Surgery, surgery, and more surgery!
Posted by tim in I Feel Sick on September 3, 2010

It's been quite a while since I last posted anything here. A lot has happened since that wonderful day when I got married (and I have enjoyed every moment of it!), but there are a couple of not-so-fun things going on right now that I figure warrant some explanation.

The first thing that's going on has to do with my teeth. This really isn't all too big in contrast to the other thing I'll be telling you about in a minute, but it is big enough to mention.

When I was still in Lafayette, I decided to go see a dentist for a check-up and cleaning. Knowing my wisdom teeth would have to come out at some point, what the dentist told me wasn't too surprising: The wisdom teeth had to go. He gave me a referral for the local maxiofacial clinic, but I never followed through with it.

Let's fast-forward to the present. I now have dental professionals, orthodontists to be exact, in the family. If you've ever been around any sort of dental professional, you know that the just love to look at what work you may or may not need done. This actually kind of rubs off on their family members as well. Better yet, I have a loving wife who is concerned about my health, and it doesn't stop anywhere short of my dental health. This is heightened by the fact that her sister and sister's husband are the aforementioned orthodontists.In short though, they all agree that my wisdom teeth have got to go. My new dentist here in Houston didn't say anything to the contrary of that either, so I am now scheduled to get the rotten things out of my head. I look forward to September 24th when I actually have that done.

As much as my teeth have been bothering me, it's miniscule when compared to the trouble I've been having with my right shoulder.

Sometime back in March, I noticed that my shoulder was really sore and it almost felt like it was partially dislocated. I did some research of my own, saw a couple of general practitioners, a couple of different chiropractors, and talked to friends who have had shoulder issues before I finally decided to go see a specialist for it.

I called and got an appointment for this past Wednesday to see an amazing doctor on the north side of town who really doesn't do anything but shoulders, and he determined that I have a SLAP Tear.

I'm not going to go into the full detail of what this tear is, but here's a good analogy that he gave me that you should be able to visualize.

Think of your shoulder as a ball and socket joint. This joint is very much like a golf ball on a tee, in the sense that the socket of the scapula (the tee) is much smaller than the ball of the humeral head (the golf ball). So what is done to keep the ball in the socket is a rim is added to the socket, extending it out to add stability to the joint. In the shoulder, this rim is called the Glenoid Labrum, and it works in the same way as the golf tee.

Unfortunately, the Labrum is susceptible to injury. While it normally hits middle-aged adults, everyone has a chance of experiencing it. And let me tell you first-hand, the experience is not great.

For me, it started with the dislocated feeling, and escalated to a popping and grinding, and is now at the point where I have trouble sleeping because it hurts so bad. I have been taking some pretty strong prescribed drugs (Fiorinol, Methocarbamol, Vicodin, and now Darvocet) just so I can sleep, which makes it very apparent that this is a serious issue that I need to get fixed.

My visit with the specialist on Wednesday was pretty educational and I fully understood the condition when I left. He still wanted to get an MRI to make sure there were no other complications, such as a torn rotator cuff, and I went back to get those results today. The MRI report was pretty clean and said that everything seemed okay, but the doctor said that because of the way the "slices" of the MRI were done, they couldn't get a full picture of the Labrum. With that in mind, he decided to do a physical examination again and confirmed that I have a "classic SLAP tear", and that we needed to move towards surgery since it is causing me so much pain.

Because I'm scheduled to have my wisdom teeth out at the end of September, I told him that I should probably wait until the end of October to get the shoulder done.

The surgery is pretty straight forward. Being arthoscopic, it will only require a couple relatively small holes to be poked into my shoulder. I'll be knocked out for it with general anesthesia, the surgery will take about 30 minutes, then I'll be in a sling for 2-3 weeks and on rehab for 3-4 months after that.

I'm not really all too concerned about having the surgery, since I've been able to talk to people who have had similar procedures. However, I'm worried about being able to function during that time of recovery, and being able to handle it financially. Luckily, one of those concerns is addressed by having a wonderful wife who is a great caretaker. I found this out already when I was sick a few weeks ago and she tended to my every need. :)

So yeah, this is what's going on. I'd very much appreciate your prayers during this time. I know God can work miracles, and I have no doubt that he can work one in this situation. But even if that's not in his plan, I sure could use some calm nerves, focus, and stamina to get through the sleepless nights ahead, and for a financial breakthrough that will allow me to not have any worries about it at all.

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