Post-Op Pain, Creativity, and Productivity

Seven weeks ago I underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder. I’d always heard that the pain following repair and the ensuing recovery period with physical therapy were difficult to bear, but even though I am a (retired) physician, I had no idea how much pain I’d actually experience and how completely wearing it could be. The baseline pain is a 24 hour burden, exacerbated by movement, lack of movement (yes), torturous physical therapy, and the exercises that must be done two to three times a day. The prognosis: 80% recovery in three to four months and whatever residual recovery I’ll see by six months.

Now, you might think I’m complaining about all this, but you’d be wrong. I was warned, I underwent the repair because it needed to be done, and I’ll get through the next several months whatever it takes. Not to do so would be to live with restricted mobility in my arm for the rest of my life, and that is flatly unacceptable. No, then, no pity. That’s not the purpose of this week’s missive. No, the real purpose is to discuss the effect all this has had, and is having, on creativity, productivity, and, specifically, my work on the loosely related sequel to Zendoscopy.

It’s not surprising how physical pain can sap the urge to express oneself creatively, especially when the accompanying physical limitation precludes doing much writing by longhand or typing. For weeks following surgery, I had to type by left-handed hunt and peck, and it’s only recently that I’m back to some limited two handed touch typing. Even that is limited, though, as my right arm will only tolerate so much before needing a rest. This paragraph, for example, is being written 24 hours after the preceding ones.

Last week, I got permission to restart playing the guitar, and I expect to get back to more extended writing soon. In the meantime, I’ll try to be terse and pithy in my blog entries. In that spirit, I offer the following:

  • I’m going to miss Jon Stewart.
  • Donald Trump is the poster child for what’s wrong with the Republican Party, even as the Party would like to get rid of him for revealing its true colors.
  • We must be well into summer. Look at all those criminally stupid people leaving their kids and pets locked up in broiling cars.
  • While climate change continues to manifest itself in terrifying ways, the deniers continue to do nothing about it.
  • Guns, guns, guns. While the mayhem continues, Rick Perry voices the imbecilic opinion that one partial solution would be to allow patrons to take guns into movie theatres.
  • As fuel prices are starting to come down, gas guzzler purchases will surely rise.
  • Republicans, in their opposition to all things Obama, would rather see Iran get a nuclear weapon in two months than approve an agreement that would prevent it for at least ten years.
  • Oh, and did I make the point strongly enough that I’m going to miss Jon Stewart?
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