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9:20am on Monday, 12th September, 2005:

Shoulder Trouble


Put your hands behind your back. Does it hurt?

It hurts me when I do it.

It's my right shoulder.

Several years ago, I went to San Francisco from the UK for one day only. Because it was only one day, I didn't take out any health insurance. Needless to say, I was running down a staircase at one point and suddenly felt a click in my foot that developed into a sustained pain. My ankle swelled up alarmingly, but of course I couldn't get it seen to without risking bankruptcy. Two days later, I finally got it examined by a doctor about it in Colchester General Hospital's out patients. He took an X-ray, and told me a tendon had snapped. Six weeks to heal, minumum.

The pain I have in my shoulder is that exact same pain. I can even feel it clicking sometimes, like my foot did.

I think it happened a month or so ago, when I was disposing of an old carpet. I haven't been to the doctor with it (what's he going to do, put my shoulder in a sling?), but I don't think it's getting any better. I'm fine, so long as I don't move my arm in particular ways, these being stretching movements (such as paying for parking or bridge tolls out of my car window) or anterior movements (such as putting my hand behind my back). Consciously avoiding these as much as possible, I end up getting a pain maybe once an hour.

When I do get the pain, though, it can be very aggravating. It doesn't stop when I move my arm back to an erstwhile painless position, it just keeps on ripping at me. I assume this is because the tendon end is not where it should be. On a couple of occasions, I've managed to massage it back (click), but only through good luck. I've found that if I bend my arm so that my hand touches the shoulder, that can relieve it, too.

The worst time is when I wake up in the morning. It always, always hurts. I don't know why this is — I do wake up if it starts giving me gyp while I'm asleep — but it happens. It's not a very pleasant way to start the day...

Still, I can look on the bright side: I've now learned to put my shirts and jackets on left-arm-first, which was previously beyond my capabilities (I'll explain sometime). I can still drive, I can still type (you noticed, huh?) and I can still use a knife and fork. I'm getting some nasty twinges in my forearm and the back of my hand of late, but I attribute this to too much (re)playing of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn — I adore that game. I thought I might have snapped a second tendon, by putting my arm into positions it's not used to so as to avoid getting pain from the first one, but it doesn't seem likely.

It's going to take more than six weeks to heal, though.

Referenced by Inflamed.

Referenced by Going Long.

Referenced by Appointments.

Referenced by Shoulder Update.

Referenced by Arm Latest.

Referenced by Unshouldered Burden.

Referenced by Two Little Ducks.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).