Another update. I had my three-months-and-a-week follow-up with the orthopedist's P.A. I've never actually met this orthopedist, since the surgery was in AZ. I don't even know if the orthopedist here ever sees my x-rays, though I think he probably does. The P.A. told me that my bones are healing well and on schedule and that he doesn't need to see me for another two months, which will likely by my last visit with him.
I asked him about a few things:
When will I be able to travel? I use a backpack as my carry-on, so I'd need to be able to wear the backpack, which clearly puts stress on the shoulder. He thought I might be able to do this in a month, but when I added that I don't want to take any chances with my recovery, he recommended waiting until spring. I'd have liked to visit my friends in South Dakota before winter hits the northern prairie, but it looks like that's off the table now.
Am I really healing on track for full recovery one year after the accident? I have considerably more mobility than I did a month ago, but hardly any more strength at all. I thought I should have some strength back by now, three months out, if I'm to be fully recovered after a year. My physical therapist always tells me my mobility is improving, but I have almost no strength at all in that muscle. But the P.A. told me that with this kind of injury, they don't expect to see any return of strength before the three-month mark. He also said that it's at three months when the pain begins to lessen. He definitely thinks I am on track for full recovery by June of 2017, one year after the accident.
What about the bulge on my arm? He was uncertain about this. The P.T. says its a hypertrophy at the deltoid tuberosity due to the atrophy of the deltoid muscle at the proximal end. But he doesn't seem all that confident of this. I asked if there's anything I can do about it, or if I can expect it to return to normal as I continue my therapy exercises and the deltoid muscle regains strength. He said Yes, but seemed more like he was trying to make me feel better than actually expressing an opinion. The P.A. basically did the same. Unsure. Yes, it ought to get better by itself as the muscle recovers.
Can I see a plate like the one in my arm? What's it actually like? He didn't have one to show me, but he said it's about the thickness of a couple of credit cards, and curved to match the curvature of the bone. It's maybe 3 inches by 2 inches (my guesstimate of how far apart he was holding his fingers). It will stay in me for the rest of my life. It should not set off metal detectors.
In other matters, I'm off the oxycodone or nearly off it. I took none at all on Sunday and Monday, then at 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning I had to take a half a tablet (2 1/2 mg.). Wednesday and so far today I have not taken any, though I'll take another half a tablet if I wake up at night and can't get back to sleep for the withdrawal symptoms. I have pain, but not nearly as bad as a month ago. I've been smoking about 1/40 gm of pot most evenings to help me sleep. I've gone through about half the gram. Once I've shaken off the last of the withdrawal I plan on quitting the pot also. It's pleasant, but I prefer a clear head. I'm happy that it's available while I need it. I voted in favor of legalization. But I don't expect to continue using it once I'm able to sleep normally.
I'm sleeping lying down most nights, at least for most of the night. Sometimes I still have to sleep sitting up, but not often any more. Lying down, there's only one tolerable position, flat on my back with the arm straight down at my side, and that becomes uncomfortable after a while, but a month ago I could not even maintain that position for more than a couple of minutes. Lying on my side or my stomach doesn't work at all.
The weather has turned cooler. Not as pleasant for those long walks. So I'm stuck with the exercise bike, or walking on the treadmill. I tried jogging, but after about a minute the shoulder started to get sore from the movement. So walking uphill is all I can do for now on days when I cannot abide the bike. I listen to music on the bike, as I cannot focus on podcasts while cycling. On the treadmill I either watch a movie via Amazon Prime, or I listen to music while watching a nature video with the sound off. And of course I do my arm exercises.
Last summer my hiking was painful due to the hernia, which was repaired when I got home. This summer there was no hiking because of the broken arm. What will happen before next summer? I'm close to 70 years old, and my body is failing. In the absence of female companionship, life would not be worth living if I cannot hike, and kayak, etc. But I lack the courage to off myself. Maybe I'll get lucky and the next incident will kill me outright rather than just cripple me. I want to cross the glacier again with Florina. I want to return to Grizzly Lake with Charlotte. I want to stand on Saas-Fee again. I want to paddle a kayak from Makenna Landing to Molokini Island again. But two months after resuming cardio exercise, I'm still not back to my pre-accident cycling pace, and I don't know if I'll ever have the strength for those things again. I'm on the downhill slope. It's just going to get worse from here.
I think the reason the world is so messed up is that anybody with an ounce of sense kills themselves before they're 20.