I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2019 (all of my submissions can be found here).
Today’s prompt is: REACH
What started as a tiny pain in my shoulder (I thought I had slept wrong) in February 2019 grew over a period of months to something much more painful and disturbing.
My range of motion became more and more restricted. I couldn’t reach a high shelf in the kitchen (or anything that involved something high above me). My whole arm hurt. My hand got numb. It got bad enough that I called the doctor (which says a lot!). I’m not doctor-averse, but I tend to shy away from taking the time. (I was also overdue for some basic physical-type stuff anyway.
In the midst of all this, I ended up having this painful-yet-funny situation that I shared on Facebook.
My doctor’s appointment was on a Monday in July. He ordered an X-ray. I went and got the X-ray that afternoon, then waited for some diagnosis. Backing up, when I arrived at the doctor, all their phone numbers on me were outdated (owing, I guess, to the fact that I had not been in a while). I corrected them so they would have the correct number to get in touch with me.
About a week later, I got snail mail with a letter that said “we can’t reach you — call us.”
Turns out they had been calling the ancient numbers, not my new number.
The nurse read off the X-ray results: “Arthritis and a bone spur.” Well — that didn’t sound good.
Commence the lengthy wait (about a month) to get into the orthopedist. Interestingly enough, Dr. Thompson is the same orthopedist who set Tenley’s foot when she was 3 and broke it jumping off the bed 20 years ago.
**end of five minutes**
He did a few diagnostic activities with me and asked if I had ever heard of “frozen shoulder.”
It’s another name for adhesive capsulitis, and it means the shoulder joint tissues develop tightness and scarring that keeps the shoulder from rotating.
After a month of waiting, having convinced myself of the worst — that I would have to take time off work to have surgery — the solution (they said) was four stretches, twice a day.
Now, I’m a bit of a pessimist about being handed sheets of paper with stretches. It reminded me of the balance exercises we were supposed to do with my father-in-law, also disseminated when a medical professional handed over some sheets of paper and said “do this every day.” (To be fair, I am a bit more compliant as a patient than he was!).
The good news? THE STRETCHES WORK!
The situation isn’t perfect yet, but my range of motion is so much better and the pain has lessened a good bit. I read (and the doctor confirmed) that frozen shoulder does clear up on its own eventually (he also mentioned some people get it in both shoulders at once — I just can’t imagine how those people keep functioning!).
I’m glad I trusted the sheets of paper (and the doctor) this time. I also learned (yet again) a lesson about why catastrophizing without doing extensive research or waiting to hear a specialist’s opinion is so counterproductive.