Rotator Cuff Repair SaraK - Living the Life after Rotator Cuff Surgery

SaraK

Staff member since December 30, 2020
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
2,665
Age
60
Location
Missouri
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Rotator cuff repair and bicep tenodesis or release surgery scheduled for one week from today (hopefully COVID-19 doesn't decide to interfere) but I'm starting this thread while I have a few minutes (and can still type). This is a looooooong post and feel free to ignore it. I'm using it to document the prep work I did. My way isn't the only way and may not be the best way, but maybe you'll get a few ideas!

I've been prepping for a few weeks - much more than I ever did for my hip replacements. That's probably because I live on my own now and my physical therapist told me that this surgery was much more painful and a more difficult rehab than the hips (which I was lucky and breezed through, for the most part). This was then reinforced by 1,000,001 people who threw in their 2 cents worth if they heard about the surgery - each felt the need to tell me this surgery wasn't for the faint of heart and would be very trying! I think I cooked one more meal each time someone provided that advice.

I injured my shoulder benchpressing without a spotter - just a stupid mistake and I'm paying for (in pain, lost activity and my share of the surgical cost) but it was funny to see the expression on the young ortho's face when he found out that this ordinary 57 year old woman was benching multiple reps at 80 lb! The pain was severe the first couple of weeks. During the first week or so, I couldn't lift my hand to my head (or hold it there if I used the other arm to lift it) to shampoo my hair, etc. I used ice and naproxen and did get some range of motion back as the swelling subsided. When I was still having significant pain and weakness after 3 weeks, I saw the ortho. He suspected a rotator cuff injury and sent me for an MRI. The MRI showed a 1.5cm full thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon as well as a labral tear impacting the long bicep tendon insert. Surgery was recommended and scheduled (I'm glad I didn't delay a month because of the San Diego seminar I had planned for the day of surgery since the seminar has now been cancelled).

I live alone but my 19 year old son will move back in for a few days (or longer maybe since his university has gone online for the next few weeks). Living alone meant I had to think a bit more about what I needed to do to be self-sufficient.

Preparations have included:
- lots of cleaning including defrosting the upright freezer and getting rid of stuff to empty out 2 shelves!
- meal prep - wide assortment of meals (most put in individual serving sizes and all cut into bite-sized pieces since a knife will be difficult to use) and "starters" like browning ground beef, dicing cooked chicken, etc. I have celiac so take out (even if I have someone to get it for me) isn't very easy to do and, who knows, maybe I'll eat healthier for a few weeks!
- electric toothbrush
- battery-operated can opener (set it on the can and push a button and no need to hold)
- hand soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner all put in pump bottles (I used a couple of old hand soap bottles for the shampoo and conditioner) so easier to use one handed
- TENS machine - never had one before and now I'm hooked
- icing - I'm not sure if I'll get an ice machine, so I bought some new ice bags (I use the type you can fill with ice or fill with the homemade gel solution (alcohol/water mixture). The contraption that I had used to hold an ice bag on the hip is also designed to be used for the shoulder or back and I've made sure I'll be able to get it on and off.
- for the ladies - don't forget the front clasp bras! You won't be able to hook it behind you and it won't be fun to try to twist it around after you hook it when you can only use one hand. I also got some snug camisoles to wear as undershirt for days that I don't want to mess with a bra.
- other clothes - big, soft V-necked t-shirts, too big scrubs with elastic band, loose tank tops with large arm holes, a tank style "swing" dress (tanks can be worn with cardigan)
- shoes - I generally wear either tennis shoes or dressy slip-ons. I got elastic shoelaces for the tennis shoes
- electric spiralizer (for healthy zoodles)
- small coffee pot for the office (I won't be able to fill a mug from the dispensers the firm provides)
- lots of hand towels - I was advised that they are easier to use to dry yourself after a shower because they're not as heavy or bulky

Grooming issues - mostly for the ladies:
- shaving the legs will be difficult afterwards - get it done beforehand! (one week before is best)
- mani/pedi planned for the weekend before surgery
- hair getting chopped off - I've been letting it grow and it tangles so much that I won't be able to control it with one hand
- even worse than the legs will be shaving the underarms - again, get it done beforehand (and then try to ignore it)
- coloring my hair afterwards will be difficult one handed. One of my friends kept asking what she could do to help. I decided this was a perfect "girl's night" event for a few weeks out (when I'll hopefully also be able to have a glass of wine).

I spent some time trying to be mindful with all I did as I prepared for surgery - trying to see where I use both hands or the surgical hand and see what it's like using the other or where I needed to make accommodations. For instance, I hadn't thought about the fact that I wouldn't be able to use my trusty recliner because it operates with a lever on the right side, which is the surgical side. Luckily, I also have a reclining couch and can use the left side of that. I practiced putting on and taking off the seatbelt with my left hand and driving one-handed (when I could bring the second into action if necessary) - I can tell you, crossing the arm over to shift isn't fun (and I'm glad I have an automatic).

My surgeon also told me to keep using the arm as much as possible (but let the pain be my guide) to keep the range of motion. He said it would help recovery later. While I wasn't supposed to benchpress or do anything to bring a weight up beyond the hip, he did let me do squats and deadlifts. Being the wild child that some on the hip forum know me to be, I did an inhouse powerlifting competition at my training gym a couple of weeks ago and broke my personal records by squatting 165 lb and deadlifting 200 lb (the only day I took it really heavy after the accident). After the meet, I stopped lifting but have been doing lots of range of motion exercises. When I'm going stir crazy during the first 6 weeks after surgery, I have plans to do lots of leg work!
 
