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Monday, May 26, 2008

Shoulder Surgery Rehabiltation and Training Update

It seems there's a lot of us 40 and 50 year old aging warriors with shoulder problems because I've been getting asked lots of questions about the surgery, pain and rehab, so I thought I'd give monthly updates about what to expect (of course everyone's different but according to my physical therapist I'm slightly above average in my recovery).

There's no getting around it: the first week just sucks. The pain is relentless and you need vicodin, percoset and motrin simultaneously just maintain your sanity. You have to sleep upright in a chair or propped in bed with pillows because lying down is excrucitaing. After about a week, the vicodin begins to make you feel sick so you stop taking it and the percoset and survive on motrin (don't take more than 2400 mg of motrin a day or you'll be going back to surgery to have your liver taken out). If you have a good surgeon, he'll be getting you out of the sling after just a few days because the most important thing is to gently get back your range of motion (which isn't much cause you can't raise your arm more than 2 inches.)

After 2 weeks the pain subsides a bit but it's still there constantly at about a 3 or 4 level out of 10, going up to a 6 at night (just in time for bed). That's when you take your pain pills.

The good news is that I'm now at the 1 month mark and now the pain is down to about a constant 1-2 and it no longer goes up much at night. I can finally sleep in a bed again (but you have to watch your positions.) Rehab helps significantly (twice a week) and I can now just barely comb my own hair without propping my arm up on the mantlepiece.

It was driving me insane not to be able to do contact flow, not to mention missing the UK seminar. But I've finally started one-armed contact flow in class and that seems to (not surprisingly) help the other arm heal quicker. I'm trying to take advantage of the situation by improving my tool replacement skills (hand to forearm to tricep to shoulder) against partners using both arms. This is critical, as you will all notice how John can basically feel, defend and attack you with just one arm against your 2 easily, leaving the other hand in reserve to put your lights out. Al has also been working this with me. I'm also using my feet like a soccer player, trying to develop foot sensitivity and using all working weapons simultaneously and as creatively as I can.

Well that's it for now, hopefully new-daddy Ari gets a break long enough to pen his thoughts on mixing fatherhood with class time (Al has been kind enough to pummel him in private lessons however so I'm sure there's fodder there!)

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