Shoulder Surgery–Success!! - Monday - July 18, 2011

Nancy here: First off, if you are squeamish about medical photos and stuff, do not proceed to read today’s blog.  Short and Sweet Version… Nancy had shoulder Surgery and it was a Success!! :o)))

For those who didn’t know, Nancy and I had a bicycle accident a couple years ago.  We both were wearing helmets so we came away without any brain damage.  I know a few folks might argue that point, but regardless…..


Anyhow, Nancy did fracture her left upper arm in 3 places.  It was called a 4-part Proximal Humerus Fracture and required an 8” titanium rod and 5 screws to put her Proximal (round part or ball of the upper arm) back together.
07 - Original Surgery XrayHere is the X-ray following the original surgery.

The result of the original surgery was good.  But over the past year, her range of motion has decreased greatly and she gets severe numbness in her forearm and hand. So the Doctor took X-rays which showed that the screws had come loose and were hitting things they shouldn’t be hitting ;o((

So, it was time to take the hardware out.  This past Friday, July 15th, that’s exactly what took place. It was done in an outpatient facility….amazing!!

01 - nancy leaving for surgeryNancy leaving for the operation.

02 - arm pre surgeryNancy’s Arm Pre-Surgery

03 - bill coffeeIt could be a long morning, so Bill stopped for another cup of coffee on the way to the surgical facility!!

04 - carolina bone and joint surgery centerCarolina Bone and Joint Surgery Facility

06 - rod and screws spare partsThey gave Nancy the “Loose” Screws and Rod.  We feel so much better knowing Nancy now has '”Spare” Parts!!!

05 - going homeAll repairs are finished and we headed home.

Nancy here:  The surgery facility was amazing…but the BEST thing was something call Bear Paws!!  They give you those wonderful paper gowns to put on over NOTHING!! Of course, the temperature in these places is extremely cold…you can’t have Doctor’s with sweaty hands;o(((  Well, the paper gown I got was connected to a little fan (the Bear Paw) that blew warm or cool air and was controlled by me.  Well, let’s just say I cranked that baby way up to the heat side of things;o)))  Now that’s a wonderful use of technology!!!!!

Once we got home, Nancy changed into jammies, took her PAIN medication and got the ice pack on the surgery site.  We never did get to see the incision, but it is under here somewhere????
08 - Shoulder Padded after surgery
She spent most of Friday and Saturday on pain meds, sleeping with the ice pack.  By Sunday, she was up and about more and weaning down on the medication, but still applying ice to the surgery site regularly.  She is a good patient!!  She does what she needs to do to get well and always recuperates quickly. 

The only thing that frustrated her was not being able to shower until Monday. The tape from the dressing was really ripping and pinching her arm, so she removed that Sunday night. Here is our first look at the surgery site.  Only 2 incisions which surprised us since the original surgery had 5 incisions???  I guess they have special ways to get to all those screws.  Don’t care, but less is always best when it comes to incisions;o))))) 09 - Shoulder w-o padding pre shower
Believe it or not, the sorest part are the bruises where they must have clamped her arm to keep it from moving!! Nancy cannot wait until tomorrow when she can get a SHOWER!!

Nancy here: You probably are not going to believe this, but I was up very early and felt so great that I held off on the shower until Bill got up and we went for a power walk around 6:30pm.  Now let me be clear, we walked to a 3.5mph beat for 4.25 miles...not a real blowout, but good enough to get a sweat going:o))  Then when we got back to the house, I realized the garden needed a little care, so Bill pulled out what I pointed to ;o))  Then I raked and cleaned it up while he showered.  Then it was MY turn was a MUCH NEEDED shower!!!

The shower itself was sheer pleasure…. funny how something that mundane can be that wonderful. During the shower, the little yellow bandages fell off and that was when I realized…
10 - Shoulder staples after showerI am no longer screwed together, I am stapled together! 

So I am now clean and feeling fine.  Really cannot believe how good the arm and I feel.  I have not had any pain meds since 8pm last night.  I cannot tell how much new range of motion I might get since it is still swollen, but I do know it is already much better than it was....


Stitches/staples come out next Monday and then I can work on building some muscle back up in that arm.  I will be back on the bike and maybe even REALLY paddling, not one-sided paddling, in the kayak before long!!!


  1. Congratulations Nancy!!! Wonderful news :)
    The incision sites looked great! Be careful and get your rest :)
    I remember when I was laid up from my leg and shoulder. The day they finally cleared me to take a shower, even though I had to be wheeled into it, was my happiest day of that entire year!!! LOL There is absolutely nothing that makes you feel better when it's been awhile since you were able to have one :)
    Hope the rehab part goes well and quickly. I'll bet it feels really good to have those loose screws out of there!

  2. Good news that everything went so well.

    However, if I were you, I'd be moaning and groaning so Bill would have to wait on you hand and foot and spoil you more than he usually does! ;c)

    With your spare parts out, you no longer have to worry about those TSA pat downs! Hopefully the house sells, you get your new MH and never have to fly again anyway.

    Don't over do it! I'd tell you to slow down and take it easy, but that would be like telling the tide not to come in... :c)

  3. Good for you! Glad it all came out fine. Maybe they used a giant magnet to get the loose screws out! Here's hoping you are helping paddle that sea eagle soon!

  4. I sure have been thinking about you a lot lately. I knew the surgery was about this time of month. Take it easy and pay attention to the rehab. Looking forward to some kayak time in September.

  5. Great Blog Nancy & Bill!! Amazing the "spare parts". I could hardly believe my eyes. Can't believe you had all that in your arm.

    Everything actually looks great and I'm just floored that such a thing took place as an out patient. But that's nice for both you and the insurance company.

    ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY your recovery.
    Very gentle HUG to you!! And one to Bill too.

  6. That's terrific news Nancy! Glad to hear that you're doing so well so quickly and even off the pain meds already. You'll be biking and paddling again in no time!

  7. I'm glad to hear it all came out well. As others said, don't over do things, and soon you'll be right as rain! Take care!

  8. Glad you are on the mend and will be ready for Cheraw in September! Take care - Dan and Tricia (still posting anonymously though!!)

  9. So glad that's behind you! I am not at all surprised that you are a good patient. Roger and I both always wear our helmets, and it's because of your admonition; not sure we'd be as diligent otherwise. I don't even want to think about what might have happened if you'd not had your helmets on during your accident.

  10. So glad the surgery went well. Catherine had surgery last year and loved the bear paws as well. Happy Rehab :)