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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


So I was slipping on the ice about a month ago and on the way down I decided to take the opportunity to launch into a double axel followed by an immediate triple salchow. I did not stick the landing- in fact: quite the other way around.

While I was waiting for the scoring from the judges I noticed a searing pain in my shoulder- I must have used my oustretched arm to break my fall (AGAIN- quite the opposite was true).

I assumed it was a separated shoulder, or maybe just a trial separation, since we've been trying to work things out. We used to do everything together, and now we aren't as attached as we once were.

For a few weeks I tried to ignore it, but when my shoulder refused to play tennis with me I knew it was time to act. So I performed a soliloquy from Richard the Third, but still nothing.

The orthopedist (he started calling himself an orthopaedist and my co-payment went up 5 bucks) said to press against his hand as hard as I could.
Me: "I've been pressing against it for five minutes already."
Doctor: "Jesus you are weak."
Me: "if you think that's bad wait till I use my injured shoulder."

The MRI confirmed the two things my doctor already knew: that I had a torn rotator cuff and that I was frightened of loud noises.

I was considered a good candidate for surgery, since I was not a republican. The anesthesiologist came by with a gown for me to wear (It was no Versace, but it really showed off my ass nicely).

They repaired my rotator cuff, and also shaved my labrum. I said to the doctor that the shaved labrum sounded hot, but I thought those were "lady-parts?" He assured me that that was true only in my case, so I felt good about that.

The operation went well, and my wife was told that I was resting comfortably. Translation: He is in a drug-induced coma, is weak, nauseous and has a tube coming out of his ass that may or may not be related to the surgery. She assumed that I was still under anesthesia, since I was saying stupid things. You can go ahead and stick your own joke here, I don't mind.

She had already told the staff that my wish is not to have any heroic measures to keep me alive in the case of a tragic mishap such as having shoulder surgery. I was worried that she might consider the act of making me dinner a heroic measure, and end all life-support.
Wife: "What seems to be the problem officer?"
Police: "someone called to report you trying to kill your husband."
Wife: "He would have wanted it that way- Look at his quality of life- He can't function normally and in fact never could."
Police: "the hospital staff saw you smothering him with a pillow."
Wife: "Come on- we were just having a little fun."
Police: "But he's dead!"
Wife: "Okay- a LOT of fun."

The doctor said my arm would be in a sling for six weeks. SIX WEEKS! That's over FIVE WEEKS!

I thought the procedure would be fairly easy; if you watch any western movie you'll see the "good guy" get shot at least once in the shoulder, and he laughs it off as if he just stubbed his toe. "The bullet only grazed him!" they cheer. Well that is exactly what it is like: a herd of antelope grazing on your shoulder. And by the way stubbing your toe is no fun and games either.

The pain was so great ("great" hardly describes it) that I could only sleep for about 10 minutes at a time. And it was not the deep, satisfying sleep that I used to get in high school trigonometry class.

It was like constant torture. At least now I know that if the enemy ever gets hold of me, I will have NOTHing to say to them. Mostly because we probably don't share the same interests.

My wife heard about animal therapy and she thought, wouldn't it be healing to leave our 16 year-old dog with me to cheer me up and help me convalesce? We had a short non-verbal conversation of whistles and stares that went like this:
Dog: "Who the hell are you?"
Me: "Come here my little friend!"
Dog: "What did you say?"
Me: "I want to pet you! Nice Doggie!"
Dog: "I'm coming over there since someone just took a crap over here."
Me: "Ahhhhh, Nice Doggie! I knew you'd come to your Daddy!"
But instead he just stood there until a stiff wind blew him over, then it was time for his nap.

So I've been sitting here alone at home, my arm immobilized, with plenty of time to collect my thoughts. The first thought that I collected is that the collection probably will not go up in value.

Incidentally, the rotator cuff is actually a group of four muscles, and the tendons associated with them. They attach the scapula, or shoulder bone, to the top of the arm. The arm bone is the humerus, unless you break it, then it's not so funny, is it? If you have a dislocated shoulder, don't immediately go running into surgery. If you really can't locate it, do what my mom used to suggest to me, and ask yourself, "Where did I last see it?" I used to say, "Mom, if I knew where I last saw it, I'd go over there and get it."