Yesterday I went in for my three month check up with the Lovely Mr F. It’s hard to believe that it is three months since I had all that metal out, in a weird way I miss having the metal in. It was kind of reassuring that it was holding my arm together.
When I arrived I went for the usual X Ray. I can’t remember how many X rays I have had, but this was my 35th visit to the hospital and I have had X rays on many of those visits. What is slightly funny is in all that time I have never had the same radiographer do the x ray, it is a different one each visit. To begin with the mantra was always ‘ Wow, that’s a lot of metal’, but of course that is not the case now. One change has been that my date of birth and address are checked at reception and in the x ray room and I also have to sign a consent form each time. This wasn’t the case when I started going there and it makes me wonder whether there has been some x ray incident which has increased the rigour behind patient identification. I wonder what an x ray incident might be?
I get in the usual position for the two X rays; the radiographer comments that I am quick to know what I am doing – ‘ Yes, I’ve had a few of these’.
When I went in to see the Lovely Mr F we talked about holidays, family and our children’s university choices. I think we avoid talking about my shoulder because it is so depressing. Eventually, however it can’t be avoided and he stands me in front of the mirror to asses my shoulder movement. After the examination the Lovely Mr F writes down my movement. 140 degrees to the front, 80 degrees to the side and zero degree rotation. Really? Zero degrees? 15 months, 2 surgeries, countless physio, intense swimming and the result is zero degrees??FFS!
He tells me that I am not out of the woods when it comes to thinking about AVN. 15 months ago I had no idea what that was, now I know it is to be feared. Avascular Necrosis. He explains to me that whilst the surface of the joint looks OK on X ray, he will really only know when he looks through a telescope and it could be that the blood supply is failing, the bone will all crumble and I will need a shoulder replacement.
The Lovely Mr F says that he can offer me one more surgery, general anaesthetic, keyhole surgery, have a look with a telescope and then capsular release. He doesn’t hold out too much hope that it will make a lot of difference bit it is worth a try. I jest that I should be able to fit keyhole surgery in a lunch break, but he says I need to be careful, he will be cutting and burning the shoulder structure. Fun. After this operation, he says, I will have to accept that I was hit on the slopes and my shoulder will never be the same again, there is nothing more that he can do. We talk about the things that are difficult, or I will never do again. I was never a big tennis player but I do miss doing the front crawl. Putting on jackets and dresses is still a drama, and interestingly he raises getting a ticket out of the multi storey carpark. Doing my hair, itching my back, doing bras up. Blah. Blah. Blah.
I turn the conversation back to holidays.