Friday, February 12, 2016

Cold Shoulder

"Here I'll stand and here I'll...
son of a BITCH that hurts!"
In late November I noticed a twinge in my right shoulder. I chalked it up to sympathy pains for my cat with the broken hips. I didn't think about it too much until mid-December when a game of catch with my nephew had me seeing stars. By New Years, JB was so tired of listening to my ouch-ing, he begged me to see a doctor.

So I googled "shoulder pain" and diagnosed myself with tendonitis. I just needed to baby it for a while and it would get better. But it didn't get better. By mid-January I could no longer consider myself a "righty" and had to start training my left arm to pick up the slack. Unable to reach my back pocket, I had to move my wallet to the left side and my potty training progress had been set back 47 years.

Cold weather spells were making me hesitant to go outside. The cold didn't bother my shoulder, but the thought of having to put my coat on then take it off again made me shudder. I could always ask JB for help getting dressed, but I knew from experience that would just lead to more doctor nagging. I found myself wondering if I could pull off a cape. Fashion-wise that is.

On Groundhog Day I was doing laundry and while the motion of ironing didn't bother my shoulder, I accidentally touched my wrist to the hot iron. The burn was minor but I still instinctively jerked my hand away. I could hear my shoulder crunch and the pain was so intense I got tunnel vision and sank to my knees.

It was finally time to stop clicking the WebMD guy's shoulder and go see a real doctor. My primary care doc, Doctor Doogie, said he suspected arthritis and referred me to a specialist. That's how I found myself last week in Doctor Neckhair's office. He was nice. He said my x-rays showed no signs of arthritis, which was good news. After Doctor Neckhair had me wave my hands in the air he told me I had "adhesive capsulitis", commonly known as Frozen Shoulder. Once again WebMD failed me.

I'd never heard of Frozen Shoulder. Google returns 4.9 million results, but I'm not sure how helpful any of them are. The gist is that, while the condition may be painful and debilitating, it's almost always temporary and resolves on its own over time. The kicker is that time – on average – is 2 years. Years. If that weren't depressing enough, the vast majority of those suffering from idiopathic adhesive capsulitis are post-menopausal women. So there's that.

Doctor Neckhair gave me a cortisone shot and I begin physical therapy this week.

I'm somewhere between the "unamused face" and "anguished face" emojis.


  1. Poor guy. I've been to PT for shoulder stuff - and it's not horrible, though I did avoid the cortisone shot....which in itself sounded painful. But you prove what I say all the time of men in the U.S when it comes to healthcare: "maybe it will go away".

  2. So sorry to read that. I hope your shoulder feels better soon.

  3. Well, in a way you were right, in that it will eventually go away. I have nothing against cortisone shots, and don't find them near as painful as other people (my own mother included) fear or actually do. However, give me opiates, too.