Rip, tear, stab

Several years ago I tore my left rotator cuff. And now, apparently, I have torn the right one. To be precise I have torn my supraspinatus muscle. Basically that means it hurts when I move my arm in certain directions. Generally only a 0.5 to 1/10 on the pain scale. You forget pain sometimes and sometimes you don't and sometimes you move it in a direction it doesn't want to go and the pain goes up to a 4 or 5/10.

"How did I do it?" I hear nobody asking. Well I'll tell you. I first tore my right rotator cuff while sitting on the toilet. Yes. The toilet. Please stop giggling and let me finish. I was sitting on the toilet and I was out of toilet paper. And I had to reach up and back to get some. And I said ouch, good golly that smarts. I didn't tear it. I had just annoyed it.

So. Yes. My painful shoulder started as a toilet-related accident.

Fast forward a month. And I'm sleeping soundly. And I roll over onto my shoulder. And I abruptly woke up. I said words. I said loud words. I used, shall we say, more colourful metaphors. I jumped out of bed in total searing pain. I could not easily go back to sleep. (And, now that I think about it, I haven't slept well since).

The "Tom's been bad and I'm waiting for physio" face.

The "Tom's been bad and I'm waiting for physio" face.

So. To recap. I injured my rotator cuff on the toilet and I tore my rotator cuff while sleeping.

I'm such an elite athlete.

My shoulder isn't going to repair itself, so off to physiotherapy I go.

Physiotherapy is fun. In the same way as <insert something that you think is not fun because I have no creatively at the moment> is. OK. It's not fun. But it does make my shoulder feel better.


Our first meeting she tests me and pulls me and pushes me.

"Resist me when I push down". I resist. She says "No resist me". I say "i am". She says "oh," and types copious notes into the computer. 

Apparently I have lost a little more strength than I had thought. Well. Actually. Almost all strength is lost. Oh bother. This will take some time (and some money) to fix. Oh double bother.

Needles and attachments. Oh. My.

Needles and attachments. Oh. My.

It's been several weeks and now we are still in the repair and loosen phase of physio. We start each session with a good dose of massage and stretching and massage and stretching. Then, after that bit comes my favourite bit: acupuncture with electronic stimulation. 

She inserts four tiny needles into my skin. I feel a little prick but once they are in I don't even notice they are there. Then she attaches little clips to each needle and then attaches a battery pack to the clips. Then she slowly turns the power on. Presently I'm on 5 out of 10 on one of the needles and 3 on the others. The higher the number the more power. The power cycles on and off. On and off. On and off. For 10 minutes.

If you'd like to see what it does, I'll just leave you with the video below. Sorry about the shakiness, but I am quite literally being shocked. Oh. Sure. It's just a small battery pack but its a battery pack attached to needles that are in my skin.

Pull to the Shoulder

I'm getting old. I know that. And as I always say getting older beats the alternative. But what I don't like about getting older is that various parts of me are now starting to fall apart.

Case in point: my shoulder. I'm not sure what I did to it or when I did it but I somehow pulled it. Had I pulled it while pushing a car or lifting a safe or trying to bench press 200 lbs it wouldn't bug me as much as a sore shoulder that just sort of showed up. I'm certain I did something, said "ow", continued on, and completely forgot about it. But here I am some two months later in pain.

My doctor thinks that it is tendinitis. My physiotherapist thinks that it is "frozen shoulder". Yes, that really is a thing. So I'm now I've done ultrasound to shed some light on the subject and to see who is right.

At this point all that I know is that my shoulder hurts. I have only 120 degrees of movement (as opposed to the normal 180). And I want the pain to go away.

So physiotherapy it is. Physiotherapy and hope that ultrasound doesn't find much other than "you pulled something." Though the ultrasound tech did seem to be marking a whole lot of stuff as he went along. :/

I'll keep you informed.

Taking a Smoke Break

I've been a smoker for 15 years. I love most things about it. I love the ritual. The forced break time. The social aspect of it. I love the stress relief that it gives me. I love the punctuation mark it puts on most everything.

I love most everything about smoking except what it does to my lungs and to my body.

I've quit smoking at least 5 times and over the years I've learned a couple of things. First, I'm not addicted to the nicotine, so much a the ritual. Quitting for me is very easy. I just have to decide I want to do it and I'm done. I may have a slight headache for the first couple of days, but that's it. That is both a curse and a blessing. Knowing that you can quit at any time makes it a lot harder to actually stop. But when I actually decide that I want to stop, there are no problems.

Second, I really miss it when I stop. It is a habit that I have not found any replacement for. None. And don't bother suggesting something. I've, probably, already tried it.

Third my lungs really hate me when I smoke to much. I know it's time for me to quit when I start barking and hacking like a seal in heat.

And that is precisely what I was doing three weeks ago when I quit smoking again.

So what do I know for sure? I know that I won't be having a smoke today, or tomorrow, or next week, or even next month. Beyond that I'm not sure. I will always be a smoker, but I won't always smoke. This happens to be a period where I'm choosing not to smoke.

I'm not a militant anti-smoker. I get why people smoke and why they continue to smoke. I get why they stop smoking and I understand why they start.

So I don't say i'm done with smoking for good… I simply say I'm taking a smoke break.