Monday, September 29, 2008

Shoulder Surgery: 101

June 18th had all 
the elements for the perfect day, I was at Oh Be Joyfull creek in Crested Butte Colorado, the weather was great, the water was high, and I had no plans but to lap OBJ multiple times. I had just finished my sophmore year of college, drivin 22 hours to Colorado, and was paddling with my best friends in one of the prettiest places I had ever been. Putting on that morning I could tell the group was a bit intimidated by the high water, but after hiking my boat all the way up from camp and waiting a few hours on logisitical shit I was more then anxcious to get in the boat.

Right off the bat, first rapid, we had a skirt blow, and I remember being a bit annoyed that someone would go high water creek boating in a skirt that couldent of cost more then 90 dollars. After just a few drops I remember Adam Goshorn giving me a look which I knew ment, look out for eachother the water is alot higher then we expected and we might want to consider getting out of here. I knew the water would only be getting higher so moving fast toward the bottom was fine with me, but on the other hand I didnt want to leave the threesom.

That would be the last eddy I would catch with all my fully intact, fully functional 19 year old body. I pealed out and charged the "meadow rapid" which led into an S turn rapid into a big slide. When i dropped in to the slide I noticed to girls with cameras atop the left cliff wall, I wondered what a picture of myself would like at that time. I knew i was left of the piton rock so I had very little worry about the slide. Coming through the hole at the bottom I realized things werent right, I went to set up for a right side roll and nothing hppened, I was extremely confused. For the first time I called upon my body to take action and nothing happened. Still clueless to what had happened i took an underwater stroke with my right arm and rolled up in the river right eddy. I can remember asking Adam as he reduced my shoulder how long he thought I would be out. Perhaps a day or two? Way off. 36 hours later I would be on a plane headed to Nashville, only to lay on the couch for then next few days, while my friends continued there tour of the west.

Since shoulder dislocations are common in kayaking I decided to take advice from friends rather than go to the hospital. I knew that my shoulder would never be the same if I didnt have surgery but that it would heal back and be pretty strong eventually. I took about 4-5 weeks off from any kayaking, and slowly worked on it until it felt strong and I had a full range of motion. As far as I could see my shoulder was healing great, it was almost as strong as it ever was, my motion was full, and pain was minimal. I did alot of flatwater and sprint workouts on the Ocoee and the Nantahala.

By September 1st it was time to start concentrating on the Green race. Doing well in the Green race was my biggest goal of the year. I finally got my green race boat and was excited to start training hard and making the 4 hour drive to Asheville every weekend.

Semtember 2nd, 2008 everything changed, on a race lap on the green training with Chris Mccoy, Warren, and Matt Saul I came through the slot at Go left and Die with my paddle and shoulders completely twisted causing my shoulder to dislocate again. A group of 15 worked on it on the river right bank below go left, all being unsuccessfull. This time the pain was triple the last dislocation, I had never experienced pain like this. It hurt so bad that projectile vomited on some pour soul. I still dont know whether the physicall pain or the pain of knowing that I wouldent be racing this year much less paddling for the next 6 months. This time I had to go to the hospital and get my shoulder set correctly. The doctor did not hesitate to remind me of the long recovery process to come.

September 3rd, 4th, 5th: Alot of couch laying and feeling sorry for myself. First experience with strong pain medicine. Shoulder would shift once or twice a day, being extremely painfull.

September 6th: Got a referrell from Terry Smith to see Dr. Chambless who was a team orthopedic doctor for the Atlanta Olympics. Dr. Chambless went over the options with my shoulder and assured me that surgery was most definitely needed if I wanted to continue kayaking. I was looking at 3-4 months till flatwater and 6-9 months until whitewater.

September 7th: Call Mom and Dad to go over billing. No fun at all.

September 8th: Visit imaging center to have ink injected into my shoulder so that it could be better seen in the MRI machine. This is a pretty painful ordeal. They try to tell you that its not to bad but expect to be sore for 2-3 days.

September 11th: Back to see Dr. Chambless to discuss the MRI results and schedule the surgery. Unfortunately I had one of the worse shoulders of all the kayakers he had seen. My labrum was completely torn would require four incisions during the surgery. Basically clamps would be placed around the shoulder joint causing the ligaments to heal exactly in the right spot. With out the surgery, the shoulder would heal in a loose position, leading to a lifetime of shouler dislocations.

September 26th: 7 am reported to the Chattanooga Surgery Center. I was pretty nervous, but more just anxious to get the whole thing done with and start healing. After you get all hooked up to your IV's and answer about 2000 questions they start throwing all different things in your IV, each injection felt like I just slammed 10 shots of tequila, until I was so sedated that I hardly knew where I was. Next thing I knew I woke up sitting up in a bed with ice taped to my shoulder and my arm in a sling. Surprisingly I was in no pain what so ever. I was still extremely out of it and apparently made inappropriate remarks to the nurses. On top of the fact that I apparently woke up mid surgery and told the doctors to get the F@*& off me. I dont really recall leaving the surgery center or any more of that day really.

September 27th: Woke up after a miserable night sleep and took 2 5mg oxycodones. I was prescribed 25 50 mg and 25 5 mg. The first thing I tried to do was try to check my e meprozines mail on my lap top and I re oxycodones member not being able to read the words on the screen so I decided I should just go ahead and go back to sleep. I slept most of the day with moderate pain, but was really out of it all day

September 28th: I felt pretty good, took my first shower since the surgery, and tried to cut back on the pain meds since I had been taking them every 4 hours straight since the surgery. Overall the pain was a bit less then the second dislocation but far more then the first.

September 29th: Attempted to go class, which was pretty useless since I starred at the wall the entire class. Pain increased a bit more, mostly just discomfort and irritation from the wounds. Called and made my follow up appointment.

Hope this gives you some idea of the shoulder surgery process, check back for a rehab update, check out LVM 27 for footage from the Colorado trip, or you could watch this youtube video,