Going Under the Knife

Edith north of Boston, hoping I’ve tidied all loose ends

Tomorrow’s the day.

shoulderMy right shoulder has been hurting for three or  four years, and it finally got bad enough for me to get it checked out last fall. After a cortisone injection and a month of physical therapy failed to fix it, my doctor ordered an MRI. Here’s the verdict:IMG_20150302_105723_407

“Full thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon, with resultant 11 mm tendinous gap.” Which means one of the four tendons in my right rotator cuff has a big honking tear in it. That white pointy shape at ten o’clock is the 11 mm gap. The big white shape at five o’clock is fluid also caused by the tear.

The procedure is arthroscopic surgery, which means the surgeon makes three small incisions about a half inch wide and uses a camera and tiny instruments to stick a piece of titanium in there and attach a string (his word) from the metal to the end of the tendon. He’ll also burr off the bone spur that likely caused the tendon to tear.

It’s day surgery, so I’ll be home the same night. The prescription is to wear a sling for a month or so, and he promised me I could type! And I’ll be good to travel over to the next town for my panel at the Newburyport Literary Festival on April 25, and to Bethesda the following week for Malice Domestic (and the Agatha awards banquet…).

steven-mattheos-md_2I like Dr. Mattheos and he comes highly recommended by my primary care doc. When Dr. Mattheos was explaining the tear, he wrote everything down for me on the printout of the MRI. I thanked him and he said, “I treat everybody like my dad. He’s from Greece and his English isn’t that good. I tell him, you have to understand what’s happening.” He says he does two shoulder repairs a week, so I know I’m in good hands.

Of course I’m not looking forward to some weeks of pain, and apparently, sleeping in a recliner for the first week. But I’ll be able to catch up on my reading and haul through a few more mystery series that I’ve been wanting to read, starting with Cara Black‘s Aimeé Leduc mysteries set in Paris. Based on past recuperations, I know I can read a book a day. Once I’m off the narcotic pain meds (which I HATE taking – no idea how people get addicted to those…), I should be able to get writing again, too. Good thing I taught myself how to use a mouse with my left hand a few years ago.dress

I’ve got my desk cleaned off, lots of yoga pants and knit button-up shirts ready to wear, some meals in the freezer, and my new Agatha banquet dress hanging in the closet ( like the one on the right, but with sleeves). I finished writing the first draft of GRILLED FOR MURDER, the second Country Store mystery (due August 1), last week, and also drafted an historical short story that popped into my brain and fingertips. Having these manuscripts in their “seasoning” stage, as Quakers might phrase it, is deeply satisfying, knowing I won’t be good for much of anything besides healing for the next few weeks.

So I’m good to go. Still, would be happy for some prayers, Light, and healing energies sent my way tomorrow at two PM EDT if you have any to spare!

Readers: Last minute questions about what in heck arthroscopy is? About the structure of the human shoulder? About my Theory of Everything? Ask now, or keep it for a few more weeks! Or contribute your best story of rotator cuff repair.

39 thoughts on “Going Under the Knife

  1. We’ll all keep our fingers crossed that the surgery goes well, and the recovery part too (got someone to carry your suitcases when you travel?).

    Will you be awake for the whole procedure? It’s a great distraction to pay attention to how things work, how the people interact, etc. Might be useful in a book someday!

    • Thanks, Sheila. I’ll be asleep during it, thank goodness. Was totally freaked 20 years ago during a meniscus repair when they went beyond the local. I hit the ceiling, they knocked me out, and I prefer it that way these days. Am driving (with Hugh) to Malice, so hope the suitcase thing won’t be a problem.

  2. Hi, Edith —

    Sorry to hear that you will be in such discomfort, but hopefully you’ll be up and able to use your shoulder without pain soon. Keep a diary. You might find something useful from your experience that you can use in a future book.

    Grace

  3. Prayers, and good thoughts coming your way. See if you can overcome the need to do something and enjoy the forced rest.

  4. Best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery. I had arthroscopic surgery on my left should a decade ago for similar tears. It is amazing what the docs can do in same day surgery. I look forward to seeing your smile at Malice.

  5. I’m glad you are getting your shoulder fixed. Having arthroscopic surgery done is so much better and far less pain. Will be sending you healing blessings and prayers.
    Debbie Price

  6. Best to you in the next few weeks. I tore my supraspinitus off and had it repaired and anchored last February. things that were tricky….putting your hair up with one arm, using hair dryer. Rest and heal.

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