Grumble, Grumble, Attitude Adjustment

Yesterday, Paul Newman squeezed me in for a “bonus” appointment.

My shoulder has been popping on and off (in and out?) for about a week now.

It’s very painful when it gets like this which means I’ve been taking pain meds off and on for several days also.

(Boo Hiss!  The dreaded pain meds!)

I’m sure Paul Newman could sense my frustration yesterday, because he felt the need to have a “talk” with me.

And, to be honest, I needed it.

He’s so calm and logical and matter-of-fact about my arm.

I can always use a dose of Paul Newman CALM when I’m in a lot of pain and teetering on the edge of a meltdown.

I tell everyone how much better my arm is.

And …?

He told me it really isn’t.

In some ways it is.

If I don’t attempt to use it, I’m in less pain than I used to be when not using it.

In other words, doing absolutely nothing hurts a lot less than it used to.

Plus, there’s all the stuff inside of my arm that has been repaired over the years.

(Pretty much everything!)

Also, Paul Newman can move my arm much more than he was able to move it when he first adopted me.

He’s broken down scar tissue and loosened up muscles that were locked down tight.

I, however, still can’t move my arm myself.

Well, not in a normal way.  I can move it some by using my neck muscles, etc.

Paul Newman tells me I’ve built my life into “a little box” I live inside.

As long as I stay within that box, adapting and modifying my limited movements,

I can function in a convincing, but totally faking-it way.

If I attempt to do anything outside of my little box, like *actually* attempting to use my bum arm,

It “bites” me.  (His words.)

In other words, I go into a pain flare-up.

Pain flare-ups can last for days or weeks, depending on what I’ve done and how badly I’ve done it.

As most of you know, I was a total mess post car accident.

Nine surgeries (and nearly eight years) later, I *am* way better than I was.

And …?

There’s a surgery which could possibly hold my bicep in place so my arm would not pop out of the shoulder joint so often.

(I think the surgery is called bicep tenodesis.)

But, nine surgeries later I don’t think I want to go through more surgeries.

Also, if the surgery fails, I could find myself with pretty much no use of my arm.

I don’t think I can take that chance when I have so little use of it already.

(It isn’t a simple surgery – some orthopods won’t even do it.)

I get frustrated at the things I can’t do.

I can’t, for instance, do upper body exercises.

I can’t work (shoot) more than a few hours at a time.

I can’t lift or carry anything.

I’m very dependent on my Paul Newman visits to keep the movement I do have.

(He also helps keep my pain levels in check.)

I asked him yesterday if any of his other patients need him as much as I do?

Since “normal” patients get better and stop visiting him, I don’t think they do.

Being in pain puts a damper on my spirits.

Facing the reality of a lifetime of physical limitations is also frustrating.

I’ve known for a long time I’ll always have limitations but it’s so much more REAL when Paul Newman and I talk about it.

I’m trying to focus on how far I’ve come.

Yes, I may be living in a little box with very limited use of my arm,

But a few years ago I didn’t even have that little box.

I may not be able to shoot more than a few hours here and there,

But I couldn’t shoot at all for several years.

I’m trying to embrace the positives.

I have come a long way.

Sometimes I need to focus on just that.

I’m mentally going through a list of all the arm related improvements I’m grateful for.

(I’m most grateful of all for Paul Newman!)

And really, there have been a lot of improvements.

It’s just been a tough week.

Multiple shoulder subluxations don’t make for a happy dance.

On the positive side, I’m getting photo editing done while I wait for my arm to calm down.

I know this flare up will pass given time.

It’s just a bump in the road.

Bumps in the road are a frequent occurrence in life.

And I am on quite a journey.

3 Responses to “Grumble, Grumble, Attitude Adjustment”

  1. Missy Stalcup

    Go ahead and vent! We all need to sometimes. I am thankful that you can do more than when we met six years ago. Even if your photography is done in smaller segments you are accomplishing your dream and we get the pleasure of seeing your work. You go Suzanne!

    • Suzanne

      Thank you for the encouragement Missy.
      It has been a painful, frustrating, week.

  2. Jenny in MN now in AZ

    I can’t imagine the pain you endure each day, but yet you have managed to pull your strength together and provide the world with your beautiful artwork. I know you are thankful for what you are able to do now vs. even 5 or 6 years ago, but also the frustration you experience on a daily basis just to try to do normal things…so frustrating and I am sure feels defeating at times.
    Thank you for not giving up. Your sense of humor and beautiful work with the camera, your value to your friends and family are worth SO much…take care of yourself and your pain levels and let’s hope this is a short flare up.


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