I scheduled my shoulder manipulation procedure for the day before election day, which ended up working out great. I was so nervous about the election that it helped me not obsess on my shoulder manipulation procedure. My procedure was scheduled to take place at noon. I really don’t get that you can’t eat/drink anything after midnight no matter what time your procedure is scheduled... 6 am or 12 noon. Makes no sense. But since I am generally a rule follower, I made sure not to eat or drink anything after midnight.
After arriving at the hospital and filling out some paperwork, I was brought into the pre-op area. While the nurse gave me my cute little gown, paper booties, and cap to change into, she mentioned something about having a big needle inserted in my neck to numb my shoulder/arm. That was the first I heard about needles (besides of course the IV needle). I thought I was just going to get some mild anesthesia since there was no cutting involved and the entire procedure would only take 10-15 minutes. She immediately noticed the panicked look on my face. She told me that getting the block (the big needle) was up to me but she highly recommended it saying that it was much easier to do the manipulation this way. I think my reaction was mostly due to the fact that I was not prepared for any big needles.
While obsessing about the big needle, another nurse came in to take my blood pressure. It was extremely low. If I remember correctly now it was something like 65 or 70 over 50 with 50 being the number she was concerned about. My blood pressure is always low but never that low. I think my hunger and anxiety might have had something to do with it. She waited a few minutes and then took it a second time. It went up enough to be ok. Thank goodness. I really wanted to get this over with and did not want to have to come back another day to have it done.
The anesthesiologist came in with the big needle to give me the block, which would make my left arm and hand completely numb. He described what he would be doing and then stuck this big blunt needle slowly into my neck (into the front of my neck on the left side right by that little pocket by my collar bone) while a nurse slowly pumped liquid in though the needle. I started to feel a cold feeling move slowly down my arm. I think I remember needing to tell him when I felt it reach my fingers. He told me that pretty soon my arm would be numb. He put up the railing so that my arm would not fall off the bed and then hung a sign, which I think had something to do with my numb arm.
Now anyone who knows me knows that I am usually a big wimp when it comes to pain, but I am proud to report that the anesthesiologist told me that he was surprised at how well I did when he administered the block. He told me that when he administers the block to football players, they always handle it much worse than I did. That made me feel good.
Because my left arm was completely numb (very strange feeling) and my right arm was hooked up to the pulse ox thingy that they put on your finger, I could not reach the TV to change the channel on the TV to catch up on the election news. My bed was located right in front of "the board" where all the surgeries were listed, which meant everyone hung out in that area. I thought about using the call button or calling out to someone to ask them to change the channel for me, but they were all busy discussing how to make the schedule work since my doctor was running late and I felt pretty silly bothering them just to ask to have the channel changed. I tried to move the TV with my foot, but that didn't work either. Instead, I kept busy listening to everyone try to rework the board to accommodate my doctor who was running late. As long as my procedure was not pushed back further once he arrived (my procedure was scheduled first), I was ok. I did not want that block to wear off.
Finally, after enduring about 25 minutes of the medicare commercial and spending most of that time trying to move my arm and fingers with my mind (a very strange feeling to have your arm/hand/fingers completely numb), a nurse stopped in to give me an update on when I would be taken in. While she was there, I asked her if she could turn the channel for me.
I was much happier being able to watch the election coverage. Right before my doctor finally arrived, the breaking news that Barack Obama's grandmother passed away was announced. I fell completely apart. Tears came pouring out uncontrollably and then one minute later everyone arrived to take me away. I quickly got my act together and was whisked off. I didn’t want them all to think I was freaking out about the manipulation procedure.
As I was wheeled in to the operating room, my doctor started the manipulation procedure right away. I remember sitting part of the way up as my doctor raised my left arm slowly up towards the ceiling. I heard this cracking noise. Sort of a crack crack crack as he slowly lifted my arm (I imagine the noise was the scar tissue, adhesions, and sticky stuff breaking up). It was a very strange noise. Meanwhile the anesthesiologist was putting something in my IV and telling me that I should be feeling something very soon. As my doctor continued to move my arm in different directions, I distinctly remember telling the anesthesiologist that the anesthesia was not working and that was the last thing I remember.
The next thing I remember was waking up with a not so friendly nurse sitting next to me. She seemed to have one goal and that was to move me out of there as soon as possible. She brought me some guava juice and graham crackers and then told me to get dressed. My left arm felt like a dead weight. She had to help me with my clothes and then put my arm in a sling. Everyone else was so kind. I guess my luck ran out when I went to the post-op area. My guess was that because my doctor was late and all of his surgeries got backed up, she needed to keep things moving, but still, she could have been a little more friendly.
I was instructed to keep my arm in my sling until the block wore off. When the block started wearing off, the intense pain began. I didn’t feel pain in my shoulder as much as in my arm and hand. It felt like an intense pins and needles feeling that you get when your foot wakes up after going to sleep. I took my percocet and slept for a few hours. I woke up in time for the 6 o’clock news. There was a lot of news on Obama's grandmother. More tears.
I slept well that night, waking only once (but that was my usual election anxiety...check the news, check the internet sites, and then go back to sleep). The amount of pain I felt the following morning was pretty much the same as before the manipulation procedure. The only pain pill I took so far was when the block first wore off.
PT ended up being very painful that first session, but they were less and less painful as the sessions went on and I almost ended up with full range of motion by the end of therapy.
For more information on Frozen Shoulder - check out this website.