Something I Can’t Mend

Posted by admin | Filed under Cornucopia, Off Topic | Nov 10, 2008 | Comments Off

That is probably the biggest understatement of the year. Seriously.

A Shoulder Dislocated (Doesn’t look like much does it?)Back on September 13th my right shoulder dislocated – again. Dislocated is such a simple, benign word that in no way whatsoever describes the pain or long-term effects of such an event.

A bit of history: this first happened back in 1986 thanks to my ex-husband moving my bike and not telling me. Dark room… bike in the way… over you go! Hospital time and a brand new experience to add to the diary.

Over the years it’s happened probably 12 times (though it feels like a lot more), and all but four of those times, I’ve managed to ‘relax’ enough to get the shoulder back where it belongs. Mind you, that usually takes hours, but I’ve been able to do it.

Not this last time, it was like one of those believe-it-or-not situations or the you-have-got-to-be-kidding me ones.

I live alone with the three fur-kids, in a two-story house. I had just finished my shower and was wringing my hair out… when…a moment of really awful pain, the knowledge that I was in deep do-do, and there was nothing I could do to stop what was happening.

My right arm ended up at a 90-degree angle over my head. I had to hold on to it with my other arm to stop any movement. Abject terror was the immediate feeling. Did I mention my front door was locked too?

So there I stood, in the bathtub, doing deep breathing exercises to force myself to relax. It took a long time, but eventually I made it out of the tub, down the hall to the office… knocked the phone off the receiver… and after a lot of angling and false starts, balanced my hand on my head and very, very, very carefully moved my other arm to dial Mike for help. I then managed (do not ask me how, I have no earthly idea), to get through my rolodex and call a neighbor that teaches nursing; told her to bring a knife to cut through the door to get to me.

Fast-forward two hours.

My arm is now back at my side, but won’t fully go back where it belongs. Boy am I beaten up at this point. I would have kept trying, but was pretty much told you’re going to the hospital. See I didn’t want to do that as I have no medical insurance (can’t get any).

They got some clothes on me (Modesty? You’re kidding right?) and down the stairs (no, you really don’t want to know) and into the car.

First stop was a Doc-in-the-Box a few blocks away. Not only couldn’t they help, the receptionist didn’t even know how to get to the nearest hospital; another patient very kindly provided that information.

Did I mention that this was the night of Hurricane Ike?  If you’re going to do it, do it all out!

An eternity later we got there…. Finally got into a room and they hooked me up with: an I.V, heart monitor, constant blood pressure monitor and oxygen. I am not kidding. No pain medication, but all this other stuff.

Two x-rays and over 2-hours later I was ready to crawl into the hallway and start screaming for help. Mind you, the emergency room was empty, this wasn’t a busy time – and still no pain medication.

We finally got some action (and let me tell you, if I had the name of the nurse that was so rough in moving me and my dislocated shoulder, I would be filing a complaint), I was knocked out for about 2 minutes while arm was man-handled back into place.

The doctor wasn’t happy with it sliding-back instead of popping-back.  The tendons and ligament are so stretched out, that they simply can’t hold the arm in.

Oh yeah, the inside of the shoulder bone is dented from my arm snapping back into place. I’ve developed a really high pain tolerance.

Surgical Repair Procedure for Dislocating ShouldersHow much did this little jaunt cost me? Well paying the ‘room’ fee immediately meant a 40% discount; only $950 paid at that moment….  reach for the credit card in the purse. The doctor bill came later: $1141… radiology for four x-rays was a truly bargain price of only $72.

Six or so weeks later, I can’t move the arm even shoulder high. Between the pain and the risk of slippage, it’s a pretty scary situation.

Getting dressed is an experience (try putting a bra on with only one arm); loose, button, or stretch tops only. I have long hair – can’t use a hair dryer and using electric curlers is a real interesting adventure.

You lift with one arm, shift the car using two hands, even putting a seat belt on is a problem. Up until last week, I had a jerry-rigged board so that my mouse was in front of my keyboard because I couldn’t move my arm to the right.

I’m not even going to get into sleeping, showering or washing my hair. The cell phone goes everywhere with me now. Everywhere.

There are some new surgical techniques that are much less invasive – out patient, home same day in fact! Unfortunately I really don’t have an option anymore with this stupid shoulder of mine.

Anyone know of a nice program in the Dallas area that works with people that can’t get medical insurance? If you do, please don’t keep it to yourself

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