Thursday night I felt some discomfort in my left shoulder. It wasn't too bad, but it was noticeable. When I woke up Friday morning, it had intensified and didn't let up all day. By Saturday, it had significantly grown worse. I felt awful pain anytime I moved it and usually had to lift it with my right hand to even put it up on a table when I sat down. I am sure it looked humorous to see me do anything. I never realized how difficult it was to do simple things like put on socks with one hand. Putting on a shirt was torture. Using only one hand wasn't the struggle; it was the pain involved with trying not to move my bad arm. The slightest movement sent sharp pains through my shoulder. I shed a lot of tears that day.
That night I went to a local trivia night fund raiser, so I was around people who saw me struggling and encouraged me to go to the hospital. My buddy, Adam, was especially forceful. He told me all night that I needed to go get it taken care of. However, since I had dealt with this before, I did not think it would be necessary. Yes, it was painful, but it would be gone in a few days. I just needed to ride it out like last time. About five hours later, I changed my mind.
I went to bed that night and took some Aleve to ease the pain. It didn't work. I could not find any comfortable position. The pain grew much worse over the next couple of hours. I couldn't adjust my blankets or even change positions without searing pain shooting through my arm. I came to the realization that sleep was not going to happen and this was obviously much worse than what I had experienced back in April. I got up and tackled the task of dressing myself again so I could go to the hospital.
I got to the E.R. about 2 a.m. and they laid me on a bed to await the doctor. The movement involved in getting myself there has made the pain much worse, so the doctor was going to get to see me at my worst. After all the preliminary questions, blood pressure checks, pulse taking, and explanations of my issue, the doctor came into the room. He introduced himself as Dr. Doolittle and I immediately laughed. The first instance of laughter caused my shoulder to throb, so I think I was able to pass it off as a wince of pain.
Doolittle (that really is his name) asked me where my shoulder hurt. As he started feeling around on it, I told him that it hurt when I moved it and it didn't really hurt to the touch. He immediately proved me wrong. He then attempted to move my arm to see what level of mobility I had. Once I relaxed and let him try, he found that it doesn't move at all without cries from me. He decided that it appeared to be bursitis.
He ordered some X-rays to be assured there was not a more serious problem. Before the X-rays, one of the nurses came in to give me a shot of anti-inflammatory medication. As I started rolling up my sleeve, she told me that she would be injecting a large amount of fluid so it would have to go in a 'meatier' area. "Drop your pants." She told me it would burn, but I am not really scared of needles, so I wasn't too worried about it.
There was so much medicine being injected that it took a while to get it all through the syringe. About 20 seconds into the injection, my butt suddenly felt like it had caught on fire. She wasn't kidding. It burned...a lot. I tried to sit still and not tense so she could finish, but it was difficult. Luckily, it subsided after a couple of minutes. It burned for the next several hours, but the intense burn was only for those first few minutes. In the meantime, I was able to get the nurse to admit I had a hot butt.
Then, it was off to radiology for my X-rays. They brought a wheelchair in for me. I don't know if I could ever get used to being pushed around in a wheelchair. It feels so strange to have someone else push me around, especially when I know I am perfectly capable of walking. However, I was glad to have it when we came back from there.
|That's not going to happen!|
Back in the wheelchair, I nursed my shoulder that was now exponentially sorer than before I got there and I wondered when the anti-inflammatory medicine was supposed to kick in. The next nurse asked me if my arm was starting to loosen up yet. I told her it was worse from all the movement. Dr. Doolittle (HAHA!!) then came back in and told me that the X-rays looked fine, so he was confident that his initial diagnosis was correct. It was probably bursitis. Bursitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) that lies between a tendon and skin, or between a tendon and bone. He then explained that once this gets inflamed all movement becomes extremely painful. He really didn't need to tell me that part. I was very much aware of it.
|Notice the one buff arm|
He put the needle in and had to adjust it a bit to get it into the bursa sac, but it soon found its way. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. He then stated that it may start to burn, but I would need to sit still because it takes a while to get it all in there. I never really felt any burning, but my whole body got hot. When I said that, Doolittle (HAHA!!) said, "He's passing out! Lay him down!" I told them I wasn't passing out, I just got really hot. The nurses told me I had lost all color in my face and my skin got clammy. These are all signs that someone is about to pass out, but it didn't happen.
An hour later, I was headed back home with my arm hurting more than when I had gone in, but I had some pain killers and prescriptions for codeine and more anti-inflammatory medication. I had to call in sick that morning since we cannot dispatch at the Sheriff's Department while on medication. I have instructions to contact an orthopedic doctor tomorrow so it can be looked at more closely to see if there is anything more serious.
I am starting to regain some mobility in my arm today, but I am very limited. I still cannot lift anything without pain, but it has gotten much easier to get dressed. However, since I cannot afford to take off any more days of work, I have gone without the painkillers today, so I can work this afternoon. I may have to stop taking them anyway. They warned me at the hospital that codeine knocks people out, so do not drive after taking it. However, it has the opposite effect on me. It does help with the pain, but has the same effect as caffeine. I am wide awake after taking it. I can't sleep at night when I've had a dose.
I am healing and am glad to be moving around again, but I am really starting to believe that my body is out to get me. Getting old seems to have a downside.