Shoulder Surgery – 17 weeks in

Light barbell weights

Light bar bell weights - For shoulder surgery patients you should be staying under 5 lbs during aerobics to avoid injury.

Last time I updated you on my shoulder surgery (recovery from right shoulder Open Bankart Surgery), I told you my insurance company cut off my physical therapy visits citing near complete relief of symptoms. I checked with my surgeon and he told me to wait until my visit today when we could evaluate the situation. He ran me through a range of motion test (upward reach, behind back reach, outward reach, and outward rotation). He agreed my outward motion was about only 90% recovered, but because there was no pain in full assisted extension he let me know that is okay. He thus told me that my shoulder was both stabilized and 100% healed from surgery.

My surgeon told I can come back if I have any other issues, but otherwise no follow up visit is needed. He also noted since my left arm had gone without dislocation for over two months it too was healed. He did check my left arm’s range motion and let me know surgery would not help in that situation as there was no actual loss of stability or permanent tear in the tissue.

Instead he recommended I join a gym or start doing light aerobics with light weight lifting on both arms. He noted that using the same exercises at PT on both shoulders would long term strengthen and stabilize the joint. Motions should be inward in nature and kept under five pounds during work outs. He advised against heavy weight training and any exercises that would increase elasticity in the muscle. He said my condition was genetic in nature and quite common as far as joint structure defects go. Other than that, I am officially recovered. I’m about ten weeks ahead of schedule and more fully healed than was expected. Both items are good news and it looks like in the long term I made the right decision– though I won’t lie that first month was horrible.

This ends my log of shoulder surgery recovery. I know many of you have been checking in and reading. I hope for those of you going through shoulder surgery this helped you understand what to both expect and what you have to look forward to. Many Open Bankart surgery patients need up to six months to fully heal (that’s 27 weeks) and in my case I had a quick recovery. If you’re not healing as quickly as I did do not get discouraged. You will see the same results, but I will tell you my secret was never giving up on PT and always working through intense pain. This is the only way you will ever recover.


Shoulder Surgery – 11 weeks in

Upward Strength Training - Courtesy

Upward Strength Training - Courtesy

In my last post I recounted my continued progress towards being allowed to begin strength training some ten weeks away from Open Bankart Surgery on my right shoulder. This past week started off continuing those efforts and climaxed with my visit to my orthopedic surgeon yesterday afternoon (1/4/10). During that visit he checked both my upward and outward ranged. He was pleased I met both my goals (180 degrees inward and 30 degrees outward). With that, he lifted all previous limitations on my physical therapy with an updated prescription.

When I went to the my PT session later that day I was told we would begin strength training. I was told to drop the inward movement exercises (the pendulums and isometrics), as well as, the shoulder shrugs in favor of more intense exercise. With that we began with the normal massages. Since I could now (as of this week) lay on my stomach we also did a lot of back work on my right shoulder blade. The therapist was finally able to get to a spot along the inner ridge of my right shoulder blade that has been sore for sometime, but unable to be treated with full force. That of course changed with my ability to lay face down. We then had me lay flat on my back. I had to with both arms reach upward over my head holding a cane with both hands. This worked my upward motion and strength. We then stretched my arm upward to its limit. We then did upward and outward stretching. The therapist also ran me through a battery of outward motion stretches that literally pushed my arms to its limits. I then did the pulley with an outward motion. I then did scapular crunches against the wall with a towel between my shoulder blades. Finally I laid on my left side and did arm lifts away from body outward. I was pretty fatigued by the end of it, but not as sore as I thought I might be. I did not get either heat or ice. Again, we’re weaning me off those comforts.

I’ve been told the next six weeks will focus on additional outward flexibility and overall strengthening of my arm. I’m pretty excited to move forward onto new exercises and ultimately even closer to normality.


