The orthopedist gave me exercises to do in order to regain a range of motion for my shoulder that has been strapped in an immobilizer for three weeks.
These are well-thought out exercises, and they all share a common basis which is: I do not move my injured right arm by itself. My injured right arm leans on my good left arm, and my good left arm moves my right arm.
The first exercise is called Circles. I take my injured right arm by the wrist with my left hand, and I gently move my left arm in circles, and the right arm follows. The idea is that the circles can get wider and wider.
I am amazed at both how well my right arm can move and how little it can. But by itself, of its own volition, the right arm cannot move the way it can when the left hand pulls it. By itself, the right arm is a lifeless thing that hangs on my side.
The second exercise is called the Piston. Again, my good left arm moves the right arm front and back.
The third exercise is called the Cane. I take a broom handle actually, put both hands on it in the middle, and again the left arm moves my right arm around with it. As I progress, both hands will be farther apart on the broom stick and, therefore, have a wider motion.
The fourth exercise is called the Pulley. From a hook on a beam, Nurse Lauren hung a rope. My left hand holds one side of the rope, and the right hand the other, and again, the left hand pulls my right hand up and down and from different angles.
Hopefully, each day, the range of motion will increase.
Now the doctor suggested I take two Tylenol before I practice. I refuse to. I don't like drugs. I also think it builds character not to take them. There is pain in this stretching, but I'm the one who says how far I go and how much pain. Doing the exercises hasn't been bad at all.
However, my arm hurt like the dickens during the night the past two nights since I started exercising. The arm throbs and has sharp pains and deep aching, and I hear myself in my sleep saying ow, ouch, OW, OUCH. The pain wakes me up every half hour or so. I finally gave in and took two Ibuprofen, and now I'm typing this blog. So much for my character.
The doctor said that it is very unlikely that my arm will regain the range of motion it used to have. Probably it will go out as far as shoulder height and no further. He said, "You don't need more motion than that anyway." But, of course, I want the whole range back.
Afterwards, Lauren and I were talking, and I emphasized that I wanted the whole range of motion back. I said to Lauren: "What if I'm taking a class and I want to raise my hand?"
In her practical way, she said, "You'd raise your left hand."
And then she wisely said: "But if you were in a bank, and there were bandits holding up the bank, and the gunmen told you to put your hands up, it would be better if you put both hands up so you don't get shot!"
That Lauren has a great sense of humor!