Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anatomy of the Arms

The photo above was taken aboard the Freedom of the Seas in November 2006. Not bad arms for an old broad who had just celebrated her 61st birthday. But there's a story behind the arms.

The trouble started in 2004 when I had a colonoscopy. That was a good thing to do, and I won't have to do that again until 2014. But in the process of moving myself into position on that metal table, I pulled something in my left shoulder. I noticed it at the time and thought it was something that would resolve itself in a few days. Within a few days I realized I couldn't lift my arm above shoulder height, and couldn't reach behind my back without pain for simple dressing tasks, like zipping or hooking stuff.

When I told my regular doctor, he said it sounded like a bone spur in my shoulder. Great, how did I get a spur and how do I get rid of it? So now I'm at the age when the doctor begins too many sentences with "At your age..." Thanks, doc. So he sent me to an orthopedist who specializes in shoulders. I didn't know there was such a specialty. The orthopede gave me a pulley contraption to do shoulder exercises that were supposed to build up my shoulder muscles and correct the pain problem. After a few months of the pulley and cortisone shots, I still couldn't fasten my bra without turning it around to the front. (Tinker thought that was cute.)

The next step was Aqua Therapy. Wonderful stuff. I recommend it highly for everybody. I did shoulder exercises in a warm pool with resistance devices to build up my shoulders. The warm water helped to alleviate the pain, and eventually I was doing lifts outside the pool and at home.

I was even carrying the 3 pound weights with me when we traveled. On one trip, the baggage handling totally tore up one suitcase with that undistributed weight. By early 2005, the shoulder was felling pretty good, except I couldn't sleep on my left side without pain. I tried sleeping on the right side, but I always prefer my left side, and would roll over to the left side in my sleep, only to be awaken by the pain. The therapists suggested sleeping with a teddy bear under that left arm. "A Teddy Bear?" It turns out that the teddy bear is just the right size to fit under the arm. So by our cruise in April 2005, the bear was going with me everywhere.

I stayed faithful to my weight lifting and slept with that bear until I had foot surgery in 2006. Since I was on crutches for several weeks, I was exerting that shoulder in another way. The last pain in the shoulder stopped, and I didn't need the bear anymore.

So there I was on that slippery slope, falling off the wagon.

My friends know the rest of the story. I've been inspired by "My First Lady" to get my arms back in shape, and I have a target date to see some progress. I'll be wearing something sleeveless Memorial Day Weekend, and I want my friends to congratulate me on my arms.

1 comment:

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