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Shoulder surgery Wednesday...Terrified :-(
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Shoulder surgery Wednesday...Terrified :-(

I am so nervous about my upcoming shoulder surgery. Will be going in at 6 am this Wednesday. Everyone says it is the most painful thing they have been through. I started having severe panic attacks again today. The anxiety is making me useless! Trying to get everything in order... bought a recliner, ice vest for shoulder, pre made food to easily put in micro, put up hand held shower head. Think that is it LOL.

My mom is coming to help, she will be here tomorrow and my son will be with me as well. I just always get so nervous before surgery. I have horrible fear of, 1. not waking up from anesthesia and 2. blood clots (had one once before). The surgeon said they are very rare with shoulder surgery.

I had both of my achilles tendons reconstructed 10 years ago and did well. They took the tendon from my big toe, drilled through my heal and made a new achilles tendon by intertwining the two and then reattaching. I'm hoping that if I can get through that type of surgery, this should not be as bad. Let's hope

Thanks for listening and any prayers will be appreciated
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Avatar_f_tn
I wish you the best of luck with your shoulder surgery.  What will they be doing in the surgery?  I had a shoulder replacement about a year and a half ago and yes, it is very painful, however, the pain after the surgery was "different" than the pain I was having befor surgery.  It's hard to explain, really.  And the good thing with post-op pain is that you know that every day it's going to get a little bit better.  Before surgery, every day I only knew that the pain would at least be the same, if not worse, than the day before.

with your history of blood clots, even though it may be rare with shoulder surgeries, I would definitely request they give you something to help prevent them from forming - there are many injectable drugs that do this and they work quite well.  They may already plan on doing that, but it's always a good thing to ask about it.

it's good that your mom will be with you, especially when you get home from the hospital.  Your abilities to do things will be limited and you certainly don't want to "undo" what the surgeons have done, so it's vitally important that you listen to your doctors about whatever limitations and restrictions they give you with regards to movement of the surgical shoulder.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Again, best of luck and when you're able, keep us updated as to how you're doing.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry, I also forgot to mention that if you find that you're still very nervous and scared when you get to the hospital, don't hesitate to request they give you a little something to help you relax.  I was quite scared before my surgery - I was ok up until the time they took me into the prep area and I had to put on that "beautiful" hospital gown and then I just basically lost it!  I was crying and shaking.  My nurse was wonderful and asked me if I wanted themto give me just a little something to help me relax a little and I said yes, please.  the anesthesiologists came and put something through my IV, I don't remember what it was, but it was good.  I was still wide awake and able to talk, move, etc. - but I felt so much more relaxed.  I still had butterflies in my stomach about it all, but at least I wasn't sitting there blubbering and shaking becuase of being terrified.

And don't worry thinking the doctors or nurses will think you're "being a baby" if you ask for somethign like that - they are quite used to dealing with nervous patients and it even makes their job a lot easier if their patients are calm and cooperative.

Once again, best of luck!
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1069644_tn?1276932463
Thank you sooo much for your reply. I will be having rotator cuff repair, labrum, bicep tendon, clavicle resection and subacromial decompression. They said it is about a 2 hour surgery. I will definitely ask for something to relax me when I get there. I hate taking pain pills but do so if needed. I'm on some pretty strong ones for another issue but I usually try to bite the bullet so to speak. I was told not to do that with this surgery.

If you don't mind my asking, how long were you out of work? I'm also concerned about being out too long and losing my job. Although at this point it is the least of my worries. Trying to stay focused on the surgery and healing, but it is a concern none the less.

