Tuesday, March 18, 2014

As good as it gets?

I've been asked "how did your surgery go" several times in the past few months, and I'm having a hard time answering the question. Technically, it went well. I didn't get an infection, I'm recovering as expected, my range of motion is coming back slowly. It's ok. That's my objective medical/physical assessment of how the surgery went.

I'm still sore and experiencing some pain. Tonight I made the conscious decision to medicate with some scotch, as opposed to Tylenol. Scotch is multi-purpose - simultaneously soothing both the soul and shoulder. It's hard to discern how much of my current pain is directly related to my post-operative state, my fatigue or my (potential) impending flare.

Surgery is so much more than the slicing and dicing of body parts. There is an emotional component to the result that is hard to quantify - and having RA further complicates things as there is emotional and physical baggage dragging behind you at every turn.

I'm having a hard time determining if the surgery was a success. How I assess my surgery's success varies depending on my emotional and physical state that day. In some ways it's too early as I'm only five months post-op and still experiencing some pain. In other ways, I'm petrified that this is my new normal as I'm already five months post-op and that I will have ongoing pain in my shoulder and never return to my expected - but far less than normal - range of motion. What if this is as good as it gets?

I've been listening to Band of Horses "Is there a Ghost". Such a simple, yet powerful song with a crushing crescendo. My shoulder ghosts keep coming back to haunt me - I would have expected them to be put to bed by now.