Monday, March 21, 2011

The First Post of 2011...

     As is tradition on the Scribbler,  I took the winter off from posting to this Godforsaken little corner of the Blogiverse, and now with the days getting longer and winter's icy grip weakening, I have taken up the keyboard to pound out more of the stuff that keeps the throbbing masses glued to this page.
     I had the strangest feeling that 2011 was going to be a very different year compared to those in the past.  Call it a hunch or a odd alignment of the planets, or maybe that God in his infinite wisdom decided that my heretofore boring life needed a shakeup. On January 27, I was doing my usual job Downtown patrolling my favorite parking garage,when I stepped out of the golf cart I was using to patrol, and slipped on a patch of ice.  I landed very hard on my left shoulder.  The affected area started to hurt as expected, but the pain wasn't enough to require me to go to the emergency room, so I shrugged it off and finished the rest of my shift.  The next day, I had told The Denise about what happened, and the first thing out of her mouth was to get it looked at.  I hemmed and hawed and protested that it was just a bruise and nothing more. But in that uniquely persuasive style that The Denise has: 1 part begging, 1 part bitching, and the rest just bloody-minded stubborness, she convinced me to call it into the job and have it looked at.   Well, long story short, as usual Denise was right.  After x-rays, and an MRI,  what I thought was a simple bruise or strain was actually a torn rotator cuff.
     Now for all yinz that don't know what I am talking about;  the rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that extend from the neck and shoulder area to cover the ball and socket joint that connects the arm to the shoulder.  That mass of muscles and tendons allow the arm to be extended away from the body and also allows the arm to move through its full range of motion.  When those tendons get torn,  the arm loses that range of motion, and if left unchecked,  the muscle can pull away from the shoulder to the point that it can never be reattached again.  I wasn't able to lift my arm more than 60 degrees or so from my side without serious pain, and I couldn't keep it extended for more than a few seconds. I could still bend the arm at the elbow and wrist, but extending it out from the body was a no-go.  Fortunately the orthopedist taking my case said that the injury could be repaired by arthroscopic surgery on an outpatient basis, which meant that rather than opening up my shoulder with a large incision, the muscles could be reattached through a series of small incisions, and I didn't have to stay in the hospital.  Bear in mind folks, I've never had surgery of this level before.  This required me to be knocked out and have a nerve block pumped into my shoulder to curb the pain.  It's an unnerving feeling laying on a gurney talking to the doctors and nurses, and then three hours later waking up with a large bulky sling fitted to my arm, electrodes attached to my shoulder and my throat feeling raw because they shoved a breathing tube down my throat.  I had to stay with The Denise and her family for a few days because the medical types didn't want me to be alone the first few days after the surgery.   The whole medical procedure was delayed because the doctor that was assigned to my case would not clear me medically for surgery because my blood sugar and blood pressure were high.  I'm pretty sure you know where I'm going with this, kids.  I had joined the one club that no one wants to be involved with.  Yes, I am a member of Club "D"  as in Diabetes.  It didn't really surprise me.  Diabetes is strong in my family especially among the women, although it will jump sides quick.  Also, black folks tend to have higher chances of getting the disease than the general population.  And my atrocious eating habits pretty much guaranteed me a raging case.  Fortunately, my case can be controlled with medication and better eating habits along with more exercising.   I don't have to deal with insulin just yet.  I have made some changes to my diet.  I gave up on the soda pop and just drink flavored water.  I'm eating more fruit and veggies, as well as cut out the sugar and half and half in my coffee.   I have a meter and am testing myself every couple days.  I still have a ways to go in terms of making the bigger changes in my diet.  And I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't cheating.  Making radical changes in my diet is not as easy as it sounds. I have to change a lot of bad habits.  But I think I'm on my way.
     I'll be starting my physical therapy this week and will be going twice a week for the next six weeks.   My arm will be in a sling for about another month and lucky for me, this whole situation is covered by worker's compensation.  I've been off almost two months now and while I'm not thrilled about my job, I do want to get back to work as soon as possible.  All this sitting around makes me a little stir crazy.  And because of the sling, my sleeping routine is completely out the window.  I'm forced to sleep on my back and I'm used to sleeping on my stomach, so it's been difficult to get a good night's sleep these days.  But hopefully, this recovery period will pass quickly and I can get back to what passes for a normal life.  It's a pain in the butt to trying to live with only one arm.  I'm glad that it wasn't my right arm that was injured.
     Mentally,  I'm approaching all this with a positive attitude.  If I hadn't had this injury, I would not have been warned about my blood pressure and impending diabetes.  I also picked up a family doctor out of the deal.  I have a lot of support from my church family.  They've looked out for me and made sure that I was being taken care of in body and soul.  I appreciate what they have done for me.  God in his wisdom has given me many blessings and has shown his mercy and support through adversity.  It's important to be able to see the silver lining in every cloud, and God is showing me that lesson through this ordeal.  I'll be alright.