Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to heal

I got to stop by CFD yesterday, and it was so amazing!  I didn't stay for a very long time, just enough to say hi to a bunch of people and show off my shoulder and how it's hooked up to a bunch of electrodes, so I can make it twitch.

Seeing all the lovely active sweaty people made me realise I need to stop sulking about being a one-armed wonder and start living the "wonder" part while making the "one-armed" part as short and impermanent as possible.  So here's my game plan.  Some of these points I'm already following; others I'm going to start incorporating.  As always, any and all comments and suggestions are welcome!

With a few exceptions that I'll note below, I'm going strict paleo until I'm healed enough to use my arm again.  The reasoning is pretty simple: it promotes reduction/avoidance of inflammation, which in turn helps avoid infection and speeds healing.  I've also been using an ice pack and occasional doses of ibuprofen, as my shoulder still seems to me to be a little swollen (no redness, oozing or other signs of infection, though).

I've also been keeping half an eye on portions, though I'm not actually counting calories.  Reason is that I know my BMR is about 1500 cals/day when I don't factor in any activity, and I haven't been very active at all lately.  This isn't too much of an issue, since the sudden and dramatic decrease in exercise and activity means my appetite dropped to almost nil.  However, I do tend to binge-eat when I'm bored, and ennui has been the main emotion of late.  The times I have caved, I've kept it pretty paleo, though, so that's a semi-victory.  A better fix is finding something to erase the boredom, and I'm working on that.

My exceptions to the paleo rule are mostly driven by the fact that I'll be staying with my godparents for a couple weeks while my parents are on vaycay and I'm still pretty helpless.  They keep chickens in their backyard!  I'm also expecting to encounter

  • delicious homemade fermented things (like sauerkraut, not beer), as well as
  • happy milk!  that is, not all cooked and nastified, just as pure as Bessie intended (wink wink)
In addition, I'm fully planning to deviate from strictitude when I just want some goddammn chocolate already.

So far, this has consisted of one leisurely two-mile stroll around the neighborhood a few days ago.  I attempted some squats and one-arm push-ups against the arm of the couch the same day, but I was still pretty shaky from the meds and it didn't work out very well.  Since then, however, I've focused on cutting down severely on the meds, and I think I'm finally close enough to myself again to attempt another try.  Besides walking, which I intend to do at least once a day, I've come up with
  • squats
  • pistols, once I'm up for it
  • one-armed push-ups off the wall or the arm of the couch
  • side plank holds
  • front one-armed plank holds, once I'm up for it
  • sit-ups
  • one-armed kettlebell stuff
As soon as I can do more than just slow controlled movements (I don't know how long that'll be), I'll start working bouts of slow running into my walks, preferably barefoot, as well as jumps onto low objects, like stairs.  At the moment, any movement that causes me to tense up my body and thus my shoulder involuntarily or quickly is fairly painful.

For my right arm: officially I'm still not supposed to take it out of the sling unless I'm showering or doing the only prescribed exercises, which consist of straightening my elbow and bending my wrist, 20 reps at a time, 3 times a day.  I've been taking it out of the sling and letting it rest on  a pillow in my lap as much as I can, working my wrist and hand, as well as bending and straightening my arm when I'm standing with it hanging by my side.  There's little to no pain associated with these movements, or with slow isolated shrugs (of which I'm still doing VERY few, just to be safe), mostly just joint stiffness.  I'm pretty worried (read: totally paranoid) about losing muscle mass, though, so in my eyes it looks like my arm's already transformed into this shrunken blobby thing from a week of disuse.  Meh.

Like I've mentioned before, I'm been prescribed some pretty serious meds for the pain, which all the doctors told me numerous times was going to be quite considerable.  The first several days it was bad enough that I was popping pills like a toddler eating jelly beans off the floor of a movie theater.  Side effects included being awake for like 4 hours a day, not wanting to eat anything at ALL and getting seriously backed up in the ol' GI department (tmi, sorry!  but something you should definitely be aware of if you ever have to take these), as well as being super shaky and out of it whenever I was awake.  Now the discomfort has shrunk to more manageable levels, so I'm trying to do without the scrips as much as possible, relying more on ibuprofen or my handy dandy shoulder electrifier during the day, then taking meds at night if I need the help to get comfortable enough to sleep.  

To help with the anti-inflammation, I'm taking between 6 and 9 capsules of fish oil every day.  I'm also drinking a couple glasses of Metamucil+water and at least 4 6-oz cups of fully caffeinated coffee every day to help combat the aforementioned particularly unfortunate side effect, and it is totally working.  The more you know...

At this point I'm just trying to get back into a normal awake-during-daylight-hours schedule, and get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep at night.  But sometimes naps are an awesome way to pass the time.

So there you have it!  My genius plan to take over the world be a total badass again as soon as possible.  What do you guys think?  

PS:  Here's me being extremely pouty a day or two after the surgery:

...and here's me right after I was finally able to take a SHOWER!  And put on REAL CLOTHES!  And a BRA!  I tell ya, bathing never felt so good.

(btw yes I know my clothes don't match at all.  it was the first thing I could put on after over 72 straight hours of that damn hospital gown, and I wanted some COLOR!)



  1. GAH. I haven't been here in so long that I totally had NO IDEA that you were getting surgery! Oy. Well I think your attitude is AWESOME and that you'll get through this with flying colors.

  2. that arm cast looks suspiciously fake...hmmm *sends private investigators

  3. hey nelly! what is "paleo"??
    -cousin beca

  4. Joanne: No worries, it was a pretty quick decision. And thank you! A good mood makes you heal faster :)

    Finn: I'm gonna take lurid pics of my scars JUST FOR YOU.

    Beca: Ohhhh my goodness. I'll send you a message on FB with some literature to start you out ;P

  5. ok, i'll resist googling it then! ps- i miss you lady!