I can’t believe it’s been one week since my shoulder surgery. It simultaneously feels like yesterday and a month ago. It’s funny how weirdly the days go by when you’re literally doing nothing.
The surgery went well. I was a nervous wreck (surprise!), and it didn’t help that the surgery before me was delayed so we were sitting in the pre-op room for over an hour longer than we should have been. Finally, Gabe turned on the TV (hey, Powerpuff Girls!) so we wouldn’t have to listen to the clock tick.
Aside from the waiting, the IV and the nerve block were the worst parts for me. Once I was out, I was out. Two tiny incisions, three screws (which I’m still working on naming), some internal sewing, and about 6 (maybe?) external stitches later, I was done. Apparently, the first thing I told my doctor when I came out of anesthesia was, “I can’t believe I went to sleep! I’m such a control freak!” As far as I know, that’s the funniest thing I said while under anesthesia. Sorry to disappoint.
The first few days were (and still are) a blur. I really don’t remember much other than being absurdly uncomfortable sleeping and being determined to do my exercises. I stopped taking pain meds on day three and I couldn’t have been happier to at least get some of my mind back. Still not firing at full power, but I’m getting there.
So, here’s what I’ve learned in my first week of recovery.
I have an amazing boyfriend. Gabe has done such an amazing job taking care of me. Making sure I’m as comfortable as I can be. Helping me eat and sleep and learn to live left-handed. He’s been an incredible cheerleader while I’m doing my exercises. He’s dealt with my occasional snapping (not at him, but out of frustration). He’s helped me relax and not push myself too hard. I understand I am one difficult person to take care of (sometimes I’m too independent for my own damn good), and he has just been exceptional. I couldn’t be any luckier to have him as my partner through all of this. #sapattack
Everything takes longer. Every. Thing. I’m so used to moving at 100 mph, multi-tasking, getting things done left and right. Welp, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I have to slooooowwww down. I can’t multi-task. Getting dressed takes longer. Showering takes longer. Eating takes way longer. It’s been both a frustrating and humbling experience. Maybe I don’t need to rush through everything. I’m trying to find enjoyment in taking my time. The truth is, my body is multi-tasking and I need to make sure all my energy is going into healing.
Preparing helped immensely. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have been more prepared if I had tried. And now, one week later, I’m so thankful. Every YouTube video I watched, every question I asked friends and family, every post/article I read, helped me get through this week with minimal surprises.
Most importantly, I can do this. Every day is easier, better. Every day I feel more and more “normal.” Yes, wearing a sling sucks. Duh. I am uncomfortable, but not in pain. My body is a miraculous thing and my left arm/hand has really stepped up to the plate. I’m adapting and I’m adjusting.
I’m still learning things. Like, how can you put your hair in a ponytail with one hand?! Wearing a coat is weird. I’m very glad I have plenty of slip-on shoes. Cutting up food? Not gonna happen. I’m learning it’s okay that the one big thing I accomplished many days was walking to Walgreens or taking a shower. I am just tired. all. the. time. This past week has most definitely been an exercise in letting go, being kind to myself, and giving in. I’ll need to practice these exercises in the coming weeks, too.
I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so much support and love. Friends and family (and even some strangers!) have sent well wishes, beautiful flowers, snack boxes, text message check-ups, cards, emails, grilled cheese sandwiches I barely remember, an ice machine (!!!). Each and every wish means the world to me and I’m so immensely grateful for all the love. Even Izzy has been by my (left) side the whole week.
Five more weeks in this sling. Four until I can begin physical therapy. Anxious to progress (but still trying to be patient) on this road to recovery. But damn it feels good to be on the other side.