Sisterhood of the Shoulder Surgery…


A couple of years ago, I noticed that my shoulder would hurt a bit while doing certain tasks, not a lot, just a sharp little pain now and then.  I chalked it up to getting older, being overweight, lack of muscle tone in my arms. And most of the time, it was just annoying, so I lived with it.

Over the last couple of years, we have been busy with life, and Dave’s own health issues, and even though my shoulder began to hurt more often and more severely, I just lived with it. Figuring I could work around it.  And that is was no big deal.

But this winter, it became apparent I needed to address this, as I could not lift my right arm past chest height, and it hurt pretty much all the time, especially at night.  If I had worked hard, physically, through the day, the pain would keep me up at night… And that just would not do.

So, finally, I found a specialist my insurance would cover and went in for an exam (this was after attempting to get my insurance to pay for the DR I really wanted to see for several months, a story for another day).

The exam was no surprise, there was something wrong with my shoulder, and it would need to be addressed soon Because, really,  it should have been addressed a while ago.

An MRI was recommended, and before I got out of the parking lot, I had one scheduled for the next day, a Saturday (the Dr was pretty serious about getting this taken care of).

Within 3 days, the MRI results were in and read and a plan was in place.  Surgery was set for June 2.  The DR had hoped that I could have surgery sooner, on May 26th, but since I had waited this long, and my sister was here, I pushed it out another week.

Now I am pretty tough.  I handle pain pretty well, and like to think that I am wildly independent.  So, I scheduled the surgery, even though Dave was scheduled to be out of town that day and for most of the next 2 weeks. I was certain that after the anesthesia wore off I would be fine.

I lined up a friend to watch the kids, another one to pick me up from the surgery center and yet another to stay with me that night after surgery, as I was required to have someone with me for 24 hours, or be admitted to the hospital, and I really did not want to deal with THAT!

All went as planned, kids were fine, I was fine, went home and Suzi and Gina and Myrna took turns watching me sleep and drool on the couch in the living room.

Then the anesthesia and the nerve block wore off.  And I started taking pain pills.  And in response to the pain medication, I started throwing up.  So I went off the pain pills, and attempted to manage the pain with ice and ibuprofen.

And that really wasn’t terribly effective, but I hate throwing up, so I just laid on the couch, with this amazing contraption that circulated ice water around my shoulder while applying just barely tolerable pressured and prayed for 4 hours to pass so I could take more ibuprofen.

And the Sisterhood took over.

My house was cleaned, my fridge was stocked, my kids were entertained and fed.  Many friends stopped by to check on me, or sit in the living room, pretending I was interesting company.  My dog got walked.  I even got taken out to a party on Saturday, I lasted a whole 1.5 hours and then I came home and slept for 4.

Somehow, these amazing women found time in their busy lives to care for for us. And they knew just how much care I would accept, what would be too much and a perfect balance of compassion, concern and hands off.

I might have survived those first few days without my friends, but I don’t know that my kids would have.  And I am sure that the dog would not have.

I thank God for these women, this sisterhood.


About Sandie

A little background: A mother of 3, two boys and a girl. Married young to a good man. No longer young, but he is still a good man. Grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, lived several years in small town Alaska, spent a couple years in the city of Madison, currently residing not too far from down town Anchorage. Drink a crazy amount of coffee. Fiercely loyal to my friends. Truly rabid in my defense of family. Beyond thankful that my God loves me enough to allow me to doubt and question.

2 responses »

  1. I liked staying at the hospital after surgery. Meals in bed, don’t have to worry about anything. Beats having a c section then going home to take care of two little ones (and one big one) with no help!
    It’s like a spa, you should have enjoyed it.
    Feel better.

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