Last edited:

Jamie

Staff member since Feb, 2009
Senior Administrator
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
69,967
Age
74
Location
Kansas
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
OneStep Ambassador Icon
It sounds like you've prepared well for your recovery. It can be tricky with shoulder surgery, but you'll do fine. I was able to do some slight things with my arm in a sling...like hold on to a jar of peanut butter to open it. But, if you wanted to be sure you can get to things in jars, put the product off in zip lock bags or small storage tubs. You still have to use two hands to open even a zip lock bag or snap lock container, but it's a little easier than unscrewing a jar.
 

Jaycey

ADMINISTRATOR Staff member since February 2011
Administrator
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
39,513
Location
Yorkshire
Gender
Female
Country
United Kingdom United Kingdom
@SaraK Thanks for your detailed prep post. As we continue to grow this shoulder forum your information will really help other members facing this surgery.

Not long now!
 

tazzy13

member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
132
Age
68
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Wishing you all the best on your upcoming surgery. Sounds like you have a great start, might think about getting a grabber sometimes you can find them at the dollar store, I know I tend to drop alot of stuff using my other hand and it might bother you bending over to pick them up.
 
OP
OP
SaraK

SaraK

Staff member since December 30, 2020
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
2,665
Age
60
Location
Missouri
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Thanks @tazzy13 - I'll consider that. It would be a bit ironic if I get one of those now when I didn't for either hip replacement!
 

tazzy13

member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
132
Age
68
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
I know when I had my labrum repair, it hurt like heck bending over to pick stuff up. good luck and speedy recovery.plus I've noticed after my hip replacement I'm not as graceful bending over,it seems to throw the balance off with one arm in a sling.
 

Celle

MODERATOR EMERITIUS
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Nov 19, 2011
Messages
46,068
Location
New Zealand
Gender
Female
Country
New Zealand New Zealand
Best wishes for your surgery, @SaraK - and thank you for posting about the preparations you've made. I'm hoping to have a reverse shoulder replacement soon and I needed some guidance about how to prepare.
 

momweb

graduate
Joined
Apr 2, 2015
Messages
594
Age
68
Location
Connecticut
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
@SaraK good morning. i'll be following your post closely. the only advice i have is have a couple on call. after what i just went through - check. my post... when the pain is excruciating moving is difficult. the brain also does nt work well. my husband had to figure out when to take meds. day 2 is much better. i actually fixed my own breakfast. still typing with one hand. not fun. ready for a nap.
 

marieltha

graduate
Joined
Apr 9, 2019
Messages
897
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Happy St Joseph’s Day! Good luck with your shoulder.
 

marieltha

graduate
Joined
Apr 9, 2019
Messages
897
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
So far, only non-residents elective surgery has been cancelled, and only one hospital has done that.
 
OP
OP
SaraK

SaraK

Staff member since December 30, 2020
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
2,665
Age
60
Location
Missouri
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Nervous up until it was done (both about the surgery and about the threat of it being cancelled) but now it's done - let the healing begin!
 

Layla

Staff member since November 20, 2017
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Jun 26, 2017
Messages
32,563
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Congrats Sara! So happy for you that surgery wasn’t canceled. Let the healing begin.
Wishing you comfort as you begin the journey.
@SaraK
 

Mojo333

Staff member since August 15, 2017
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Mar 8, 2017
Messages
28,537
Age
59
Location
GA
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
:wave:Glad to know you are on a healing path.
Healing Mojo coming your way, my friend. :loveshwr:
 
OP
OP
SaraK

SaraK

Staff member since December 30, 2020
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
2,665
Age
60
Location
Missouri
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
I got a nerve block too so no pain yet except where that needle went in. Didn't get to talk to surgeon yet so not sure what he found or did
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Hip4life

Staff member since January 6, 2022
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Mar 27, 2019
Messages
1,050
Age
65
Location
Nebraska
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Glad you’re on the healing side. Healing prayers coming your way that all will be well and the pain minimal. Be safe, my friend. ❤️
 

Jamie

Staff member since Feb, 2009
Senior Administrator
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
69,967
Age
74
Location
Kansas
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
OneStep Ambassador Icon
Welcome to your recovery. Sounds like you've gotten a great start.
 
OP
OP
SaraK

SaraK

Staff member since December 30, 2020
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
2,665
Age
60
Location
Missouri
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
Today has been a bit rough. The nerve block wore off about 7am.Even taking pain meds as directed, it kept ramping up. This surgeon prescribed half dosage of hip doc so I decided to double the size for one time and that helped get it more manageable. Lots of ice and hoping tomorrow is better.
 

Hip4life

Staff member since January 6, 2022
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Mar 27, 2019
Messages
1,050
Age
65
Location
Nebraska
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
I’m so sorry, Sara. I’m glad you’re safely creative in trying to get on top of that kind of pain. I think I would have been more comfortable with my hip had I known then what I know now about the meds and dosages and non pharmaceutical tricks that worked for me, eventually. I hope you’re able to do the same. Sending angel comfort and continued healing blessings. ❤️ Pat
 

Layla

Staff member since November 20, 2017
BoneSmart Staff
Joined
Jun 26, 2017
Messages
32,563
Gender
Female
Country
United States United States
:hi: Hello Sara,
I hope today was better than yesterday and tomorrow even better than today.
Sending a hug and wishing you comfort and lots of restorative rest.
@SaraK
 

BoneSmart #1 Best Blog

Forum statistics

Threads
61,721
Messages
1,537,726
BoneSmarties
37,574
Latest member
Cal1100.
Recent bookmarks
0
Top Bottom