DF Pirate Radio – Cliffnotes (2009 Season)

Cliff Notes – 2009 Season

* The latest edition to the digitalflood Pirate Radio arsenal for 2009 is a new M-Audio XSession Pro MIDI controller, which when coupled with Atomix Virtual DJ allows DJ digitalflood to mix music in real time seamlessly during live mix recorded sessions. Take a listen and see if you can hear the difference?

* Literally an hour before recording “Oi Vai, This Ain’t Kosher (Vol. 5 Episode 2)” of DF Pirate Radio, DJ digitalflood dislocated his left shoulder. DJ digitalflood had been recovering from shoulder surgery on his right shoulder and this left his collar bone imbalanced. The result is his other shoulder popped out and left DJ digitalflood in some major discomfort all of an hour before recording was to begin. Nevertheless, DJ digitalflood and Reverend Damian Baker recorded the show (albeit at a slower pace). You cannot even tell what happened and indeed this only proves the dedication the cast has to the show.

* Reverend Damian Baker is really converting to Judaism. The good Reverend has previously grown up Roman Catholic, became Methodist as a young adult, and had family who was Presbyterian. He’d spent the last few years as a Unitarian Christian before deciding to seek a Rabbi and proceed down the path of Judaism. Reverend Baker spent his early college career studying Christianity and was actively looking into becoming a Protestant Minister. That was about the time he met DJ digitalflood at SUNY Orange (circa 1996) where they were both members of the WOCC Radio Club and deejayed on the station.

* M’Weezy is really studying to become a Registered Nurse and in her second year at college. This makes her availability spotty during the course of this Pirate Radio season (Volume 5) as classes continue to intensify and take up more of her free time.

* Groucho really did get MC Mary @ The Disco! with a static shock on her butt during the recording of “The Groucho That Stole Christmas” and no– DJ digitalflood didn’t teach him how to do it.

* DJ digitalflood’s house is pretty small. It has two floors comprised of approximately 500 square feet. The first floor is where Pirate Radio is recorded during seasons four and five. The floor plan is fairly open allowing audience guests to sit in the living room and watch the radio show be recorded in the computer area. Other times guests sit over by the dining room table, which is on the other side of the recording area. The kitchen is just beyond the dining room and as pointed out by MC Mary @ The Disco! has a rather slippery waxed surface.

* Just prior to recording this season, Sheeva passed away of terminal lung cancer in the Spring of 2009. DJ digitalflood dedicated “The Beat Feast 2009 Redux (Vol. 5 Episode 3)” to her memory.

* 2009 marked ten years of and 2010 marks five years of Pirate Radio (there have been six seasons, but one was only an episode long– in 2007 DJ digitalflood went on hiatus to get married and have a kid hence the one episode season). This season DJ digitalflood did a lot of reflection on his DJ and audio production experiences that lead up to this milestone. “The Slighty Unpleasant Dream After Hanukkah (Vol. 5 Episode 4)” is a nod to DJ digitalflood’s exposure to the underground goth and industrial club scene, which molded much of his remix sensibilities early on. Meanwhile the “flAnneljAm: After Dark (Vol. 5 Episode 5)” is a nod to his early deejay and radio production education during his college years. Each was important in shaping DJ digitalflood’s Pirate Radio show and arguably without those influences the show would not exist today.

* digitalflood Pirate Radio is still produced on the same computer used when the show started in 2004. Last year additional memory was added. This year the main hard drive failed and had to be replaced. Otherwise, the computer system is nearly the same as it was in 2004. Regardless of this, overall audio production quality has noticeably improved thanks to updated software production applications and additional new recording equipment, as well as, an overall improvement in production techniques used by DJ digitalflood himself.


Shoulder Surgery – 9 weeks in

Shoulder Electrical Stimulation - For the record that isn't my shoulder.

Shoulder Electrical Stimulation - For the record that isn't my shoulder. I'm not that old (yet)!

