Thursday, 22 June 2017

Arm update

As you can see I am able to walk and live comfortably during the day, but I am not sleeping at night. As soon as I lie horizontal I get pain in my shoulder despite the fact that it was the humorous that was broken. I have taken to sleeping downstairs in my armchair suitably propped up, but that is obviously a compromise and sleep has been poor ever since the op. I was up at 4:30 am this morning.

The arm is solidly bent at about seventy degrees, so I can't use it to wash my face or get food to my mouth with a fork or spoon, and I can't reach very far with it compared with my right arm, so I am now even more dexterous in the strict Latin meaning of that word. The arm and wrist are still weak and swollen, and my little finger and the left edge of my hand are permanently pins-and-needles and sometimes quite painful. I have had a sit in the car and I can operate the gear shift, but I intend to leave a try at driving for at least another week or so to give my arm the chance to settle down a bit more.

I am still awaiting an appointment with the physio and in the meantime I have devised my own set of exercises which I am doing every couple of hours. One step forward is that I have now resumed typing with two fingers instead of one.

I would be surprised if I can ever get the arm straight again, but it should improve to some extent with the exercises, but I reckon I will be permanently disadvantaged, but I see no reason why I shouldn't get back to multi-day walking. You will have read in the last post that I have tried on my rucksack and that is fine, and my exercises confirm that I can comfortably employ the arm in the motion required for walking with poles! On these local walks I have only been using one pole  for now.

12 comments:

John J said...

When I had my knee op some years ago I thought my knee wouldn't ever regain the flexibility it once had. The physio exercises changed all that - although it took a couple of months.
One of the most (psychologically) unpleasant exercises was to force a knee bend by wrapping a tea towel around my ankle and pulling back as far as it would go....and then some more. It was the 'some more' that was unpleasant - it didn't hurt but I just felt my knee was going to fall apart.
I'm quite sure that your recovery will progress well, just do the exercises!

Sir Hugh said...

JJ - I had the same experience with my knee replacement. It started the first morning after the op when the surgeon came round and told me to bend it. I did the best I could, then he told me to hook my other foot round the ankle and pull back more.

I am supposed to have an appointment for the physio, but I am well on with my own series of exercises already. I think you really need to get onto as quickly as possible.

afootinthehills said...

I agree Conrad - the quicker exercises start the better, and like John J I'm sure you will progress well. Good to see you're finding good walks from home.

Phreerunner said...

Good to hear that the pot is off Conrad. I hope you can enjoy driving again soon. At least you have power steering these days!

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - I've just had a call from Kendal hospital confirming a physio appointment next Tuesday at 11:30 am

Using our bus service the best I could do would be:

Dep. Arnside 9:35 am
Arr. hospital 10:12
Appointment 11:30
Depart hospital 14:15
Arrive Arnside 14:58

Other arrangements will be made!

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Phreerunner - Looks like I might give driving a go earlier than planned in view of reply to Martin above.

Roderick Robinson said...

Some twenty-five years ago I dislocated my shoulder and cracked the relevant scapula while ski-ing. The dislocation was reduced in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in a procedure so hamfisted and barbaric (and incidentally so expensive) that I have dined out on its horrors throughout the succeding quarter-century. My own GP prescribed physiotherapy at the local hospital and I endured this for quite a few weeks until the therapist said no more could done.

I mention this to show I have form in physiotherapy and I feel I should issue a tiny word of warning regarding any DIY physio you are engaged in.The aim of my therapy was simple - to increase the radius of action of my shoulder. The method was even simpler, to force the arm back against accidental restrictions in the shoulder joint. To force it back (v. painful) but NOT TOO MUCH.

However there was a Catch 22 in this. If I didn't force the arm back enough I risked the restriction becoming permanent, if I forced it too much I risked further joint damage. As you can imagine this fine point of judgment demanded the expertise of the physiotherapist. It isn't enough to stop when it hurts or - manly fashion - to push on beyond the pain. Please be careful: you must avoid being both a wimp and a teeth-gritter.

Roderick Robinson said...

Among the comments that resulted from your post about soccer was your admirably concise principle: I'd rather do it than watch. So stay away from TV coverage of F1, sex with animals, bullfighting, infidelity among Royals, wing walking and the implicit message of the Donald Crowhurst biography. It would also be a good idea not to resume reading the Rabbit tetralogy.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - Thanks for the physio advice. I went through all this with my knee, and I think I may have overdone that, but there is a big difference. The knee joint was an artificial replacement designed to operate in a defined fashion with defined limits so it was possible to specify how much and to what ends the exercises should aim for. This time the whole thing is more random and for the moment I am doing what you say, only going to the immediate edges of restriction and keeping the reps to five only.
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"Rather do than watch" - You know full well what I meant. I refer to people whose main, and possibly ONLY pastime is to watch football, and/or perhaps other sports. I take, or have taken interest in all the other items you mention, some more than others.

Ruth Livingstone said...

Sounds like a long road ahead... but the good news is you can continue walking. I'm wondering if the shoulder pain is the beginning of a frozen shoulder? It can come on after an arm injury. Certainly worth discussing your shoulder with the physio too.

Sir Hugh said...

Ruth - thanks for that. I Googled the NHS advice site re Frozen Shoulder. As always one seems to be able to match symptoms to one's own, but your diagnosis looks spot on: worse at night lying down, keeping erect posture etc., likely after surgery. And if it is FS, exercise needs to be carefully defined, so I have decided to stop my own until I see the physio at Kendal hospital next Tuesday. Thanks so much for your advice - another plus for blogging eh?

beatingthebounds said...

Sorry to hear about your continuing discomfort. I've had a period of being unable to sleep with a painful shoulder and I can remember how dreadful I felt after just a few days of that.
I hope that the physio brings relief and that you get an appointment soon.

Sir Hugh said...

beating the bounds - I have an appointment this coming Tuesday at Kendal hospital so we shall see, meanwhile I battle on. I am reminded of Terry Wogan, in similar jocular, self deprecating tones, or quoting some of his more "modest" acquaintances, "I'm rarely free from pain, but I don't often talk about it"