When the very nice physician assistant explained the options for repairing my broken shoulder back in February (2021), I was still in shock, not to mention tremendous pain. It’s a wonder I remember anything at all. There were some words he said, however, that stayed with me. “People your age.” My age is 73 if you’re wondering. It used to be that I was timid about letting on how old I was, but now I wear it like a badge of honor.
Anyway, apparently, for people my age and my type of fracture, they offer shoulder replacement surgery. Thank goodness I cut through the brain fog I was experiencing (trauma, not age-related fog) and asked about the pros and cons.
It turns out you can’t have full mobility with a shoulder replacement. No more reaching for the sky or maybe even swooping and circling. Sometimes older people don’t care about regaining full mobility, he explained. Well, this old lady does. I have a date with my nephew to go hang-gliding on my 75th birthday. I need my shoulders.
My next option was to let it heal on its own, only because my upper arm was broken in two places and not in good alignment, it wouldn’t return to a normal position on its own. My third option, which I chose, was a shoulder repair. One plate, 11 pins.
I had my follow-up with the surgeon two weeks ago — a great guy, Dr. Gregory Blaisdell. I would highly recommend him, but truly, I hope you never have to see him. I could already tell my shoulder was healing, but I was also a bit concerned because just three days before I fell, an endocrinologist suggested I have an annual infusion of Reclast for a few years to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. (This is another story that I will tackle sometime in the near future.)
If your bones are losing mass, wouldn’t that interfere with building new bone after a fracture? Miraculously, no, said Dr. Blaisdell. And x-rays showed that my bones were healing nicely. The arrows are pointing to areas of new bone growth.
Yoga, good for everything, including shoulders
The other great news is he said that my mobility at seven weeks was as good as someone at twelve weeks. I think that’s because, with his permission, I continued taking my weekly online chair/gentle yoga class with Martha Williams. I couldn’t use my broken right arm at all for six weeks but it still helped me a tremendous amount and now each week I can stretch it a little further. Sorry, I don’t have a picture, but check out Martha’s website Soulfire Yoga and Healing to see what she offers for classes and where. I will also do a future blog post about how she adapts traditional yoga poses for her gentle and chair yoga classes. I am so grateful I found her!
The final piece of news is the joy of doing physical therapy. I’m not joking. Thanks to recommendations from friends, I found Michelle, a wonderful therapist at Northern Light Mercy Physical Therapy. Our goal is 100 percent mobility. First, we need to stretch out the very, very tight muscles and gradually work toward strengthening them. I have lots of homework to do.
My goal is to get back to AW Strength and Conditioning and work with my strength coach Andy Wight. We managed to have several online sessions over the winter and hopefully, by the time Michelle says I’m good to go, we can work out in person. The good ole days on so many levels. I can’t wait to go back.
Check out how far I can already reach. Can’t do circles yet, but we’re making progress. Not bad for a person my age. Not bad at all, if I do say so myself.