Since last post my right shoulder has continued to be stable. Recovery wise there’s not much physical changes that take place during week nine. The important thing is the shoulder is becoming stronger. It’s easier to lift things. Easier to open doors and jars. Overall just easier to live life normally. My biggest example of recovery came with a large snow storm that rolled through on 12/19/09. The storm dumped about eight inches of snow on the ground. I managed to shovel my 10′ x 100′ driveway, as well as, the large area around my house where we park our cars without issue. It took me a bit over two hours, but aside from some soreness in my left shoulder there were no ill effects. I was careful with lifting and made sure to lift at the knees. I also bore most of the half shovel full loads of snow on my left arm. Still, even my physical therapist said this is an excellent sign. I do notice if my arm vibrates or it is shaken the bone is still sore, but I can say that it does take both force and sharp movement to make it happen. Again, normally it feels pretty good (less than a two out of ten in pain) 90% of the time.

My upward rotation is around 175 degrees and near full motion. Oddly I can lift my arm to this position laying down or standing up without issue. When the therapist does it though I seem to subconsciously tighten up and limit my motion to sub-160 degree levels. I talked with both the therapist and chiropractor about this– they agree it’s either a physiological thing (and believe me one I try to overcome it) or because of the angle they move it at (there may still be a rough spot in the humerus at that point where it rotates). Either way though, I’m around 98% recovered in the forward and back range of motion. We continue to work on outward motion as well.

The therapist has begun weaning me off both the heating pad warm up portion of PT and cool down electrical stimulation portion of PT. We still ice at the end for fifteen minutes though. The worry is that I obviously won’t be doing e-stim after PT ends and that you don’t normally warm up your arm with heat before using it. So every other session we skip heat or e-stim (rotating what we skip).

I continue to experience minor problems with my left arm though that even seems a bit better. I find doing my at home PT in the shower is helping to stretch out the joint and keep my shoulders balanced. Overall though I’d say even the left arm is about 10% better than last week.


Shoulder Surgery – 8 weeks in

Arm Pulley PT - Not as painful as it looks.

Arm Pulley PT - Not as painful as it looks. Trust me.

Last time I talked about the ever closer road of normalization as I continue my recovery from Open Bankart Surgery on my right shoulder. I would say this week has been much of the same. I am eight weeks away from surgery and six weeks into physical therapy (PT). There has been no major change in my physical condition overall since my last post. My left shoulder continues to experience minor dislocations and is now in more pain than my right. This is because right now my right shoulder has little to no pain 90% of the time.

My range of motion is still limited in that I cannot reach outward above my shoulder, lift or pull more than ten pounds, or partake in strenuous physical activity such as sports or heavy housework. Overall though I’m able to do about 80% of what I did living with my shoulder in constant danger of location. The difference is there has been no indication the right shoulder would dislocate and that is a major improvement. It’s in there pretty good indeed.

Otherwise the week has been pretty much plateau in nature. I made no more forward progress beyond 170 upward and 30 degrees outward. Nevertheless after being examined by the PT’s office chiropractor I was pronounced fit to proceed with light physical exercise and told that I’m recovering very well considering the extent of the surgery. He also altered my routine a bit. Now they do the shoulder massage, apply heat, and then let me do scapular crunches against a wall with a balled up towel in the middle of my back. I also so a free arm pulley to lift my right arm upward and perpendicular to my collar bone. Each of these is for ten times. I then walk the wall ten times with my arm again to stretch it upward. Then it is twenty circular pendulums in each direction, twenty side to side pendulums, ten shoulder shrugs, ten forward and reverse shoulder rolls, ten bicep curls, ten elbow circles in each direction, and then three 15 second neck stretches to each shoulder. I actually get done with the whole thing in about ten minutes. It’s actually pretty painless and I feel good afterward. They then ice me while applying electrical stimulation.

I also do this routine once a day at home while in the shower in the morning in addition to my three times per week during PT.

I am now through my second full week of work. There has been no issue with that. I do notice my shoulder does bother me in the extreme cold (sub-twenty degree temperatures) and my regular PT therapist says that is typical.

Otherwise no news for once is good news.