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Published on Jul 27, 2012
Here are my biggest recovery challenges, plus updates after my first follow-up appointment.
*** My tips for getting through post-op week one:
1. Stay on top of your pain meds and ahead of the pain, even if you're not a big medication-taking person. This will make a world of difference and get you through the worst of it with minimal to tolerable pain.
2. Sit and sleep in a recliner or otherwise propped up. You'll want the support for your shoulder. In addition to borrowing a recliner for the living room, I bought one of these zero-gravity bed wedges: http://j.mp/OhhYEO I attribute actually getting rest this first night (and subsequent ones) to this! Totally worth it!
3. Stay hydrated!
4. Eat nutrient-rich foods to give your body what it needs to heal. The cocktail of meds will likely throw off your insides, especially your digestive system, so nourishing your body (with the right foods and plenty of water) is as important as ever. (In addition to eating a well-balanced vegan diet, I'm also drinking at least one serving per day of vanilla chai Vega One, a plant-based protein shake: http://j.mp/NOkjv1)
*** About my surgery: I was originally going to have an SLAP tear repair surgery (hence my mentioning it in my earlier, night-before video). But when he went in, my surgeon found more than he was expecting. My rotator cuff was torn, there was a ton of scar tissue, and my bicep tendon had attached itself to the cuff. He had to detach the two, plus fix the tear. The surgery was twice as long (2 hours) as it was supposed to be, and my recovery will be, too.
My experience and recovery are atypical. If you're having a straightforward rotator cuff repair (or even rotator cuff + SLAP tear repair), I think, given my own research, your recovery will be a bit different from mine. Typically, you're not quite as immobilized as I am required to be. You can carefully remove your sling a day or two post-op for passive exercises, and you can start PT much earlier. Granted, every surgeon will have slightly different rehab instructions. Be sure to follow your doctor's to a tee!