March 6, 2019 - Comments Off on life update – the one about surgery and rehab

life update – the one about surgery and rehab

So, I did a dumb thing.

I joined a crossfit box. I know, I know... I should have reconsidered the moment my Orthopedic Surgeon friend said, "you're gonna get hurt." Like really, really, I should have listened to him. Because three weeks later I was in his living room, almost in tears, as he assessed my severely hurt shoulder.

34-1 Diagnosis confirmed by a non-friend doctor: Detached pectoral from the humerus bone.

Now, in defense of crossfit, I wasn't bro'ing out trying to max out my bench, like everyone thinks. I wasn't throwing massive weight around, or doing anything my body was telling me not to. I was literally warming up when this injury was sustained. Warming up. Yes, I got hurt during warm-up. Queue laugh-track and enough old man jokes to last a lifetime. This is how it happened... It was my 3rd week of on-ramp at our local crossfit box, this is where they take newbies like me and make sure I know what I'm doing so I don't get hurt. This particular evening, we started with a 500yard row and some stretching from the pull-up bar, literally hanging from a pull-up bar to stretch out our arms, shoulders, delts, lats and other stuff. From there we went to the DIP bars and everyone did 5 DIPS. It was during my 5th DIP, that a loud, "CCCRUUUUUNNNCHHH" emanated from my shoulder/chest area. It was audible. The sound was like when you tear a turkey leg off the Thanksgiving turkey, "CCCRUUUUUNNNCHHH". Grossing myself out now.

My shoulder subluxed a bit (didn't come out completely as there was no damage to my capsule or any tendons/ligaments in/around my shoulder (confirmed later via MRI). I dismounted rather awkwardly from the DIP bar with everyone saying,

"What was that...?"

"Are you ok?"

"Did you just separate your shoulder?"

"I heard a crunch..."

My coach stood mouth agape. I was in magnificent pain but could move my shoulder... adrenaline was pumping to the MAXXXXXX!!!

After a few minutes and some deep, calming breathes, I decided something was in fact wrong and hightailed it to my buddy's house for an initial assessment/shoulder to cry on. Pun intended.


Fast forward to my actual doctors visit... after confirmation of the probable tear of my pec from my humerus, I was scheduled for an MRI so that everyone could see the actual there there. The MRI visit was interesting and terrifying at the same time. I will say, I kept my shit together during the first 40 minutes of laying on my back with the interior of the MRI machine two inches from my nose (I have a big nose). Deep breathes and some Public Radio spouting the latest Trump fiasco kept me distracted from the loud banging and confined space. The second scan was a bit more involved, as they wanted to scan my chest which required I lay flat on my belly with my hands under my thighs and my head turned painfully to the right arm (opposite the injury), which meant no headphones piping music into my brain. To make sure I stayed still... they Velcro'd a full body brace down on top of me to limit my movement and keep me in place. This was fine for the first 30 minutes. But the lack of distraction and the extended time began to take its toll. I used every tool in my anxiety prevention belt to stave off the impending panic attack. 15 minutes later when I thought the last round of imaging was done I lifted my head and said with certainty...

"That's it right?!?!"

A voice over a miniature speaker above me crackled, "We'd like to do one more."

"How long?"

More crackling distortion as they spoke through what had to be a CB radio, "3 and a half minutes."

"Ok, I can handle that."

Three deep breathes later I resumed my awkward position... and thirty seconds later as the knocking commenced, I envisioned a full on zombie attack in the other room, which would leave me helpless and confined strapped to a board within a massive magnet. FULL PANIC ATTACK MODE ACHIEVED.

I squeezed the thingy they gave me if I needed to get out. I squeezed like my next breathe depended on it. A voice over the speaker, "We are almost done... can you stay still."


My voice, being on the edge of hysteria, got them into my room quickly to help me out of the machine. Though I was a bit relieved they responded and had not in fact been the victims of a zombie attack, I was done with the exercise. They unleashed the velcro holding me down and I inched myself off the table, being careful not to slip on the sweat now dripping from my hands, brow, and nose. Fun Fact, I sweat profusely during a PANIC ATTACK. Always great to learn more about myself.

After all of this, I did not have to go back in "The Machine" to finish the imaging... they were fine with what they got. Yes, the MRI won that battle and honestly I'm not looking for a rematch.

In looking at the MRI results confirming a tear of the pectorals from the humorous bone and consultation through alternatives we decided the best route forward was surgery. I've got four girls, I'm active, I love golf, basketball, volleyball and picking up things... hence the decision to go through the long recovery process after surgery to be close to functional, than the alternative of a quirky arm for the rest of my life.

Urgency was now the reality. So, three weeks after the injury, I went under the knife for a third time in my life. Waking up in a complete daze, with a good report from the doctor. Happy to be alive (or on heavy sedation) I asked my wife to take a recovery room picture.


One benefit from surgery was that I was able to request they take out some previously collected hardware in my left shoulder -- a plate and eight screws from collarbone surgery my Junior year at The University of Tulsa. It was a two-fer. And as the pics below attest, I'm no longer an enhanced human being. Though my collarbone does look like a dog's chew toy now with the screw holes and deformations. #winning




I'm three weeks out from surgery and recovery has begun. Physical therapy sessions twice a week, with daily exercises to boot. Doc says, I'll be chipping and putting by June and making full swings by September. Seriously, rehab is no joke -- 6 months to full recovery. They didn't cover that in the pre-surgery booklet. #onward

Published by: samuel in life

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