My right arm was disabled by a fall while walking a dog that resulted in horrific injuries and extensive damage to my right shoulder. I had dislocated my shoulder and completely tore the four muscles around my shoulder. My daughter, Dr. Christina Lang, was in a Residency Program at WMed, and she told me about Dr. Sabesan, a shoulder and elbow specialist at WMed.
My treatment and recovery
At the time of my injury, the very talented Dr. Sabesan performed a seven hour surgery to fix the damage using an arthroscopyc rotator cuff repair. The muscle/tendon that is connected to the large deltoid muscle was so badly damaged it could not be repaired so there were still a large amount of restrictions to my movement. In spite of months of therapy I could only lift my arm & hand from my lap to a desk to sign my name or to the steering wheel to drive my car. I compensated by using my left arm for just about all of my daily activities. I shampooed my hair with my left arm and shaved under my right arm only after propping it on to the side of the tub with my left arm. I became used to a new procedure of dressing – bending from the waist down I would slip both my arms into the sleeves and use my left arm to pull the clothing over my head. I could not use the curling iron so I learned to curl my hair with rollers by propping my right elbow on a desk and leaning/manipulating my head towards my hand. I used the same technique for brushing my hair, putting on make-up and putting in my contacts. Sleeping was hit or miss depending on the pain level and horrible neck cramps. I could go on and on, but I think everyone gets the picture…talking about pictures – I was in Port Lavaca, TX for my Dad’s funeral and saw relatives I have not seen since childhood. I wanted to take picture, but could not hold a camera up high enough to focus people in.
During one of my follow up visits with Dr. Sabesan, I saw the article from West Michigan MD News that highlighted Dr. Sabesan and advances in orthopaedic surgery, including reverse shoulder arthroplasty, and I started to ask questions since I still had limitations after my original surgery. To my surprise, Dr. Sabesan said she thought I would be a candidate for the reverse shoulder arthroplasty procedure. Even though I was doubtful (because of bone condition) I decided, if Dr Sabesan thought it was possible, I was jumping on board and trusting her. Boy am I glad and blessed with the results of that decision!! I had surgery the morning of December 3rd and was home by December 4th evening. Of course I had my daughter to lean on at all times. She has been my constant companion throughout this year.
A week after surgery I began my therapy. It was unbelievable the things I could do that I could not before…just unbelievable!!
TipStick with your therapy and give it time because improvement is slow, but you do get there.
My Second FirstBecause of my orthopaedic care, I can bake, garden, and do my hair again.
- Mary Lang, reverse shoulder arthroplasty, Age 60-69 from Kalamazoo, Michigan