Sunday, June 17, 2012

My distal clavicle resection surgery.

Back in January of this year I had surgery on my left shoulder to repair a small tear in the rotator cuff and remove bone spurs from my collarbone. I first noticed symptoms of  the bone spurs in November of 2011. It was sharp, quick, random pain. I could go a day or two without any problem and then the next day get it 6 or 8 times. Dr. Johan Penninck here in El Paso tried treating  the problem with a cortisone shot at first. I gave that a couple weeks but it didn't take. So rather than wait and let it get worse I opted for surgery. The procedure is called "distal clavicle resection".  Dr. Penninck explained it to me but I didn't care at the time. I just wanted it fixed. Thirty years earlier I'd had the right shoulder operated on for a glenoid labrum tear which I had let go for 10 years before getting it repaired. Luckily that surgery was a success.

Back to the distal clavicle resection, I got lucky on this one too. I read the report. It was pretty brief and nothing unusual was mentioned. I was in a sling for about three days. After that I only used the sling at night just to keep the shoulder stable while I slept. That lasted about a week. I took all the pain pills prescribed (about 40 Hydrocodone/Acet 7.5-3.25mg Tablets) and did not need a refill. A week after the surgery I started some physical therapy. Just simple stretches I did at home. In the second week I started using the resistance bands for exercises the therapist prescribed. These were pretty easy exercises but one thing did bother me. Soon after starting these resistance band exercises I began to feel a bone on bone rubbing. Not painful but noticeable. Felt weird and scared the crap out of me. About the same time I started hiking in the mountains again. I didn't carry my backpack or use the hiking poles. Just went out for some high heart rate activity. The bone on bone feeling went away after about the third week and I had full range of motion and no pain within two months.

My next appointment was at the three month mark. At that time Dr. Penninck and I were both satisfied with the outcome. Today the only reminder of the operation is the scar and some painless clicking at the location of the surgery. I think the medical term for that clicking is "crepitus". I was told by Dr. Penninck this crepitus is normal because the bone that was removed is now being replaced by soft tissue. I got a second opinion on that and the answer was the same. I don't know how long this crepitus will be with me. The main thing is it's painless. For a while I had a little pain at night when I would sleep on that shoulder. I'd wake up and roll over. That seemed to last about a month. Other than that my shoulder is back to normal.

I believe the successful outcome of my surgery was mainly due to the fact that I didn't waste any time having it done. I could have gone on for a few years without the surgery but eventually the small rotator cuff tear would have turned into a full thickness tear. In this case the fewer stitches the better. I also believe that the high heart rate activity was good for the healing process. It's amazing how much better I felt after a couple hours of good heart pumping exercise. Getting good blood circulation after the surgery is vital for recovery.

I hope you found this information helpful. After my surgery I spent hours on the web trying to find information about my post operative symptoms. It was depressing. So I wrote this to offer you some hope. Don't give up. And if the Dr. says you need the operation - get it done. ASAP!

Godspeed.

Dave

UPDATE 7/9/12: Crepitus is gone. No more clicking.

The Penalty of Leadership

In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be mediocre, he will be left severely alone – if he achieve a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a -wagging. Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious, continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mountebank, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius. Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river banks to see his boat steam by. The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy – but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as human passions – envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains – the leader. Master-poet, master-painter, master-workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages. That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live — lives.
written by Theodore F. MacManus

A deadly viper once bit a hole snipe's hide; But 'twas the viper, not the snipe, that died.

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El Paso, Texas, United States
Native Texan · Navy Veteran · Various Scars and Tattoos · Forged in Fire · Never Schooled and Yet Learned

One from the archives

Post #269

What's money?  A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do. —B...