone right into the little knot of calcium got rid of it completely.

    Here's hoping for the simple solution for you.

  3. Ooh, thanks, I hope so! Bursitis would be easy.

    (My dog had bursitis, and the vet thought it might be a bone tumor at first, he was in so much pain. Poor puppy. This doesn't hurt all that much unless I forget and move the wrong way. Besides, I can still type! I'm fine!)

  4. The MD actually injected a cocktail; the first drug to go in was lidocaine and I just closed my eyes with relief of the pain. I think he thought I'd passed out or something since he asked if I was okay. My range of motion was still limited because I think it took me a week to get an appointment and my muscles weren't relaxing. I had my niece's other aunt give me a massage with DMSO and some kind of topical analgesic and my shoulder was fine after.

    Remember DMSO?

  5. here's to a speedy recovery! well, at least you can still type and blog, you know, the important stuff in life!



  6. That suuuuucks. But actually I thought you were going to have blown a disc, so I guess I'm glad it's not that. Still hoping for non-surgical fixes, though.

  7. Ooof, yeah. Here's to non-surgical solutions. Sounds like something I would do -- ignore obvious physical distress until my arm fell off or something. Glad it didn't get any worse than it is.

  8. Wow, Leah, I've never heard of DMSO! I'm glad it worked for you.

    Thanks, Jaden! I can still cook, too. (Though lifting down the Le Creuset pots from the top of the cupboard is problematic.)

    Cara, I was very careful of my back through the whole process. I suspect what got me into trouble was loading the book crates on a wheelie cart to move them from the house to garage. I had to take each cart down three steps, which meant stretching my arms out straight in front and leaning back to take the full weight as the cart went bump bump bump down each step. That may have resulted in a tiny tear that has gradually gotten bigger over the months.

    Lisa, it's so much easier to take care of others, isn't it? For ourselves, who has the time?

  9. I hope you have a speedy recovery and that you don't need surgery!

    If it makes you feel better I waited 6 weeks before getting a broken wrist checked out.

  10. Yikes, Mary! That's hard-core. Didn't it swell up?

  11. Oh yeouch. I'm hoping for a non-surgical solution, too. And no metal fragments in your eye-balls!

    Guess your luck had to run out sometime, huh?