Wednesday, March 29, 2017

some observations about this shoulder of mine

Ten things I did this past week that I haven't done since December:

  1. I drove myself to Physical Therapy...
  2. Followed by going to Sonic drive-up window all by my lonesome!
  3. I opened the Strawberry Jam jar, which is a huge accomplishment!
  4. I shaved my legs!
  5. I taught the lesson in Young Womens!
  6. I wore a bra with both straps over my shoulders.  (I won't be doing that again anytime soon though.  OUCH!)
  7. I cooked most of a meal!
  8. I did dishes!
  9. I unloaded the wet towels from the washer to the dryer!
  10. I squeezed the conditioner bottle with my right hand! (Not risking another mishap like the last one!)
Nine people who I could not thank enough for their almost daily continual watchful care.
  1. Doug
  2. Zee
  3. Grace
  4. Denise
  5. Carol
  6. Brenda
  7. Ann
  8. Joni
  9. Craig, my PT!

Eight things I have and do miss doing the most (or at least a LOT):
  1. Being able to open the hottub on my own so that I can get in anytime of the day or night, even when I'm alone.
  2. Driving anywhere I please anytime I please in any direction I please.
  3. Personal Care with both hands...everything from showering, to putting on make-up, to getting dressed to doing my own hair.  (Ever try to give yourself a pony tail with one hand?  Don't waste your time.)
  4. Being fully dressed.  (See #6 above.)  And that's something that I never dreamed I would miss!
  5. Walking casually through a store... Taipan, the grocery store, the one that I do not like at all that begins with a W. When someone else is driving you, you don't want to waste their time and get right to business and get out as quickly as possible.
  6. Sleeping on my right side or face down.
  7. Opening things by myself...from locks to jars to pill bottles.  There's been many days when I was at home alone that I wanted to ask our mailman to open a jar for me.  (Okay, I confess, once I did.)
  8. Cleaning my way.  As much as I appreciate all of the help that Doug and the girls have been, as they have helped keep things company clean 90% of the time, everyone has their own way of doing things and I miss that.
Seven things that I have learned through this experience.
  1. I'm going to put this first, but it's not the biggest lesson at all.  Truthfully, I have had six major surgeries in my life.  I gave birth to a nine pound baby naturally with no drugs.  I've had my foot damaged for life.  BUT. I have never known pain like this.  This is the most I have ever hurt in my life.  It hurts while you sleep, while you hottub, while you laugh.  It hurts all the time and it hurts a LOT.  And it hurts in different ways.  One minute, it's jolts of shocking nerves zapping through the arm, shoulder and neck.  The next it's a dull burn.  The next if feels like someone just punched you right on the worst bruise you ever had.  It pulls, it throbs, it stings.  It hurts.  All the time.  Every minute of every day and night.  So, through all of that pain, I've learned that I'm tougher than I ever dreamed.  I've tried to take as few pain meds as possible.  I've tried to work through the pain and the therapy and the aches.  And I can still smile and laugh.  I can do hard things... harder things than I thought.
  2. I have learned to appreciate little a text or a phone call to ask how I'm doing and big things like "I'll pick you up for Therapy at 8AM." (as in "I'll climb out of bed, get dressed and drive through a blizzard to help you and then 90 minutes later, I'll do it again to bring you home because I'm your friend.) I have been so darned blessed with great friends and loved ones!  I also appreciate the little things like being able to cut your own food because both hands work or butting up your own shirt. (I'm just as fast one handed now, however!)
  3. I have learned that people are incredible.  I'm still in shock that Brenda would fly across the country to surprise me and help when she just finished her own cancer treatments.  I have loved the visits and texts and calls and surprises in the mail.  It's been incredible!  People care. I can't even list all of the people who have told me that they've been praying for me every day, even twice a day!  That's humbling!
  4. I have learned and I say this with tears in my eyes, what it means "In sickness and in health."  Doug has been more incredible than I could have even wished or prayed or hoped for.  He's amazing.  He works all day and comes home and cares for me until bedtime, then cares for me until he walks back out the door...all while being Mom/Dad/chauffeur, cook, Priesthood leader in the YSA, friend, father and grandfather... and all with a smile.  I fall in love with him over and over again every day!
  5. I have learned about trusting in the Lord's timing.  I didn't ask for this challenge.  I have not liked this challenge.  BUT.  I love that Heavenly Father has given me this challenge and opened my eyes to some things that I had never seen before. I won't share them on the blog, but suffice it to say, I feel like a different person inside, as a result of it.  (And I don't mean from my Titanium new shoulder!)
  6. I have learned that there is such a thing as "too much" Diet Coke.  I actually crave water and milk a lot now.  I'm not sure if it's a healthier outlook thing or what.  But, I've actually drank less Diet Coke in the past three months than ever before.
  7. I have learned that there is something very powerful (and I already knew this, but it's been strongly reinforced) about the power of prayer. I've prayed a lot this past few months.  I've always prayed.  I pray every single day, many times. But, my prayers have been different.  Deeper.  More meaningful and I have felt carried through a lot of this experience and have been so grateful for that good spirit and also knowing that not only were my own prayers being answered through the service of others, through my body reacting to the Physical Therapy, through the love I've felt from my Savior, but the prayers of others have been felt over and over again.  (This was supposed to be a light post, but I have to express that!)
Six things I have watched while I recouped:
  1. Call the Midwife all seasons (A must watch series!  Fascinating!)
  2. The Crown every episode (LOVED it, and gained a whole new appreciation for the Royals.  Would not want to be one!)
  3. When calls the Heart. all seasons (The most sweet and tender show since Little House on the Prairie!)
  4. This is Us. every episode (The best that TV has had to offer in years.)
  5. The people VS OJ Simpson. the whole series (Totally NoT what I expected.  Much better!)
  6. More movies from our own library than I should admit, but what else can you when you don't leave the house for 36 days, followed by two months of depending on others to drive you everyplace, you can't do much more than lift a remote and you fall asleep every time you pick up a book?