Thanks again and hope you have a great day!
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Avatar_f_tn
You definitely do not want to try to bit the bullet when it comes to your post operative pain.  One of your doctor's and nurse's jobs is to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible, so please do not hesitate to ask for pain medication when and if you need it.  I found that my absolute worst post operative days were the day right after surgery and the following day, so I guess you would call that post op days 2 and 3.  I suspect that part of why the pain was worse the day after surgery than the actual day OF surgery is a combination of the anesthesia still being somewhat in my system and also the fact that in addition to general anesthesia, my surgeon had them administer a regional block before they wheeled me into surgery - that completely numbed my entire right shoulder and arm - it was a bit of a scary feeling at first because you see your arm hanging there and you know it's there, but you can't feel it or move it - kind of like a major shot of novacaine!!  That did help with teh pain immediately following surgery, but I also think it made it a bit worse when it wore off because it was kind of like getting hit by a mack truck all of a sudden.

I also don't like taking pain medication (or any type of medication), but I have to.  I have several chronic pain conditions that leave me in constant, severe pain, so I've come to realize that they are a necessity sometimes.  

You also don't want to try to tough it out through the pain because a) it will actually hinder your recovery from the surgery and b) if you let the pain get to a point where itt's basically out of control, it'll make it a lot harder for your pain meds to work when you do take them, so you may end up having to suffer through the time periods for two or more doses before you finally get some relief.  Most pain meds work better if they are taken when the pain is still somewhat tolerable, rather than letting it really take hold of you.

I actually didn't have to contend with being out of work, as I am on disability.  So I didn't have that worry of trying to rush myself back to a job.  Part of when you are able to go back to work may very depend on not only what type of job you do and also when you are able to drive after surgery (if you have to drive yourself to and from work).  I was in an immobilizer for 6 weeks after surgery and was not permitted to do any driving during that time (of course it was my right shoulder so driving would have been very difficult anyway in that thing!).  I was very fortunate at that time to have been living just a few miles from my parents, so they were able to come and pick me up to take me to doctor's appointments, physical therapy (which was started two weeks after surgery), the grocery store, etc.  

Depending on where you work (size of company, how long you've been there, etc), you may be eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act.  This would allow you up to six weeks of unpaid leave where they are required to keep your job (or at least one that is comparable) for you.  Check about it with your human resources or payroll department.

It's good that you're trying to focus on the surgery and healing - it'll definitely help you to be in that mind set.  Try not to worry about the little things such as trying to keep your house clean or even trying to get dressed each day.  I actually spent the first week when I got out of the hospital in a nightgown - I figured I wasn't going anywhere and I didn't plan on having any visitors, so why not stay as comfortable as possible and not have to worry about trying to get in and out of clothing.  Again, the more comfortable you can keep yourself, the better your body can concentrate on healing from the surgery.

Again, I wish you the best of luck and please let me know how things go.  If I can answer any more questions, please let me know.  Try to stay calm!
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Avatar_f_tn
GooD luck w/ your surgery. My Dad had rotator cuff surgery and the Dr. really had him prepared for something quite awful ( and  he is a whimp when it comes to pain & or illness) & he had little pain.He said it was uncomfortable but compared to before the surgery it was nothing. He took Percocet the first night and the next day & only the next day because I insisted. Nobody really likes to take pills but it is ridiculous to be in pain if you don't have to be as this could be dangerous to your health.  Make sure you have a few icepacks ready for when you come home. Hope all goes well.
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Avatar_f_tn
Good point PedroH - ice packs will definitely be your friend for at least several days/weeks.  Even ask for them while you're in the hospital, they're more than happy to give them to you and it might allow you to be able to take less medication.  Just remember not to leave it on for too longg - you don't want to freeze the area, just numb it and help reduce swelling.  I've got one of those ice/heat packs that you can either heat in the microwave or stick in teh freezer and it works quite nicely - just make sure you get a good sized one or else you'll constantly be trying to catch it from slipping off your shoulder!  I actually just got a new one - it looks more like one of those shoulder jackets that women used to wear - so it settles quite nicely over my entire upper back/neck/shoulder region.  You can change it's position to only cover the affected shoulder, of course, but I've found that sometimes if my "bad" shoulder is acting up, if I also pay attention to my upper back and neck region of that side, it helps also with the pain in the shoulder - I'm guessing it helps relax everything in that area a little, so it doesn't hurt quite so bad.

