Pec and Labrum Repair Saga: part 1

So after trying to rehab for six months the only thing left to do was get my pec reattached and labrum repaired since I had fully peaked out on how much my pec was going to handle. Furthermore my labrum, which I injured back in the day when cheering at Kansas went downhill very quickly. I was lucky enough to get hooked up with some shoulder specialists in Lexington to do the repair, after an MRI and physical examinations confirmed what had occurred it was time to get the surgery scheduled.

The week and night before

The week before the surgery I went hard in the paint with training since I knew I would be taking some time off afterwards. Along with getting a few supplements to help with recovery in the house, I met with other folks that have went through things like this and their advice on this. The sleep the night before was definitely not the best since I was obviously a bit nervous. I finished up my eating and drinking by 11pm.

Surgery morning

Rising up, back on the street. Took my time, took my chances. We got up somewhat early since I was supposed to be in by 8am to get taken back and prepped. The surgery center was pretty quiet and empty when we walked in. I was taken back after not too long and then went and got an IV put in that they missed on the first try.

Anesthesiologist

While on the bed I got to meet my anesthesiologist where I learned about how I would be trached and how I might wake in a huge amount of pain needing a nerve block in my shoulder. That was exciting to hear about. He was very pleasant and nice which I enjoyed while laying on the bed.

Knocked out

After long enough my surgeon came in to say it was go time and I was carted off. Nothing like being wheeled to a room where you see all the tools about to be used on you and then hearing your pulse quicken (from the monitors) as they start to put the numbing agents and then the knock out juice in your veins. Very strange… Then I time traveled forward.

Waking up

I can’t tell you the defining moment of when I woke up, but I did wake up and I was sore. Honestly it was  nothing too bad. I had a huge pack of bandages on my shoulder and my brace for my shoulder and arm was strapped to me in the sling.

Pain scales are stupid

So remember how I said I don’t remember waking up, that’s because I was up for a bit and have no memory of it. Aside from asking for my wife as the first thing I did, I was a real pain in the backside. They kept asking me to rate my pain on a scale from 1-10. I told them that pain scales are a dumb and abstract method to rate discomfort. How do we compare the pain that one person is experiencing to another? Can you make direct comparisons? Needless to say I was a pain… to them.

Trached

While they did the work on me I was sedated enough that they needed to put in a trachiometry so machines could breathe for me. I don’t remember it going in or out, but my throat was a little sore and taking a deep breathe felt weird like I had bronchitis or something. This happens to some folks and just a heads up to others that might go through this.

The sling

The sling itself is interesting, keeping my arm internally rotated with a 90 degree bend at the elbow. A solid bar wrapped in foam with a belt keeps it strapped to my rib cage and then another strap keeps my hand up that loops over one side of my neck. I also had a little foam grip to hold that started to smell after a few days since turns out my hand likes to sweat.

Nausea

The put me on Percocet (aka perkies), these did not make me perky. Instead it made me nauseous, nothing like dry heaving and feeling rough when you have an arm brace on so you can’t get in a comfortable puking position. Thankfully, this was only the night this happened (I stopped taking them that night). After getting off the perkies I had no more issues with this. We switched to acetaminophen and ibuprofen mix for about a day then no more pain drugs at all.

Sleeping (well kinda)

Due to the brace I could only sleep inclined on my back. We used a ramp pillow for me to lay on the bed and then used a number of pillows to prop up my elbow and keep me from rolling over to the other side. I would wake up a number of times throughout the night, then move around a bit and fall back asleep. The good news is each night this gets a bit better.

staples in the arm
Here is how I looked four days after when I got to shower and take off my bandages.

Summary

This is enough for how things started off for now. I tried typing a lot of this with one hand directly after surgery and boy howdy was my typing horrible. I’m currently one month post operation and doing rehab which is progressing well. The next post will be about what I really did after the first few days. I hope this helps for anyone that might go through a surgery like this and feel free to share it with anyone you know that might be about to go through a procedure like this.

Post edit: I went through and fixed my spelling and grammar throughout since there were a large number of mistake initially.

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