OK, so it's been a couple of months since I hurt myself by falling off my mountain bike and I still have many more before I'm back to where I was before the accident.
I had a pretty good separation of my shoulder. My collarbone wasn't really attached to my shoulder anymore.
Here are some pics that were taken at the clinic on Jan 17:
It's pretty easy to see the separation between the clavicle and acromion, especially in the first picture.
My surgeon, Mr. Alex Malone, told me that based on the x-rays, it looks like a Grade 3 (out of 5) separation, but based on his physical examination, he graded it a 5. Without surgery, he said that I could get most of my strength and flexibility back. With the surgery, he said I should get it all back if I followed through with my physio. That made it a no-brainer for me and we scheduled me in for 17 February.
The surgery went off without a hitch. They took very good care of me at the hospital, which was quite flash.
Positive memories of the hospital:
- plush terrycloth robe to wear while waiting for surgery
- leather recliner while waiting for surgery
- heated blanket pulled out of warmer for me when I got into OR
- Very good painkillers. However, I did notice that the therapeutic dosage is much lower than the recreational dose!
- Good food! Yeah, it's a common joke that hospital food is crap, but I got a nice roast lamb dinner with mash, veg and a very tasty chocolate raspberry dessert.
The surgery went very well. Here's a few after pics of the shoulder.
A fluoroscope of my shoulder taken just after the AC reduction procedure
In the post-procedure x-rays, you can easily see the metal "dog bones" used to anchor the fibre tape that pulled my bones back into place.
Then they sent me home with some scrips for ibuprofen, paracetamol (acetaminophen to my US friends) and codeine. I didn't feel any pain at all for two days. Then my body realised that someone had drilled a couple of holes in my shoulder bones and then pulleyed the bones back together. My plan of just toughing it out fell by the wayside as I gulped down pain pills for that first week.
By two weeks out, I felt much better and was really hoping to do more than just straighten my arm out 3 times a day. My 2-week visit to Mr. Malone showed good results and I got to go see a physio where I was given some exercises to work on getting range of motion back. My goal was to get back to 90 degrees forward and 45 degrees of lateral rotation. I still had to wear the sling though.
As I write this, I'm almost 6 weeks out. I see the surgeon again in a few days and then I'll probably get to take the sling off and resume most of my normal activities. However, I won't get to do any strength training for another 3 months or so, depending on my range of motion.
The good news is that New Zealand has very good programs for people who are injured. I have a case worker for the Return to Work program who has a plan for me to phase back into work. I can't wait.