Torn Rotator Cuff

After the "big flood" in the Atlanta area in Sept. 2009 I was walking down my steep driveway. It was wet and leaves were already falling so I was very careful as I walked. Unfortunately my right foot hit a small patch of damp leaves and shot forward. As I fell I tried to catch myself but I couldn't get my hand down quick enough. The elbow of my right arm hit  first and dug into the spongy ground. What concerned me as I hit was to not let my head slam against the concrete so I let my weight fall onto my shoulder. Momentum caused me to eventually roll to my back.

I stayed on the ground for a bit assessing the damage. A person that I was walking beside offered me a hand up. I grabbed his hand but pain shot around my arm and back so I stayed on the ground for a few minuted more. Eventually with his help I made it back on my feet. I recall thinking that I would surely feel this one for a couple of days.

Two weeks later I was hit by severe pain from my shoulder, neck and chest muscles. Not bad enough to warrent sitting in an emergency room for hours but strong enough to want some sort of help because even though it felt like I was having a heart attack, I was sure that was not the problem. I had been having a lot of pain from the fall injury. Sleeping was tortuous as any weight on my shoulder brought on intense pain and their was significant weakness in my arm.

I drove over to my doctors office in a haze of pain and panic from the chest pain that had my eyes watering. First he did an EKG to rule out a heart attack, then he sent me across the hall to have x-rays taken. I wondered about the x-rays showing any pertanent information becuase it doesn't show soft tissue damage very well. It did show some arthritis that had set in from an ingury to the clavicle where it had dislocated years before (from a fall as well). The x-ray did not show any new damage. I told my doctor about my fall and he schedulked me for physical therapy.

I was in my 4th week of physical therapy when the therapist told me she was sure that I had a torn rotator cuff. I told that info to my doctor who then ordered an MRI. That came back positive for a full tear to the tendon of the suprasinatus muscle. I made an appointment with a surgeon and two weeks later I had the surjury.

The pain was horrible !!! The anethesitist did a second nerve block before I left the outpatient building because I was already feeling severe pain. The second block lasted about 8 hours. I was taking two 7.5 mg of oxycodone for the every 4 hours. That did nothing for the horrible unrelenting pain. The next day I called the surgeons office. A proxy told me to take some advil along with the percs. That surely helped but the pain remained steady and strong for the next fews days. It wasn't until the 4th day that I knew some pain relief. One week after the surjury I'm still taking pain meds. I had tried to taper off of the meds but the pain would return with a vengence.

I have been wearing a very loose fitting short sleeved shirt and elastic band slacks. Dressing is an ordeal and very tiring. I am right handed so I have a hard time eating and doing everyday things that would be less of a problem going it with my right hand. Even though I can manage to do things with my left hand it still causes an entense pain and fatigue in my right shoulder. Riding in a car is uncomfortable because of pain from the bumps and motion. Not to mention the fatigue of getting the seat belt on and off.

Because of the disabling effects of the surjury and not being able to do much I am feeling the effects of boredom. There's only so much television I can watch. Reading is problematic. I have talked more on the phone then usual just for something to do and someone to talk to. I hope that the pain will go away soon and that I will be able to use my right arm again.

So much trouble for walking down my driveway one day. *sigh*

owieowie owieowie
46-50, F
5 Responses Feb 27, 2010

Hope things have improved for you.

I am on day 5 post up, my shoulder blasts me with pain at the slightest movement, and I just wondered how you were doing now. Could sure use some good news!

Good news is that it gradually gets better. Physical therapy, although painful helps a lot. Just talked to a gentleman at the gas station who saw me in a sling. He was three months out from surgery and was pain-free. And remember, it is a gradual thing. One day at a time becomes a week and then a month, etc. It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you will get better. This is one of the most painful surgeries to have. You are not a wimp. It will get better.

I spent a week in hell last week. It had been 1 week since my surgery and I came down with a bad case of bronchitis. If that wasn't bad enough I forgot to take my pain meds because I was freaked out with the horrible coughing and I went into pain med withdraw. For those of you who have never experienced a cold turkey withdraw after taking mega doses of a medication I don't think you could comprehend the total misery that I was experiencing. I had to quickly backtrack and try and ween off the remainder of the withdraw. It took a good 3 days to straighten that mess out.<br />
I landed up taking a dose of pain meds. The withdraw feeling would subside then come back about 4 hours later. I'd take another dose. Subside then come back then take another dose etc. The second day of doing that the time in between needing a dose lengthened enough so that I tried a half dose each time. When a half dose worked I did that for a day then I didn't have to take anymore.<br />
However, the residual anxiety of the experience was very unpleasant so I took a couple of doses of some xanax that I had and I started taking some clonipin for an everyday longer lasting anxiety relief.<br />
Week 3 is better. I can take off the sling for short periods of time. I'm beginning to hate the thing.<br />
I'm still coughing from the bronchitis and I hope that it is not hindering the healing process of my shoulder. I have been able to drive some which does wonders for my morale. Although it is difficult to attach the seat beat. But not impossible. I find that I can twist and maneuver to accomplish the things that I need to do. It might be very ungraceful but it gets the job done. <br />
I am looking forward to getting full use of my right arm again.

I had my surgery on Feb. 17. I had a severe reaction to the oxycodone and went off it cold turkey after taking it every 4hours for two weeks. I had a week of withdrawal including insomnia, anxiety, depression, hot flashes etc. Keep weaning yourself off the drugs. The pain is better to deal with the addiction. I was only on them for two weeks. I can't imagine what it would be like if I had been on them longer. I am now into my fifth week post surgery and have started physical therapy after week three. Things are definitely improving, so have hope.

It depends on what the injury is as to what they havr to do. I had a tendon that was torn off the bone so they had to put anchors on the bone to attach the tendon back to it. He may have an entirely different injury.<br />
A rotator cuff is what the "shoulder" is and it is made up of many parts including tendons, muscles, ligaments, bones, cartilage and the bursa which is a fluid filled sack that acts as a cushion.<br />
So, in there being many parts to the rotator cuff you can see that the surgeon repairs whatever part or parts are damaged. Most shoulder surgeries are hard to do for the surgeon and they are very painful for the patient. But their are cases where you have to endure the pain to get use you your shoulder back. Not to mention relieving the chronic pain of the injury. Not all shoulder injuries can heal themselves well enough. <br />
<br />
I hope that this helps you. Don't worry if he has to have the operation because he will be good as new in a few months. LOL I have to keep reminding myself that as well as I recover.

I have a question. I have a boyfriend we have a long distance relationship. He is away playing baseball trying to go pro. The other day he was injured when swinging and his shoulder got dislocated. He's been going to numerous doctors ever since, and now they're telling him that a surgery is needed. He doesn't want to give me too much information given that I worry so much. And I was hoping that someone who has had surgery with a related situation. Could please explain to me what is it that is done and how it will affect him.