“So long for awhile, that’s all the songs for awhile . . . .”
Those of you who share my vintage years will recall the above words from the Saturday evening radio Hit Parade. The ditty signaled the end of the program, to which I listened faithfully in the mid 1940s. Now I am vicariously singing “so long” to you.
On Tuesday, July 2nd, I’m scheduled for a Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement. This revolutionary surgery was developed in France in the mid 1980s, but not approved in the USA until 2003. The first RTSR was performed in our country in 2004. Before that, there would have been no help and no hope for my right shoulder and arm.
The procedure is revolutionary because it reverses the natural position of the shoulder joint—by reversing the parts of the prosthesis so that the ball is on the top and the socket (rotator cuff) is beneath the ball rather than on top of it. When the rotator cuff tendons and bicep are severely torn, as mine are to a point where they can never be recycled into use, the Reverse procedure employs the deltoid muscle to empower the arm after a long period of healing.*
Unlike most joint replacements which mandate a regimen of Physical Therapy, the Reverse Shoulder Replacement requires inactivity for at least six weeks. No Physical Therapy is allowed, with the exception of occasionally removing the arm from its sling and dangling it straight down—and very limited use of the forearm, which is to lift nothing heavier than a teacup. I’ve been told that I’ll be able to do some finger work such as knitting and keyboarding, if and when pain permits.
I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, to have this medical miracle! According to my web sources, many orthopedic surgeons have not yet begun doing the Reverse Replacement—perhaps due to the fact that the Standard version works for many people. I’m blessed to have a hospital 13 minutes from our door, and a surgeon who does the Reverse.
The rest of my summer will be a hiatus indeed. There’s a trace of humorous irony in this scenario, since I am a person who loves to (and thrives on) doing with my hands and arms—specifically making things. Except for a bit of computer use, and possibly knitting a few rows now and then, my hobbies will be curtailed. The Lord is showing me that I will have to get along without making things for the duration, and I’m getting the message.
The post-op weeks will be a time for stretching and growing. A time for extra praying, reading, resting, and returning. A time for lying on our patio lounge and watching the clouds. “So long . . . !”
Margaret L. Been, 2013
Note: This condition of severe arthritis coupled with largely torn tendons is called Arthropathy.