What it really like to have anterior shoulder stabilisation surgery: Post-operative care and recovery to date

I said in my previous post on my recent shoulder surgery that I will write a final piece in the area concerning my immediate post-operative and continued recovery to date.  Well here it is.  We left the story line as I had woken up from the anaetshetic in the recovery room.  I had just been taken back to the ward after feeling like I had slept for a lifetime.  I had some post-operative pain for which I had been given some medication and a further nerve block to my shoulder.  The pain had been relieved sufficiently and I had awoken to my craving for a cup of coffee.  I was thirsty, very thirsty as it had been over twelve hours since I had drank anything last.  The ward nurse came into the recovery room to take a handover from the recovery nurse, apparently the is important as it ensures that all important information from the surgery and anaesthetic teams are passed over to he ward so they could look after me properly.  I was given a drink of water as soon as this had finished as I was so thirsty (they did not have tea and coffee in the recovery room, how unfortunate).  I remember the water being so cold, almost chilling to my brain as I had been under warm blankets for such a long time.  I really was a shock to the system, and further caused me to wake up suddenly.

My wound dressing with the bruising starting to appear. (Taken five hours post-op).
My wound dressing with the bruising starting to appear. (Taken five hours post-op).

Once I had arrived back on the ward, I had my vital signs measured and was left to recover further.  It is difficult to know what happened after this point, I think I fell asleep.  I was so sleepy from all the medication I was surprised  that I had lasted so long. Once I had woken up it was nearly mealtime, around four o’clock in the afternoon. I looked at my shoulder, I was suprised how small the surgeon had made the incision.  The outcome was much better at first sight than what I had expected.  My thoughts turned to food, I had a beef casserole for my dinner, and after having nothing to eat for such a long time, it felt good to have something in my system at last.  This made me feel a lot brighter as well as improving my mood, which for some reason afterwards, had taken a downward trend.  I slept well that night, which was strange as I do not normally sleep well in those places.

I woke up the next morning to the surgeon telling me that the operation had been a complete success, and to a blazing pain in my arm in which the consultant told me was something to do with the nerve block completely wearing off. Goodness me it hurt, it was sort of a dull ache which would remain constant at all costs.  Even the painkiller (Oxynorm) could not make much of a difference to it.  I was anxious to leave as soon as possible.  The consultant agreed that I could go and I was discharged.

 

The wound has now healed quite well after surgery.
The wound has now healed quite well after surgery.

My medium term recovery began, and I received an appointment to see my physiotherapist.  The pain remained about the same for the first week or so after surgery.  I went to the hospital at this time to see the consultant.  I was there for most of the morning as I had to have an x-ray on my arrival at the clinic.  I was then called through for my dressings to be removed and to have the wound checked.  I was reassured that everything was fine and healing as expected.  I was then called through to speak with the consultant, who too was pleased with my progress.  He has arranged to see me again in six weeks.  I am currently undergoing extensive physiotherapy to help my rehabilitation and I look forward to having full use of my arm soon.

My initial trepidation at having such a major operation on my shoulder was quickly replaced afterwards by a feeling of relief.  In retrospect, I am glad of having the surgery as it has insured my shoulder for the forseeable future against further dislocations (which would have been regular due to my epilepsy).  I am glad to report that since having the surgery, my shoulder has not dislocated once.  I have been told that my recovery will continue for up to another four months and I will keep everyone posted on how it goes.

I am planning a number of posts in the coming weeks, including the year in review 2014, in which I will pull together the main events that have shaped our past year.  Once again, please keep your comments coming and feel free to share your view.  If you have an idea for a post, please let me know.

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What it really like to have anterior shoulder stabilisation surgery: Post-operative care and recovery to date

What it really feels like to have anterior shoulder stabilisation surgery: Preparation for Surgery.

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(Photo Credit Brakspear/Creative Commons)

Unfortunately due to my epilepsy, I am occasionally prone to falls, usually from falling to the floor during one of my seizures. However during one particularly nasty seizure during which I fell, I woke up with a searing pain in my left shoulder. As I gradually came to I became aware that I was no longer able to move the arm properly. I placed the injured arm across my waist and attempted to get up when an audible crack is heard coming from the shoulder. I was initially unsure as to what had taken place apart from the fact that I’d had the seizure.  Therefore I took myself off to the hospital to be checked over. It was once there they told me I had dislocated my shoulder, and the cracks that I heard was the sound of the joint going back into its normal position.

After that I thought no more of the event until around two weeks later the same thing happened again. A seizure where I dislocate my shoulder. I see my GP who refers me to see a physiotherapist. Once there I told them about the problem and they commenced a programme of exercise to try and strengthen the joint. However things go downhill and the dislocations become more frequent, with even opening a door potentially resulting in a painful dislocation.

The physiotherapist decided that nothing more could be done so a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon was made. I received an appointment confirmation from the clinic within a few weeks. During that time, in all honesty things were pretty quiet. My epilepsy was under control and the shoulder hadn’t dislocated once. However things deteriorated again with two dislocations no less than three weeks to go until my outpatient appointment. By this time I was getting tired. I was in constant pain with the joint, making sleeping at night almost impossible.  I was started on strong painkillers that made sure I was sufficiently sleepy all day however only noticing a marginal difference in terms of my pain. I think it was certainly bad times, but as my nanna used to say “things can only get better”.

