January 11th, 2008

painful

Aftermath

It's been a little over three weeks since I had that close encounter with a bus and hurt my shoulder. For most of that time, the pain has been quite bad, but the last couple of days, not so much. Until this afternoon, when the tram I was travelling in suddenly had to break, and I and some of the other passengers were hurled through the carriage. A well-meaning woman grabbed me by the shoulder, my bad shoulder, to try and keep me upright...and now the pain is back again.

It's not the pain that worries me, though -- it's the restriction of movement in the joint that does. I first noticed it going through the security check at the airport, when they asked me to stand in one of those scanner portals and raise my arms above my head, and I found I couldn't raise my arm far enough to please them. They took me to the side to be patted down, asking me to hold out my arms to the side, and again I found I couldn't comply with their request. But they decided I didn't pose a security threat and waved me through, after which I forgot about the incident; until yesterday when I went to see Rutger, my physiotherapist.

Strangely, I hadn't thought of calling in his help until a chance encounter on the train last Monday. As I was settling in with my book, who should choose to sit himself down on the opposite bench but Marco, last summer's trainee physiotherapist in the practice. He's moved on to an internship in a provincial hospital, but he hadn't forgotten about me: I had been his first ever real patient, and he was delighted to see me. We chatted away amicably for the duration of his journey, and when I got to relating to him the story of my accident and my shoulder, he was naturally curious to know how Rutger was treating it, and was surprised to hear that he wasn't. So later that day, I gave Rutger a call, explaining about my run-in with the bus and how it was probably nothing but that I would like to have his opinion and advice nonetheless. After he'd recovered from the shock of hearing that I'd almost been run over by a bus and might have been killed, he gave me an appointment for Thursday.

And then on Tuesday, the pain started to subside.

I thought about cancelling the appointment, but then remembered that I'd been having some trouble with the old ankle since the accident too, and decided I might as well keep it. I knew I could trust him to tell me straight if I was just being silly and worrying about nothing.

Because I am terrified of the thought of hurting my ankle and undoing the great job the orthopaedic surgeon did on it.

Long story short: I wasn't just being silly. Apparently, the absence of any excruciating pain is, in itself, not an indication that all's well again. After much prodding and poking, and catching up on what's been happening in both our lives since we last parted company two months ago, he gave me his professional opinion, and it was that he was a little worried that I might have hurt not just the joint capsule, but the clavicle as well. He wants me to give it two more weeks; if after that time I still can't lift my arm above a certain level, he'd like to have another look.

As to my ankle: I did hurt it, but not seriously. He pinched, kneaded and massaged it till I was almost ready to gnaw it off or kick him in the groin to get away from the pain he was inflicting, but it does feel much better now and I'm so relieved.