How's your nerves doing today?  what time do you have to be at the hospital tomorrow?
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1069644_tn?1276932463
Thanks Geminigirl and PedroH!!! Pedro, LOL Pedro, I'm a whimp about the anesthesia, think I'm pretty tough as far as pain goes but I think I'll try not to be this time :-) I bought a special ice pack vest especially for shoulders post op. I also have several gel packs too that will either heat up or freeze. My nerves are horrible tonight! Was able o keep my mind off of it today as I spent the day in the ER with my 20 year old son who had a gallbladder attack (they think). Poor guy, nothing like watching your grown child cry, and writhe in pain, I gladly would have taken it from him or dealt with anxiety rather than have him in pain. He is better and I brought him to my house so he could rest and be taken care of.

I go in to the surgery center at 6 am surgery is scheduled for 7 am. Thanks again for all the advice, it really is greatly appreciated. I will let you know how things go!
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Avatar_f_tn
Everything will be fine.Try to really focus on your breathing-your stomach rising and sinking-just the whole act.I know it sounds a bit hokie but it does help w/anxiety. I feel awful for your son as well...been there done that and it isn't fun-finally had mine taken out.- Anyway, best of luck tomorrow.Only positive thinking allowed!
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1069644_tn?1276932463
Thanks :-) as you can see I can't sleep... Oh well, plenty of time for that the next few days I suppose. I will try the breathing and do my best with the positive thinking.

My gallbladder just came out in oct. I'd prefer to have it back LOL Hopefully they find it's something else and can treat it w/o surgery. Well, have a grea day, you know what mine will be like :-) Talk to you soon...
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Avatar_f_tn
Well, at this time you're probably already off into dreamland and hopefully your surgery is going very well.  I'm sorry I didn't get to read your last couple of posts and respond in time for you to read it before going to the hospital today.

I'm sorry to hear about your son's gall bladder attack - they certainly can be absolutely MISERABLE!!!  Like PedroH - I've also been there, done that.  It sounds like you have as well, so I'm sure seeing your child in that kind of pain brought back a lot of memories.  Maybe the two of you can rest and recover at your house together - be there to support and help each other.  

I hope you were finally able to get a little sleep last night and that your nerves were not too bad this morning.  I agree that trying to relax and concentrate on your breathing can sometimes help with anxiety - at least until they give you some of the "good stuff" at the hospital to help you relax!!!  LOL

I know it will be difficult for you to type after surgery, but when you're feeling up to it, please leave us a message as to how you're doing.  Or, maybe have either your mom or your son type as you tell them what to say!!!  LOL

Again, best of luck and gentle, healing hugs coming your way :)

Robyn
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1069644_tn?1276932463
Well home from surgery. Guess it went ok. Hurt like the devil. Is it normal the day after surgery to still be really out of it? My entire body aches can't get comfortable and I'm one cranky woman! The doc never came out to talk to my mom so I really don't know what it was like once he got in there.

I just feel like crap all the way around!

Thanks for the prayers.
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1069644_tn?1276932463
Well home from surgery. Guess it went ok. Hurt like the devil. Is it normal the day after surgery to still be really out of it? My entire body aches can't get comfortable and I'm one cranky woman! The doc never came out to talk to my mom so I really don't know what it was like once he got in there.

I just feel like crap all the way around!

Thanks for the prayers.
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Avatar_f_tn
Glad that you're home &you have your surgery behind you.One would hope that all went well. Going under is never an easy thing and I think that getting older makes it that much tougher to get over(why I have gone for a block for my leg surgeries) By tomorrow I'm sure you will be feeling better. I forgot about getting comfortable after shoulder surgery...Dad slept, well lived, in the recliner. Do you have one? Sorry you are feeling icky-I have my fingers crossed that tomorrow brings you a better day. Take care of youself!            Oh, by the way, how's your son doing?
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1069644_tn?1276932463
My son is doing better. Thanks for asking. I do have a recliner but still having difficulty. This is definitely something I don't want to do again. My back and neck hurt just as bad as my shoulder. Not sure why. Thanks for being there for me u two. At least I don't feel all alone :-) hope u r right and tomorrow is a better day.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm glad that the surgery is over for you, but sorry that you're in so much pain and discomfort right now.  Yes, it's quite normal to still feel "out of it" the day after surgery - it takes some time for all the anesthesia to get out of our systems, and some of how long that takes depends on your metabolism.  The day of surgery you probably got a lot more meds all around than what you're normally used to anyway, so it'll also take some time for those all to clear out of your system.

