A while back I separated my shoulder when I tripped over my feet as I was turning around and took a shot into the concrete floor in the back of the shop. It only took a second for this to happen. This was August 12, 10 weeks or so ago. In the time following I continued to do things as if the accident had not happened. I mowed the lawn, moved plywood panels as well as other regular work and continued to suspend people from time to time. I took some drugs for a bit, babied it, slept on my other side, took a few more drugs, stopped taking drugs, went in for check ups, was advised that the vacation would be good, found that treading water in the Aegean Sea was murder and went back in for another check up. Now I am advised to use physical therapy.
I have nothing against physical therapy, yet. I went in for the initial visit this morning, filled out a ton of paper work and met the person who will be working with me. In our initial meeting, he looked over my shoulder and told me pretty much everything I have either heard about so far or researched on my own. Simple answer to all of it is – “you’re fucked.”
A more complex answer is that it takes a really long time before you feel better, until you don’t feel like you have a sick upset stomach in your shoulder and I don’t know if it will ever NOT feel like I have a pile of wet gravel rolling around in there. I couldn’t have broken it or my arm or a leg or something that can actually be fixed. I had to come up with something that everyone seems to know all about except when it comes time to doing something about it. Our people over at Wikipedia say this:
In a Type III AC separation both acromioclavicular and coracoclavicular ligaments are torn. A significant bump is formed by the lateral end of the clavicle. This bump is permanent. The clavicle can be moved in and out of place on the shoulder. It may take 12 weeks to heal, and physical therapy can be beneficial. It may take even longer for the shoulder strength to approach feeling normal. The injured shoulder may not be able to take the abuse that it could previously, but for most purposes it will be quite usable and sufficient. However, there still is controversy as to whether or not surgery may be necessary for optimal shoulder use in sport.
I love the “controversial” part of it. Not to be grossing you out or professing to know more than I really do, within the first 24 hours of falling I was asking professionals (the ones that were not saying “eewww, we better send you some other place) whether or not there was some kind of cast or taping situation to keep things in place while this healed. I had wondered about this because I butchered for many years and felt I had a pretty basic idea of how bones, tendons and ligaments all fit together. I knew that my arm was now only being held in place by muscles – nothing else was connected anymore. The arm worked but was also just dead weight constantly pulling on the separation. The word I got was no. The only thing they could possibly offer (since I did not require surgery) was the kind of device you wear when you break your collar bone. They did not think that would be suitable or really do anything to help me.
Ok, so suck it up and take about 12 weeks to heal. Take drugs to not feel the pain. But wait, if I take those drugs to not feel the pain maybe I’m fooling myself into thinking I’m in better shape than I really am and am causing either more damage or at least, preventing proper healing.
So now we have physical therapy. He measured my strength and mobility and compared one arm and shoulder to the other. The solution for today: Tape the fucker up. In fact, he had to call an extra person into the room to grind my arm and shoulder into position while he taped it up. We’ll try this for three days and then perhaps try one of those braces you use when you break your collar bone.
Conclusion: watch your step.
The tape job sort of looked like this:
It was supposed to last until Thursday afternoon. It lasted until midnight on Monday. Back to the drawing board or maybe we need better glue. I’m thinking I need to create a device that will ratchet the arm upwards and the clavicle downwards. Maybe a steampunk version with gauges and gears. Something to scare children and little old ladies.