Two Weeks Post Rotator Cuff Surgery when You Deal with Mental Illness

Monday it will be two weeks (it's now Friday) since I had rotator cuff surgery on my dominant hand's shoulder. In some ways it has flown... in others, it has crept. But one thing I don't vacillate about - it's definitely not what I expected.

Though the recovery so far has been nowhere near a picnic, the worry that my anxiety disorder kicked up before the procedure was much worse. I talked to both my doctor and his nurse practitioner about the timeline of recovery. I searched Google and YouTube for tips and tricks to help with the post-surgery period. I questioned friends who had had it done.

Doing all this should have decreased my nervousness, but instead, it made it worse.

I know my friends were trying to be helpful when they told me it was horrible and extremely painful. One account I read online said that the pain for rotator cuff surgery recovery was the 3rd worst pain, after childbirth and a kidney stone. So though I was scared about the pain I would be feeling, I was prepared. 

But my pain hasn't been that bad.

I was told that I would have to sleep in a recliner for the first six weeks. (I am a stomach or side sleeper and have never been able to sleep in a recliner.) The first couple of nights I was taking Percoset to keep the pain at bay and I had no issues sleeping semi-upright. Since then, most nights I've slept at least part of the night in bed and it's been okay.

Another worry-filled item that wasn't as bad as expected.

I got home from the surgery with a horrible sling and pillow that didn't fit right and also didn't hold my arm in place well. At the beginning of my first PT session, my therapist said that I would be wearing it all of the time except when I showered or did exercises. I literally teared up and almost lost it.

However, one of the pieces of advice I got was that I buy a sling that I could use for showers and let dry in between. I quickly found that the cheap one I bought from Amazon held my arm in place much better AND was more comfortable.

So after fighting with the doctor-prescribed sling for the first week, I finally realized my mental health was as important as my shoulder and after doing more research, I decided to take the plunge and use the cheap one. (Also, I knew that I would be much more compliant keeping it on with the comfortable one.)

I expected to get a lecture from my PT today when I came in wearing it. Instead, he said it was fine as long as I wore it all the time.

One more anxiety-filled issue solved.

I could add a lot more (and I might in a future post), but this is the first time I've sat at my desk and typed (another thing I had been worrried about not being able to do) since the surgery. I don't want to push it so, for once, this post won't be super long. 

Overall, though, it's amazing when you sit and analyze how much worse your worry about how horrible something coming up will be than what it ends up being. 


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