A recliner does help - also prop a bed pillow or some other type of pillow behind that affected shoulder so that it has something to rest against when you're either sitting or laying down - tht way it doesn't tend to want to "slide backward", causing pain.  Are you in an immobilizer or sling?  If so, it definitely takes some getting used to trying to sleep in one of those, but after a while, you'll actually be glad that you have it on at night becuase it gives that bad arm extra support.  Again, even in the immobilizer or sling, prop a pillow behind your affected shoulder to give it all the support that you can.

The pain in your back and neck are also common - for one thing, an operating table is NOT comfortable at all, so just laying there for the duration of the surgery (even though you were asleep) can cause back and neck pain.  Also, when they're operating on your shoulder, they are also working around nerves, muscles, tendons, etc., that affect your back and neck region, so it's not surprising that it causes neck and back pain as well.  I also had some pain going down into my elbow after my surgery - partly because of the reasons I stated above and also simply because of being in the immobilizer 24/7 - it's not the most natural position to keep your elbow in all the time.  Being in the sling or immobilizer could also be adding to your back and/or neck pain.  One thing I used to do to get a little relief - if I was strictly sitting watching tv or something, I would make sure my affected arm/shoulder was properly supported and I would loosen or remove the part of my immobilizer that went around my neck in order to give my back and neck some rest and relief for a while.  NEVER do this if you are up and around - you need the support from your neck and back in the sling/immobilizer ifyou are moving around.  Of course, I never took my shoulder/arm out of the immobilizer, simply my neck.  It did help to help those muscles and stuff loosen up a bit and not be quite so painful.

You can also use your ice packs on your neck and back - either rotate the use with your shoulder or use an additional ice pack for those areas at the same time you are icing your shoulder.

In addition to pain medication, did your surgeon give you a script for any type of muscle relaxer?  If they didn't, you may find that you'll end up needing to request one.  I had quite a bit of muscle spasming after surgery both in my shoulder that was operated on as well as in my back and neck - the muscle relaxers definitely helped.  I'm sorry I had forgot to mention that before your surgery so that you could have asked about it then.

I noticed that your post was very early this morning - I hope by now you've been able to get into a semi-comfortable position and get some sleep.  Hopefully when you do wake up again, things will start to improve.  I know for me, the first few days after surgery were the worst.

Remember also, try not to let the pain get to a totally unbearable point before taking whatever pain meds your doctor has prescribed - they work better if they are in your system before the pain gets out of control.

Best of luck and when you're feeling up to it, keep us posted on how you're doing.  I'm also very glad that your son is doing better.  did they definitely determine that it was a gall bladder attack?  If so, do they plan on removing it or watching to see how it goes?

Gentle hugs,
Robyn
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1069644_tn?1276932463
Well, a little better. I'm finding there is just no way to sleep w/o a pain pill. I can get maybe 2-4 if I take one. Amazing how much we take for granted everyday :-).

My son goes in for a hida scan this week. Should help with th gb diagnosis. He is much better.

Off to remove dressing and attempt a shower. Wish me luck! Thanks again, u two have really helped. Hope I can repay the favor some day
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Avatar_f_tn
Glad to hear that you are feeling a little better.  Hopefully you're now over the worst of the post op pain and every day will get better and better.

Sleeping is one of the things that was very difficult for me also after surgery.  It would always seem I would just get into a somewhat comfortable position and start to doze off and the shoulder would start to growl at me again or my pea sized bladder would decide that it needed to be emptied again!!  LOL  The best advice I can give on that score is to get sleep when and where you can.  If it means taking a 20 minute nap on the couch in the middle of the day, so be it.  It's kind of a vicious circle sometimes - the less sleep we get, the more we tend to hurt and the more we hurt, the less sleep we tend to get.

