Pain, agony accompany shoulder surgery

Let the whining begin.

By the time you read this I will have gone under the knife. Well, actually under the scope is more accurate. Back in May, I discovered that if you visit enough surgeons you’ll finally find one eager to perform a procedure on whatever hurts, a shoulder in this case, the left one — not the one I use to cast a fly into treetops.

I probably would have put off what had begun to appear inevitable a bit longer had it not been for a major inconvenience. I thought I was coping admirably with the occasional twinge of pain. I just gritted my teeth and muddled through whenever I did something like raise my camera over my head to get an elevated perspective of a farmer in a cotton field. And I just put an ice pack on the offending shoulder following long drives from Denton to the Texas outback.

And I adjusted to household duties by using lightweight frying pans and relying on pizza delivery a bit more than usual (or is healthy).

But a devastating loss convinced me that I needed to have the shoulder repaired. I was fishing recently in my favorite trout habitat and had, somehow, miraculously hooked a nice rainbow. I was skillfully playing him through the swift current, around rocks and other obstructions, and gradually tiring him to the point that he would come to the net, which I held in my left arm, the one with the balky shoulder. When I had maneuvered the fish near enough to grab, I stuck my arm out as far as I could, lowered the net into the water, lifted the rod tip, and gently pulled the fish in. As I was lifting the glistening rainbow out of the water, a spasm hit, my arm dipped, and the fish threw the hook and tumbled into the water. There went dinner.

There also went any notion that I could put this off any longer. One can tolerate only so much inconvenience.

The doctor says this will be a relatively easy procedure — easy for him since he’s the one with the knife and I’m the one being sliced. It’s supposed to go something like this (or has by now): The skilled surgeon takes a tiny Black and Decker power drill, equipped with an even tinier movie camera, and pokes a hole into my shoulder where he finds the offending spur and grinds it off. He backs the drill out, swabs some iodine or other miracle medicine on the hole, and sends me to recovery where I wake up wondering what happened to the last hour or so.

He puts me in a sling and sends me home, equipped with a basket of pain killers to take the edge off what I’m told will be nothing less than pure agony. I’ll get back to you on that.

Recovery, the doctor says, will be rapid. I should be fishing within two weeks and back to work by November.

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