Five things that I have loved about being pampered and cared for:
  1. ZJ doing my hair every other day!
  2. Doug getting me ready for bed every night...filling the diffuser with essential oils, getting my icewater, turning back the blankets and removing the comforter and 10 pillows from the bed and on and on and on.
  3. I love that Doug bought me a huge new wardrobe of jumbo jet size button up shirts so that I could be comfortable in them, lying and twisting around in the recliner each day and during Physical Therapy.
  4. The food that friends have brought in has been so wonderful, I feared that my family would hope I have to have another surgery!
  5. Again, I have felt the prayers of so many friends and family! I've heard from friends that I have not actually spoken to in years.  It's been wonderful!
Four really random acts of kindness that have meant a lot:
  1. a friend setting her phone alarm to the same times of my physical therapy each day, so that she could stop what she was doing and say a special prayer for me as I began.
  2. a friend coming to care for all of my houseplants, picking off dead leaves and checking soil
  3. a friend randomly dropping by quite the DVD library of clean, wholesome, uplifting movies
  4. Many, MANY Sonic Route44 Diet Cokes with one slice of lemon and extra ice!  (they remembered the order, which is totally awesome!)
Three things I cherish about this experience:
  1. I'm still in shock when I think of the night that I fell and how Buddy was such a champion. He held my arm, while standing, and didn't move for almost two hours. He never left my side.  He stayed until the wee hours of morning at the hospital and ran errands and made sure that I had anything I needed in the hospital.  He never complained.  He was so sensitive and caring.  He didn't have to do all that.  He had a newborn baby with jaundice and a wife who was dealing with a three year old who'd just become a sister, the jaundiced baby, post delivery woes and having her mother in the hospital.  Yet, he was there for me, like a ROCK!  I can not say enough about his compassion for his mother-in-law!
  2. I'm also still in awe that my dear friend, Brenda, would come across the country to care for me, just weeks after her own cancer treatments.  What a wonderful surprise and gift as that was just a few weeks out and my first week at home alone after the holidays.  What a gift!  And her prayers for our family and my health have meant more than anything!
  3. Doug.  Have I mentioned that he's treated me like a queen?  Even more than he's always done?  I didn't think that possible, but he's my hero!
Two observations I've made:
  1. It doesn't matter that you have a huge jumbo-jet size brace/sling on your body and pain in your eyes, people will hug you and, somehow, will always manage to put their hand on your eight inch long incision and squeeze or pat it.  It's ironic because they are trying to be so gentle and not hurt you, but they instinctively will squeeze.  It makes me laugh. (It's made me cry, too, but it makes me laugh and hey, at least they hugged!
  2. When you can't do something, you really WANT to do it!  I've wanted to iceskate and dance and ski and swim more than ever.  I don't iceskate.  I dance anyway, even though it's "armless" dancing.  I missed the best winter ever for skiing.  And I'll probably never swim the English Channel now.  Darnitall.
One thing I am certain of:
  1. No matter how much pain, or how inconvenient, or how much of an interference this has been in my life, I know it's for my good and I will continue to grow from this experience.  It's not over by a long shot. They tell me that I have, at least, another 9 months of pain and discomfort ahead of me and that the healing may never bring me back to what I was before, BUT, I know that Heavenly Father gave me this challenge for a learn and grow from. So, I may as well learn and grow because nothing is going to change it now except that!
ETA:  I wrote this before my doctor appointment.  I went into the appointment feeling like I was ready to conquer the world.  After all, I drove twice now.  I should be all better. My doctor was out of town and I saw the Physician's Assistant, who I really like. When I raised my arm forward to almost shoulder height, he informed me that I was using my back, not my shoulder and that I'm no where near where I should be by now.  He grabbed Craig, my PT, who came in and we discussed my treatment plan for the near and distant future. I left the office sobbing on Doug's shoulder.  I was sooooooooo discouraged.  I'd been feeling great and had such a positive attitude!  

So, last night, I sobbed a while, had our YW Presidency Mtg and then decided to cowboy up and deal with it. When I went to PT this morning, I told Craig about my meltdown.  He said, "Sophia, you have made tremendous progress!  I'm amazed at how far you've come!" I decided to trust Craig's positivity and encouragement.  I will begin once a week PT next week (because of insurance) and if I need more, we'll up it to twice.  Craig pushed me hard this morning and my mind is back on track.  I'm grateful that I'd written my positive thoughts before the doctor appointment, just to remind me that I have much to be thankful for, even though it may not be moving forward as fast as some would like to see.  Well... trust me... no one wants this to be history more than me!  (Well... maybe me and Doug.)

Life is good!


  1. You are amazing!!! Don't let anyone tell you any different. Trust me - Your PT knows best. Hubby had to have the tendon re-attached to his shoulder in September. He's not anywhere near as far as you are with your PT. You go girl - but be easy!!! I'm sending gentle air hugs. You guys are in my prayers!

  2. You are incredible! Pain doc said always use them, pain slows healing! Use what you need. Love U❤️❤️💕😍