Robot super powers- Activate!

March 14, 2010

Torn rotator cuff tendons are not fun. My shoulder began aching nearly 3 years ago, following the trip I took to S. Africa. At the time I thought it was pinched nerve. It had the quick, shooting pain, which seemed typical for a pinched nerve. After 2-3 weeks of diminishing pain, it slowly returned to normal, and I returned to my normal activities.

A year later, during my travels to an from N. Carolina to interview for my current position I managed to tweak the shoulder once again. At the time my thought was- probably a return of the same pinched nerve, but the pain was far more intense and far more limiting, so I got myself to the doctor.

A quick exam and a trip through the MRI later, and I had a rotator cuff tear through 75% of my tendon (specifically a high-grade undersurface tear of the supraspinatus tendon). The orthopedic surgeon suggested that the repair could wait, if I promised not to throw 50 pound bags of grain across the room. More importantly, he convinced the my new employer’s doctor that I could lift my arms above my head, and was therefore physically capable of taking my new job…. I spent  a few dicy hours in Raleigh, wanting to sign a lease agreement but unsure that I was hired, while the company doctor waited for a fax from my orthopedic surgeon before approving me for employment.

A year an half later, comfortably situated in my job and the Raleigh area, I find a local orthopedic surgeon and see what can be done. Two days later, I have a pre-operative exam for the next week and surgery scheduled for a week after that. I  also have decent size bill for expected expenses. It  happened faster than expected. I am now approaching 3 weeks post-operative and had the first of many physical therapy sessions. The arm is quickly becoming more useful, but there are many ranges of motion which are still beyond my reach.

The tear itself appeared to be caused by gradual wear, aggravated by a bone spur. I am now sans bone spur, 2 bursal sacs and have 4 incision scars encircling my left shoulder, which have healed. Any thoughts on cool tattoos that would incorporate the scars? I’ve never once considered tattoos for myself, but with the new scars the idea is oddly appealing.

Now I’m just waiting for the nanites (microscopic nano-robots) to complete the repair work. My robot super powers should activate any day now!

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