The end to a year of debilitating pain is in sight. I make it sound worse than it has been, but I think my perception of pain is different to other people. I can take pain, yo! Except my feet. Man! I’ve got the most crazy sensitive feet on Mother Earth. Standing on my toe is the equivalent of severing my arm with a hacksaw! Not even joking here, except I’ve never attempted to sever my arm with a hacksaw, but I can imagine that would be pretty sore.
Did I tell you how I got to be in debilitating pain for a year? I can’t remember if I told you. Anyway. About 56 weeks ago I was running in the garden with my two dogs. The pitbull, Jess, a rescue from the SPCA had been living with me for about 3 months and EP, Maverick, Coco and Romeo had moved in about a month after her. Now we were a lovely, happy, loud boisterous family in a big, happy family home. So on this day, I was in the garden playing a new game with Maverick and Jess. Every game was a new game because we were all in a new family together. I ran away from the two dogs, past the pool, through the bottom gate, around the corner hedge. I was doing well. They had given chase and I knew they would be catching me shortly. What I didn’t count on was their blindness and velocity. They just ran through me like I was a fucking flimsy finish line tape! It’s like they didn’t even know I was in the game with them, or even in the garden with them. I was running and then I was flipping over and then I was landing on my left shoulder and head and back and then I was rolling on the ground in agony. And didn’t those two fucking morons think this was the best part of the game? They proceeded to jump all over me, biting and playing like I was a newly opened groaning chew toy. I got up off the floor for two reasons: 1. I thought they were going to maul me and 2. I knew no-one was coming to my rescue! I limped into the house while the two dogs kept doing zoomies around the house without their new chew toy. My shoulder was sore, but as it is with these things, I just got on with it. Three days later, I was walking down the patio stairs with Jess next to me and she got all excited and cut me off as I stepped onto the stairs which tripped me up and I went stumbling down the stairs. Would you know it, I landed on my left shoulder. I knew that this was not good, but got up and carried on. A few weeks later, no longer able to lift my arm, I made an appointment with my best friend, Clare-Anne the physio and she started the futile exercise of trying to fix my shoulder. And it got betterish. But it was never great. And as it goes with these things, I just carried on.
It was difficult lifting things out of cupboards. Simple things were challenging and my neck and shoulder were often sore and gave me headaches. And then one day in November I was running and then I was flying through the air and then I was landing with my elbows bent to break my fall. And in that moment, I knew I had blown whatever was left of my shoulder right into orbit. From then on, no amount of physio, bio or painkillers could help. My shoulder went from bad to worse. Eventually, with Christmas holidays looming and as suggested several times by Clare-Anne, I called a surgeon and went for x-rays. X-rays revealed a little bony outcrop that could have been a cause of some, but not all the pain I was feeling. The surgeon gave me a cortisone injection and told me to come back in the new year if it didn’t get better and he’d arrange a scan and we could get a good view of what was going on. It got better, which was a pity because the surgeon was delightful. For the first time in many months, my shoulder got better. And then it got worse again. And then it got even worse. To the point that I went back to Dr Delightful last week. He seemed skeptical about my pain. Did he not believe I was in pain? Was I being a hypochondriac about the pain? He sent me for a very expensive MRA (like an MRI, but with ultraviolet ink injected into the joint) I was so paranoid that they would find nothing, I almost phoned and cancelled. I went ahead with the scan yesterday which was somewhat uncomfortable, but they’d given me a local anaesthetic in the joint to inject the ultraviolet stuff. They said I would wait 3 days for the surgeon’s call. When I woke up this morning, I was in so much pain, I almost vomited. I actually fantasized about Dr Delightful telling me that I’d blown up my entire shoulder and so I should have been in much more pain than I was showing and that I must be a real trouper to “shoulder” this much injury so stoically! And then a feverish fear would come over me that he would phone and tell me nothing obvious was wrong with my shoulder and so nothing could be done for me.
The thought of having to wait until Monday for that news was also just soul destroying. I really am in quite a bit of pain. I suppose it’s not hacksaw to the arm stuff, but I’m just in constant discomfort. I can’t lift my water glass off this table which is like half a centimeter behind my shoulder. I can’t check my watch while I’m running. Can you imagine not being able to do that simple thing? I can’t take a plate out of a high cupboard. I can do all of those things with my right arm, but I’m left handed. And everything I can do, I have to think about and do cautiously because I don’t want the pain that comes with almost every movement of my shoulder. I also think this constant pain has made me a nasty person. I have a short temper and I’ve stopped caring about people’s feelings at work. So I’m even shittier to be around than usual.
And then he phoned. Dr Delightful phoned me and told me he had the results. I still thought he was going to tell me nothing obvious in the scans. But he didn’t. As it turns out, I have a 1.5cm tear on one of the tendons. I have an impingement caused by that bony outcrop he spotted on the x-rays and there is some cartilage damage around the joint. I wanted to jump for joy, but I played it cool with Dr Delightful. He said that all of it could be fixed with surgery, 6 weeks in a sling and 6-12 months rehab to get back to normal. It seems like a lot, but I’ve been in pain for a year so far? So what’s another year? At least the next year will be spent heading towards relief. I can’t tell you how glad I am to know that I fucked up my shoulder. My biggest fear was that I would be told there was nothing wrong and I should just wait it out. I have waited it out and now I shall get it fixed and I shall have no more pain…eventually.
I was almost out of faith there. But now there is hope. Yay! I shall schedule the surgery for sometime in the next two weeks and then I hope to be able to give you a miserable update about my painful shoulder! I’ll also let you know how it goes with Dr Delightful!
Yours in Natalie Imbruglia!