I hope your shower went well - I remember when I was able to take my first shower after surgery - I had my surgery on a Monday and I wasn't allowed to take a shower until that Saturday.  I could hardly wait!!!  Sponge baths are not what they are cracked up to be!  I'm sure I didn't catch you in time to tell you this before this shower, but one of the tips one of my nurses gave me was very helpful to me -- She told me that when I go to wash the underarm area of my surgical shoulder, don't try to lift my arm/shoulder, but rather bend at the waist and just sort of let that shoulder dangle forward a little.  It doesn't allow a lot of room to wash, but does allow enough room to be able to get a washcloth in under there and you're not forcing your shoulder to do anything that it can't or shouldn't do at this point.  I still quite often use this "technique" since I'm having problems with that shoulder again.

Also, when you are dressing, put your surgical shoulder/arm into your shirt first and then your other arm and head.  This avoids you having to raise your arm/shoulder to get it into your shirt.  As far as bras go, definitely hook it in the front, then slide it around to the proper position, put your affected arm in first and then your good arm.  Getting dressed the first few times were quite a chore.  You may need some help the first couple of times, especially with the bra. (I, myself, went without one whenever I was at home by myself and would only wiggle into one when I either had company or had to go out of the house)

When do you get your staples or stitches removed?  I found myself a bit more comfortable after my staples were out - at least i didn't have that constant pinching feeling from them anymore.

I'm glad your son is doing much better.  I'll say some extra prayers for him also that his HIDA scan goes well this week.  If he finds that he needs to have his gb out, tell him to request it be done laprascopically if at all possible.  It'll definitely make his recovery much easier.  I think that's kind of the "norm" now, but it's still not a bad idea to ask about it if his doctor doesn't mention it.

is your mom still with you to lend a hand?  If not, do you have anyone staying with you that can help if you need it?

No need at all to thank me for anything.  I really haven't done anything except tell you about my own experiences.  Before my shoulder surgery I didn't know anyone who had had it done and I also didn't know about this site at that time, so I pretty much went into it knowing nothing at all what to expect (except what my doctor told me and he definitely underestimated it!)  I'm glad I was able to at least give you a little information on what you might expect. Of course, our surgeries were somewhat different, but to me, joint surgery is joint surgery.

I've been meaning to ask you - when you got to the hospital the day of surgery, did you end up asking for something to help you relax and if so, were they willing and able to give you something?  Also, was the "going under" part of the anesthesia as bad as you thought it would be?  About the only thing I remember about getting the anesthesia was I remember one of the nurses putting those "lovely" anti-embolism stockings on me and another nurse and the anesthesiologist telling to me have a good sleep and then the next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room.  One of the hardest parts of being in the recovery room for me was the fact that they had taken my glasses from me in the pre-op area and had put them with my bag of stuff, so I was blind as a bat in recovery and when I first got to my hospital room.  My belongings didnt arrive to my room for about 45-60 minutes later.  I can't see a thing without my glasses and i find it very disorienting to be without them, so I felt much better and more relaxed once I got them back and could actually see things again!

Once again, I'm glad you're starting to feel a little better - each day now should only improve.  Keep me posted on how both you and your son are doing.

Get as much sleep and rest as you can - even if you can't sleep, just laying down quietly for a while can aid in your energy level and also in your healing process.

