Surgery Sucks (but it is a necessary evil)

I’ve been away from blogging for far too long.  I always felt I needed to write something that others could use, something about SQL Server that no one else knew.  I realized that even though I think I know a lot about SQL Server, I don’t know as much as several of my colleagues.  Anything I write has probably been covered by someone else.  That’s not to say I’ll never write about SQL Server, but for now, I am going to take Thomas LaRock’s (@sqlrockstar) advice and just write what I feel like writing.

My life has gone through so many changes this past year I have plenty of material to write about.  Some of it is great, some of it is painful (physically and emotionally).  There have been times I’ve been the happiest person on earth, and there are times when I wondered why God abandoned me.  All of this will someday be drawn out of me, but today I choose to write about one of the more physically challenging and painful episodes of the past year.

In addition to playing men’s fast pitch softball, I love to lift weights.  Always have.  I pride myself on having a better than average physique, even if the waist line always needs additional work.  Some 15 or 16 years ago I was actually going to enter a local bodybuilding competition.  I was 6 months out from my first show, ending the heavy, bulking up exercises and starting to transition to the toning and shaping exercises.  At 5′ 3″ I’m not a big guy by any means, but at the time I weighed about 175 pounds and had about 3% body fat.  My body building dream was cut short when I blew my knee out doing 300 pound hack squats.  The resulting surgery and therapy caused me to miss the show, and I was so disallusioned I gave up body building altogether.

Fast forward 15 years.  In order to get in better shape I joined a local health club that had the most beautiful free weight setup I had ever seen.  The itch started again.  I began slowly, being careful not to over work the muscles.  That’s not to say I wasn’t sore.  I did at times push a little too hard, and my late 40s body told me so.  But in no time at all I was back to lifting the amount of weight I used to lift, and in some cases, even more.  I upped my protein and creatine intake and I was starting to look pretty good.

I was also starting to feel some pain. 

Late last fall I noticed that my right shoulder was starting to hurt.  Thinking it was just sore, I cut out my deltoid routines for a while and concentrated on arms, back, chest, and legs.  Every time I went back to shoulders it hurt like crazy.  So, I went to the doctor.  They did xrays, steroid injections, PT, and recommended rest.  Nothing worked.  Thinking I had a rotator cuff tear, they did an MRI.  It turns out I had “shoulder impingement syndrome”.  I was secretly hoping it was rotator cuff (an ego thing, I guess), but alas, it was not torn.  Basically, whenenver I used my right shoulder everything;  muscle, bone, nerves, tendons, would all pinch together.  I couldnt’ sleep at night at all, unless I was medicated.  And, since I don’t like to be medicated (unless the medication is a New Glarus Spotted Cow), surgery was scheduled for May 22nd.

My surgeon was awesome.  Until the anesthesia wore off.  Then he was OK.  Until the nerve block wore off.  Then I hated him.  The pain from the surgery was excruciating.  Not only did I have the poke holes from arthroscopy, I had a nice 4 inch incision down the front of my shoulder.  The surgeon explained he needed to do that in order to have enough room for his saw.  He had to saw off some of my clavicle so that it no longer bent downward, but stuck straight out. 

The pain meds were awesome: Percocet, Amitryptyiline, and Oxycontin were prescribed.  I used these sparingly, mostly just at bedtime to help me sleep.  I didn’t need to become a prescription med junkie.

Physical therapy consisted of elastic bands, stretching, general movement, and now, very light weights.  I can lift 15 pounds out to the side with a lateral deltoid raise, but I’m still only at 5 pounds lifting it out to the front  (Back before all of this lateral and front deltoid raises were done with 30 – 35 pound dumbells, depending on how many reps I wanted to do).  A month after my surgery I was not feeling much pain at all and decided I could go back to playing softball.  Big mistake.  Even though I played first base, and didn’t see much action aside from a few putouts, I think I set my rehab back by a few weeks.  I learned my lesson.  Don’t rush rehab.

Every day is a little better, and my surgery was only to improve my quality of life.  Someday I will write about another surgery that saved the life of someone dear to me. 



About Gill Rowley

I live in a Madison, WI suburb, working as Owner/President of White Knight Data Solutions. I like hunting, fishing, working out, my boat, my motorcycle, playing with my rescued bull terrier Lola, and gourmet cooking. Oh, yeah, and I play men's fastpitch softball, and chess. Let that sink in. :-)
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