Archive for June, 2013


“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.

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Happy Therapy

My last trail ride was in the year 2000.  I thought it would be my very last, because I realized that a trot wasn’t the best way to treat what has since then developed into a seriously dicky lower back: with stenosis, scoliosis, pelvic arthritis, and ruptured discs—one of which required a surgical lumbar fusion. 

Decades of digging in gardens, lifting and pushing furniture around (with the exception of the piano—even I am not foolish enough to try and budge that!), carrying children and pets, packing and unpacking (as chief packer for twelve residence changes in sixty years), family genes, plus downright productive and joyous living have all taken their toll.

Then recently I heard about Therapy Riding, and the proximity of LifeStrider’s Therapy Riding Center close to our home.  What a breakthrough, for chronic pain.  The gentle, rolling motion of a walking horse (flanked by two people who make sure that horsey and I don’t take off in a trot or gallop) provides a soothing massage for the lumbar and sacral regions.  The chronic pain is eased for the time during and immediately following the ride.  I’ve only had one session so far, with five to go; perhaps the relief will increase with future rides.

My pain management doctor signed for me to do this six weeks’ program, one hour per week.  I’d like to give him a big hug, even though Medicare doesn’t pay for it!  (The therapy, not the hug.  But Medicare wouldn’t pay for the hug either.)  As my friend, Karen, would say—I’m “kicking age eighty in the head”.  Could there possibly be a better way to approach my soon-to-begin octogenarian adventure?  I don’t think so!!!  🙂

I do not often detail health issues on this blog, as http://richesinglory.wordpress.com/ is my outlet for the physical bumps and grinds of life and their ramifications.  But hey, lots of people have dicky backs, and Northern Reflections has more readers than Riches in Glory has.  For anyone who loves horses and lives with chronic pain, this is an incredible way to go: far better than a chiropractor, I believe—and definitely a lot more fun! 

The Therapy Riding movement has flourished in the USA since its inception in the early 1960s, and there are centers in many states.  If you are interested I encourage you to GOOGLE “Therapy Riding “, to discover what is available in your locale.  Perhaps relief and a whole lot of enjoyment are in store for you!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, 2013

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BB - Precious Bridget and Grandpa

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!  Here is Grandpa Joe holding our 14th grandchild, Adetokunbo Bridget Josephine Adesokun.  Our wee one was 5 hours old when we first met her on 6/4, and she was sleeping off her jet lag while visitors played Pass the Baby.  But since yesterday at 24 plus hours old, Adetokunbo Bridget has been eating almost non-stop—or as her mom, our daughter Martina, says:  “using me for a pacifier”. 

What a treasure!  For Joe and me, and undoubtedly all who have met our treasure, it has been love at first sight!

Names are tremendously significant in our son-in-law Sanmi’s Ebira Tribe Nigerian culture.  The names are chosen primarily for their meaning, and every person will call a child by which ever of the names he or she prefers.  The child grows up knowing that the different names are an important part of her; they signify facets of her personhood.  Beautiful!

In a couple of weeks, we’ll share in a Naming Ceremony at our condo community clubhouse where family members and friends will gather to add to the list of our baby’s names, and pray over her.  After the ceremony, we’ll gather beside the pool at our daughter Debbie’s home.   

Sanmi’s brothers will join us in celebration, from Toronto and Cleveland.  How I wish their mom could be with us.  She is in Nigeria, and her sons hope to bring her to North America soon.  (Bridget, are you reading?  WE LOVE YOU!!!)

So now I have added words.  But the essence is in the photos:  New Life in Spring!!!  Precious new life!

BB - Bridget is 5 hours old

BB - Mother and Babe

Margaret L. Been, ©2013

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