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slick's shoulder surgery blog

Pre-Op Appointment

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by , October 23rd, 2012 at 05:00 PM (835 Views)
Had my pre-op appointment this morning, which really made things sink in. As I sat in the waiting room, each time a nurse/assistant came out to call a name I totally felt butterflies in my stomach!

I got all my instructions from the assistant, which included things like when to have my last meal, last shower, last meds, etc. All piercings out, and no shaving for 2 days beforehand as minor cuts = possible infection. They also gave me special anti-bacterial towels and directions to give myself multiple pre-surgery wipe downs. Strange, but logical I guess! I also got fitted for my shoulder brace, which wasn’t just a fancy sling as I expected….it felt more like a modified straight-jacket to me, lol.

Then my surgeon came in and briefly explained the procedure to me, as well as the possible complications and risks involved. The main risk is, of course, that my shoulder doesn’t ‘take’ the surgery and I end up re-dislocating again down the road. She said that this is a bigger risk for me since I’m young and active and have a prior history of dislocations. But the main point of this surgery is to fix and tighten things up so that my shoulder doesn’t pop out just by doing low-impact everyday life type activities (like pushing off the wall, for example). Of course anything high-impact could cause my shoulder to re-dislocate again. But then again, I could trip and fall at any time and dislocate my other shoulder too! “You can’t predict your accidents,” she said. Aint that the truth….

I only had a few additional questions for her, one being how many anchors she expected that I would need and what kind they were. She said that she would be using bio-absorbable suture anchors, and that I would probably need 3-4 at minimum, possibly more if she finds more damage once she gets in there. I also asked under what circumstances would they need to transition to an open surgery (rather than arthroscopic). She said it would be highly unlikely for me, and that they only really need to go the open surgery route if a) there is major unanticipated damage, and b) they can’t get good visualizations with the camera…which apparently can be a problem when you’re dealing with larger and/or body-builder type folks. That’s good to know because through my HMO health plan, outpatient surgery only costs me $5, and inpatient would cost me $1500!

We also briefly talked about PT and recovery time, and I reminded her that I was a swimmer and that this was all very, very important to me. She said that if all goes smoothly, I should be able to get back into to pool for light kicking after 6-8 weeks, and that I should be able to start building back up to regular workouts at 5-6 months. This was so great to hear, even though I know it will probably take me much longer to completely feel back to ‘normal’ in the pool. As long as I can suit up and get wet….that alone will motivate me and help me along the recovery process.

So, I guess the count-down is officially on! T-minus 2 weeks and 6 days. I am crazy busy at work right now, trying to get all my tasks and projects done before I’m off for 2.5-3 weeks after the surgery. And of course get as many swim practices in as possible. I literally have almost all of my days and weekends planned until then. My to-do list includes random every day things like: deep clean the house; get a haircut; cut the dogs’ nails; stock the pantry with easily-opened and/or liquid foods; etc. etc. All that fun stuff I won’t be able to do for a while. Luckily I’ll at least be able to do all my online Xmas shopping while I’m at home recovering! (Also on the recovery time list: investigate re-financing the house, lol).

I may or may not drop another post before the surgery….depends on the time crunch. I will definitely be posting during the recovery process however, so until then…..last one fast one!!!

EDIT: I forgot to mention, the SCM Zone meet last weekend was so fun!! However I realized how stressed and un-rested I am right now....after my first race I was just dead tired and really couldn't shake it off for the rest of the weekend. Even during the 50 fly (my pet race), the last 5 strokes were just KILLER for me. You know you're tired when you feel that much lactic acid kick in during a freakin 50! I really wanted to do a :31.X but had to settle for :32.2. Good enough for now!

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Updated November 15th, 2012 at 01:13 AM by swimslick