Gentle hugs,
Robyn
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1069644_tn?1276932463
Hello. I'm still among the living:-) yes they gave me tons of meds to help me relax! Don't remember most of pre op lol. I enen let them do the nerve block apparently with no argument. I'm a bit stubborn still about the pain pills, I think my mom is spiking my drink with them lol. I'm trying to get up more each day. Get my stitches out on thurs and start pt same day. Dreading that. Hope u have a good mothers day!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey, how's everything going? Starting to itch yet? I'm sure getting the stiches out will give you a little more comfort.Can I suggest taking some sort of mild pain killer before PT. You don't want to be totally doped up as you can cause damage by not feeling the pain during your session. & of course have your icepack waiting when you get home.  I hope this finds you well-have been thinking about you- Let us know how you make out tomorrow.   Take Care!
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1069644_tn?1276932463
Hello :-) Got my stitches out today...ouch, they had to dig 2 of them out and then right next door to PT where the therapist decided I should be able to get my arm at a 90 degree angle...NOT!  That was extremely painful and I did learn that I have to speak up and not let them push me to that pain level again. I know it will be painful in therapy and not a walk in the park but I think that was a bit much for the first day. I'm OK now, still hurts like crazy but am at least able to get out of the sling periodically. Thanks for checking up on me :-) I appreciate it. Doc took me off work for at least another 3 weeks then we will recheck.
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Avatar_f_tn
glad you got your stitches out.  Did you have actual stitches or staples?  I had staples and I totally agree - OUCH!!!  They were NOT fun getting out - I had several of them that had either twisted or were really strongly attached and they had a good bit of trouble getting them out.  Of course, the worst ones were the ones like right above where your armpit starts - that area can be so sensitive anyway, and then have them start digging around trying to get a staple out of there, and believe me, I was in tears!  And I had timed my pain meds that day so that I had taken them about an hour before my appointment!  But I did feel a good bit better once they were all out.

Definitely speak up to your PT people if you feel they are pushing you too hard or if they do anything that causes you undu pain.  Obviously, you're going to have SOME pain with the PT, but it shouldn't be excessive.  If you can also time your pain meds so that you take it about an hour before PT, you may find that helps a little also.  Just be wary about trying to overdo it in PT just because you have pain meds on board and may not feel as much of the discomfort right then.  If you find that your PT people are trying to push you too fast or too hard, you could even talk to your surgeon and ask him what his expectations are as to where he thinks you should be with the PT.  They do somewhat take their "limits" from what the doctor has said, so if it's your doc that is saying you should be at 90 degrees already, you may need to tell HIM that that is too much too soon and you're not able to do it and ask if he can amend his orders to the therapists.

Also be sure to do any home exercises they may give you from PT.  Doing these will only make your PT visits easier and hopefully less painful.  They gave me a pulley type device that fit over my bathroom door.  You held on to the little bar with your affected side's hand and slowly pulled the pulley so that your surgical arm was being raised.  That way I was geting exercise in that arm/shoulder, but it was more of a passive exercise and I wasn't actually using the shoulder muscles to do the lifting.  it did help to stretch things out a bit.

Even though you're permitted now to get out of the sling periodically, you may find that you still need it when you sleep - it does help to keep that arm/shoulder stabilized while sleeping.

I'm glad you're improving - keep up the good work!

Robyn
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1069644_tn?1276932463
I had stitches no staples thank goodness! I've had staples before and they suck! Yes, the ones they dug out were right above the arm pit, awful! I did take a pain pill before therapy and felt a bit loopy, I'm sure it lessened the pain a bit too. Too bad I didn't think to take it before the Dr. Appt.

Now because it is workers comp I have to change where I go to PT. Now they are trying to find someone in the network for me to go to. Definitely feels better with the stitches out but still soooo frustrating just trying to eat and bathe lol. One handed typing not so easy either ;-) I know it takes time, unfortunately I am not the most patient person around, I want it better and back to normal yesterday...

Thanks for the advice on the PT stuff, I will try to be more assertive, not one of my strong points, I'm more of a "go with the flow" kind a gal :-) but I can also be a tornado if I get pushed too far, just need to speak up before it gets to the tornado part LOL. I'm glad to be over the hump though, surgery was the worst of it I hope. Now to focus on the recovery and getting back to work...the boredom can kill a person. Sleep still eludes me. Just can't find a way to sleep more than a couple hours at a time.

Hope you have a great weekend...Thanks again :-)
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