How to Survive Shoulder Surgery

Posted on June 23, 2021


arm sling

Hello my dear blogging friends. I hope you all are well. I love doing these weekly blog posts and I love hearing from you all! Mr. Ken has taken up the torch and has been entertaining you with his tales. And now I am back!

Several weeks ago I had surgery to repair a torn right rotator cuff. The surgery was more involved than originally thought so I was out of commission for several months. I had to keep my right arm in a sling and not use it for several weeks. Ouch. Try as I might, I cannot get the hang of just typing with my left hand. And forget trying to use the mouse with my left hand.

I have been busy preparing for life after surgery. It’s funny, the more people I talk to, the more people I find out had or are needing to have shoulder surgery. I thought I would pass on some tips that are helping me with my recovery.

Velcro sneakers

1. Velcro shoes.

Now I am stating the obvious here, but I can’t tie shoe laces with only one hand. But never fear, Velcro sneakers to the rescue. Granted I will not be doing intense exercise for quite some while, but at least I can now go out walking in these.

Velcro closure shirt

2. Shirts with Velcro closures.

I love these oxford shirts, they look “normal” except instead of having buttonholes, they have Velcro closures. How cool is that?


3. Headbands.

My hair is usually in a ponytail, except once again, I can’t do a ponytail with only one hand. As handy as Mr. Ken is, making a ponytail for me is beyond him. Amazon to the rescue. I will now have headbands to match every color in my wardrobe. Er, except I will be living in sweatpants for the next several weeks so it doesn’t really matter what color my headbands are.

bath brush

4. Bath brush.

This will be easier to use than trying to reach around my back.

cold gel pack
ice cubes

5. Ice, ice baby.

Gel packs and ice cubes will be my new best friends over the next several weeks. That is, second to the pain pills. Having gone through many foot surgeries recently, I am well acquainted with the “new” protocols for giving out pain pills. I completely understand that we are in an opioid addiction crisis right now, but counseling someone right after they have awoken from surgery is not the way to cure this. I remember waking up in the recovery room, nauseous and in tremendous pain. All I wanted was for the nausea and pain to go away. Instead, a nurse comes into my room and starts lecturing me about how addicting pain killers can be. At that point, I would agree to anything, as long as they gave me a pain pill.

pillows and more pillows

6. Pillow talk.

So with shoulder surgery, you can’t sleep on the affected shoulder. You can’t sleep on your back. You can’t sleep on the “good” shoulder since it may pull the stitches. Mmm, that doesn’t leave a lot of options for sleeping. It has been suggested to sleep in a recliner chair. Well, I’m not about to go out and buy and recliner so I am doing the next best thing, having a lot of pillows so I can sleep more or less upright. Plus, having pillows on my right side so I don’t accidently roll onto that side.

Come to think of it, I don’t think rolling onto my right side will be an issue since I will be in so much pain if I even think about moving to that side.

This whole experience has really made me stop and think about all I take for granted. What do you take for granted?

Ice cube image is courtesy of Steven Depolo under Creative Commons licensing 2.0.

Pillow image is courtesy of Rhett and Link under Creative Commons licensing 2.0.