I arrived at the Hull Royal Infirmary around twenty minutes before my appointment time.  I thought it would be better to arrive early rather than late. As I waited, I sat there reading some ebook about Antwerp’s biggest diamond heist. My name was then called. I was asked to go to the x-ray room to have some pictures taken of the joint. I laid there and allowed the radiographer to maneuver the arm into the correct position to take the pictures. The radiographer took two pictures of my arm before allowing me to get up off the table and put on my necklace (which had to be removed). I was then told to take a seat back in the waiting room and wait to see the doctor. I carried on reading the book when after approximately ten minutes my turn to see the doctor came.

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Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull (UK)
(Jonathan Fry/Creative Commons)

I took a seat on the left side of the desk, the room was small with an examination couch, desk and a couple of chairs; quite your typical examination room. I was surprised when the examination did not start immediately. I was left in the room for approximately five minutes until the door opened and a tall tanned man came walking in wearing a rather expensive suit. He introduced himself as a senior orthopaedic surgeon and the consultation commenced.

During the course of the consultation, a number of matters were discussed. These matters included the severity of my epilepsy, a review of the report provided by my physiotherapist and a review of my x-rays. It was established that I was suffering from an instability in the front part of my joint. He recommended an open operation as due to my epilepsy, a keyhole operation or further physiotherapy would not make any difference.  He started reeling off the risks and benefits of the operation. I didn’t like the sound of some of them but I had to weigh the risks and benefits to decide what was best. I decided that I could not go on as I was so I agreed to have the operation and we both signed the consent form. Although frightened by the prospect of surgery, I was also interested. You hear about people being awake during surgery, and this was something that I was interested in. I asked the consultant politely if this would be an option; however he said that due to the risk of my seizures occurring during the surgery he advised that I be asleep for the operation.

5 months later…

I had been waiting almost five months to the day from when I last saw the consultant when a letter arrived for me with an appointment for pre-operative assessment. It was then it really hit home that I was about to undergo major surgery.  I opened the envelope and started to read. There were instructions for an appointment to be held in three weeks, and a date for surgery set for a week after that. I was given instructions regarding what to bring into hospital, fasting and checking my skin for cuts and bruises (as these can lead to infection).  The letter confirmed in black and white that I was to be admitted into Castle Hill hospital in a month for surgery.

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Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham (UK)
(Paul Harrop/Creative Commons)

I was by now starting to get anxious. I had now dislocated my shoulder over ten times and it was very weak. I knew I needed the surgery, I was just frightened of the operation and anaesthetic. I have had a general anaesthetic before and the experience is one I would rather forget. However I decided to put the whole matter to the back of my mind until the date that my pre-operative assessment came round.

That date came round far too fast for my liking as the date to the surgery drew closer. I arrived in good time for the appointment at the pre-operative assessment clinic at Castle Hill Hospital in cottingham. I was called in immediately to see a nurse who asked me many questions about my lifestyle, medications, allergies and previous anaesthetic history. She took some blood and performed a heart tracing.  I was weighed and my height was measured. She then asked me to urinate in a sample pot for it to be tested. I was then asked detailed questions on my medical history and how my epilepsy affects me. All of these were noted down. She then allowed me to leave. All in all the appointment only lasted twenty minutes and was all very thorough. All I had to do was wait a week for my admission date to come round.

This post is a series of a three posts covering some major shoulder surgery which I have just recovered. I shall continue to post the remaining two posts over the rest of this weekend. Hopefully these will help someone somewhere… ☺

What it really feels like to have anterior shoulder stabilisation surgery: Preparation for Surgery.

Well here goes…

If you travel up the East coast of England, you will come across the Humber Estuary, a large body of tidal water where the north meets the south. On the ‘north bank’ of the Humber, lies the city of Hull, the UK City of Culture for 2017. This is where I come from. My name is Jonjo, a tall mid – twenties Yorkshire lad who, like many before me (no doubt) have been pestered by friends and family into starting a blog. They have been at me for a while trying to get me to do it, arguing that I always have a good way with words and would be good at it. Goodness knows where they got that idea from. Firstly, I don’t know the first thing about it. Secondly, I have no idea what to write about (or what people would want to read). However seeing as I have already mentioned it briefly earlier in this post. I will make this first post about the Hull being the UK City of Culture 2017.

This is something that I have great interest in. Living in Hull for many years,  I like to consider myself a local lad with bags of local pride. It would be forgiven ten years ago if you had walked through the grey concrete Jungle which was Hull thinking that you had arrived in the wrong place (after being told that eventually the place would become a City of Culture). But how times change.

In the last ten years, what was once a mass of grey concrete buildings which, truth be told were a complete bore has been gradually renovated with funding from both national and local government as well as private sources. As we stand in 2014, Hull boasts a multi coloured skyline with many new buildings sporting futuristic architecture amongst the grey of the concrete whilst still maintaining Hull’s links with the past. Amongst these new building’s include the Deep aquarium, a renovated Bus and Train interchange, Princess Quay Shopping Centre, New Theatre and even the main hospital (which is being renovated at the time of writing) should it be needed. These developments, in turn have brought in tourists and other visitors to commerce making Hull a truly multicultural place to live. I know of no other place where you can walk through the Land of Green Ginger with its aged buildings and character and within five minutes walk though onto the attractive and modern waterfront. Add to this that Hull is a place truly on the edge, there is not much East of Hull (apart from Spurn head and the North sea). The combination of all of these points makes me proud to say that I hail from Hull… The UK City of Culture for 2017.

A note to readers: As this is my first post, I would like to ask for any feedback. Please feel free to provide honest comments in relation to this first post. Any received would be greatly appreciated.

Well here goes…