Time for another update:
First off, the statement that they cut the rotator cuff in order to install the plate is apparently erroneous. I've carefully read the surgeon's report, and there's no mention of any such thing, though he did suture the plate to the cuff.
The mobility of my arm is continuing to improve. The physical therapy is very painful, but I believe it's helping. Subjective experience is not scientific, but this is my subjective experience, and PT does, I think, have science on its side, or I presume my doc would not have prescribed it. For a short while he had me doing isometrics, but now I've graduated from that to isotonics, using an elastic band. The arm is still extremely weak, but I think it's improving, as I would expect it to with the exercises. Of course there are also range-of-motion stretching exercises.
I use the sling now only when I go out, and only as a precaution, except that I do need it when I take long walks as the shoulder gets very stiff and sore otherwise.
My regular doc wants me to wean myself off of the oxycodone, and we agreed on a regimen of no more than 5 pills per day that week, then no more than 4 per day the next week, and so on, until I'm off it. The pills are generic Percocet: 5 mg oxycodone with 325 mg acetaminophen, immediate release. I am ahead of schedule, taking two per day at present, in 4 half-pill doses. (The pills are scored, indicating that it's okay to split them.) I'm in almost constant moderate pain. My doc said I'd have pain for a few days each time I cut back a step. So I just need to suffer. It's not nearly as bad as it was a month ago.
Sometimes the shoulder itself hurts, but more often the pain is from a large swelling of the deltoid muscle at or slightly above the deltoid tuberosity. The physical therapist says that's caused by the stress on the muscle at the tuberosity resulting from the extreme atrophy of the muscle itself. But while he's told me why I have the swelling, he's not told me what the swelling is. Just an inflammation, or something more serious?
I've been taking one small hit of pot each day in the late afternoon or early evening to help me sleep. With an N of 1 and no blinding, there's no way to know if it's really helping, but I feel as though it is. I feel that I'm sleeping better and awakening more rested. The variety is an indica called Lilac City Lavender and is a mild, relaxing high. It's labelled THC 0.53%, THCA 17.7%, Total 16.1%, CBD <0.1%. I bought a gram and after two weeks it looks like I've used around 1/4 to 1/3 of the gram. It's mild enough that the effects are most noticeable when I sit in my easy chair and put music on. I'm quite partial to Yo Yo Ma playing the Bach unaccompanied cello works as music to accompany a pot high. The amount needed for a high is so small that a piece any smaller would fall through the hole in the water pipe. The pipe would be more suitable for the quantities we needed to smoke in the 1970's. Today's pot needs a water pipe with a smaller tube. I've thought of getting a vaporizer, but it hardly seems necessary for the tiny amount I'm smoking. That little chunk is all burned at about 1/4 of an inhale, and then I fill my lungs with room air. I don't intend to continue smoking once my arm is healed enough to sleep normally.
I'm still gaining weight. Yesterday was the first day I managed to eat my regular shredded-cabbage salad. Chewing was too difficult before. It's still kind of hard, but I managed it, and being able to fill up on salad should help me cut back on my total calorie intake. Getting off the painkillers and back to a healthier diet is now my priority, along with my PT exercises. Once I'm off the painkillers I'll be able to drive. (The doc okayed my arm for driving, once I'm off the narcotics.) That will be a great boon. I sure wish I had a self-driving car right now.
Graphic pictures of the arm, showing the atrophied shoulder and swollen arm:
My right arm. Note the lack of muscle on the shoulder and the swelling of the arm:
Left arm for comparison: Normal
The lighting is different because I just took couple of quick pics with my phone. My arms are not actually different color tones.