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Thread: ? for nurse and anyone else.

  1. #1

    ? for nurse and anyone else.

    i just had shoulder surgery in Vail and they ended up doing an unforseen bicep tendoneses (transfer). I was originally going to just have a debridement and acromioplasty. The original surgery allowed me to actively use my shoulder immediately. Instead I ended up waking up a more invasive surgery with large number of restrictions. The greatest one is no active use of my bicep for 6 weeks. This causes a significant issue for wheeling. PT has been trying to locate a one arm drive wheelchair but has been unable to find a DME that rents them. I can buy one but I have my own chair obviously and don't know if you can buy just the attachment. I found them for Quicki but not Tilite.

    Has anyone had shoulder surgery similar to mine and used one? Any other experiences that you may be willing to share I would appreciate it. I leave the hospital today and head back to Aspen. I live by myself and my team mates have gone for the season.

    Nurse-what would you recommend in this situation? Not just the chair but in general in regards to recovery from this surgery while on my own?

    I recognize that part of this question could have been put in Equipment but I am interested in the care aspect as well.

    Thanks!
    "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." - My Grammie

  2. #2
    The smallest power chair they had available was a Jazzy something. It was too large to fit and maneuver in my little apartment. This situation is quite the bummer because I did not have a chance to plan very well. My doc really thought it was going to be a simple debreidment and acromioplasty.

    Ah well, the best made plans of mice and men.

    I can not use my bicep for anything at all for 6 weeks. I have no idea how I am going to shower and wash my hair. My arm and hand are still that nasty orange colour from the surgical prep-lovely!
    "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." - My Grammie

  3. #3
    Ouch! I had shoulder surgery a few months post SCI, but was using a cane and did not share your chair issues. I cannot imagine! From my experience though, even if you had gotten away with debridement and acromioplasty, wheeling would be an issue. How far out post-op; have you started PT?

    Do you have anyone to help you? Stringing a cable through your home to pull yourself through was my first thought, but that's crazy. I'm sorry your Dr. left you in this position and didn't help you work out the critical issues before they sent you on your way. That sucks!

    Can your insurance help find an option to power your chair or provide you a caregiver? If you're on Facebook, Tilite has a page and I've noticed they're good about answering questions and helping. If you tag there name in the post it will get their attention. If you don't have an account, I'll be happy to post on your behalf and see what they come up with. Also, search out the member here that has the power assist that fits under your chair. I'm drawing a blank but I'm sure another member will come along with information better than mine.

    With regard to showering and washing your hair, when did the doctor say you could shower? I adapted fairly well to being one-armed. If I needed my surgery arm, I kept it locked tight, elbow to side, and bent down to that hand, only using my elbow and wrist. But be careful not to over stress those joints and add insult to injury. Also, if you're a full time wheeler, I would not recommend showering without someone close by to assist you. A fall could mess you up beyond repair. I assume you're still in a sling, but in any event, just having the arm compromised will throw your balance off, so please keep that in mind too if you transfer or if you're able to stand.

    Good luck, hope this works out soon, and be safe!
    Incomplete, SCI, T1-T8, w/ Arachnoid Cyst. Bilateral shoulder surgeries, 2 on the left, 3 on the right, right forearm surgery for a crushed radial nerve.

    "We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right."
    — Marianne Williamson

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlottes Web View Post
    Ouch! I had shoulder surgery a few months post SCI, but was using a cane and did not share your chair issues. I cannot imagine! From my experience though, even if you had gotten away with debridement and acromioplasty, wheeling would be an issue. How far out post-op; have you started PT?

    Do you have anyone to help you? Stringing a cable through your home to pull yourself through was my first thought, but that's crazy. I'm sorry your Dr. left you in this position and didn't help you work out the critical issues before they sent you on your way. That sucks!

    Can your insurance help find an option to power your chair or provide you a caregiver? If you're on Facebook, Tilite has a page and I've noticed they're good about answering questions and helping. If you tag there name in the post it will get their attention. If you don't have an account, I'll be happy to post on your behalf and see what they come up with. Also, search out the member here that has the power assist that fits under your chair. I'm drawing a blank but I'm sure another member will come along with information better than mine.

    With regard to showering and washing your hair, when did the doctor say you could shower? I adapted fairly well to being one-armed. If I needed my surgery arm, I kept it locked tight, elbow to side, and bent down to that hand, only using my elbow and wrist. But be careful not to over stress those joints and add insult to injury. Also, if you're a full time wheeler, I would not recommend showering without someone close by to assist you. A fall could mess you up beyond repair. I assume you're still in a sling, but in any event, just having the arm compromised will throw your balance off, so please keep that in mind too if you transfer or if you're able to stand.

    Good luck, hope this works out soon, and be safe!
    What kind of shoulder surgeries did you have? The one I use the most is kind of frozen but I think it was injured in my original accident 24 years ago. I had more serious injuries and they let several things go at the time.

    Surgery seems to be an option but walking without a cane is not.


    Aiden, this seems to be a common issue here for coverage of such things via Medicare/DME's.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  5. #5
    I had very similar surgery. I think you should very frankly talk to the surgeon about home health care or nursing care while that shoulder heals because if you damage it now it will likely be permanent. An electric wheelchair or scooter is pretty much a necessity unless you can stay in bed full time. Shoprider has smaller lightweight chairs and scooters....you might find something that will work even if you have to get someone to clear stuff out of the way in your apartment. Even after 6 weeks your shoulder will not be capable of the strain of pushing a manual chair full-time so be prepared for that. Most surgeons just cannot understand the tremendous strain that pushing a wheelchair exerts on the shoulder and do not understand how incapacitating shoulder/arm surgeries and injuries are. You've become a person with only one functioning limb and need to plan accordingly. Also, that shoulder needs to rest and heal. If you push it, as I did, you'll only prolong the time it takes to heal.

  6. #6
    How about the Smart Drive? I tried one and one of the things I likes was being able to push it one handed. I'm a T6 complete and I could push someone else in another chair, with one hand and push my chair with the other, with the Smart Drive. I don't know if the smart drive has reverse though. If youi're apartments that small, you might be able to wing it, pulling on stuff, and cross over to the other wheel once in a while. I had shoulder surgery, years ago and they said, don't move it for 6 weeks. I didn't and 6 weeks later, couldn't. Had to have another procedure to break it loose. Talk to the doc about being able to move it with no stress, to keep it form freezeing.

  7. #7
    All very good advise, Aidan! Totally agree with Avictoria, the best option, if you can arrange it, is home care. Also, be careful not to blow out your good shoulder compensating for the bad one.


    Daisy, have you been doing PT? All of my shoulder surgeries were arthroscopic. In the 80's my left shoulder dislocated. It was surgically, debrided and acromioplasty, tightened, and bone shaved. Same procedure bilateral in 2004 and 05. 2008, debridement, acromioplasty, repaired torn labrum, and 4 screws to anchor my right shoulder. MVA, and SCI 3 weeks later! Post SCI, 2009, another debridement and acromioplasty, removed screws that had twisted lose and mangled in scar tissue due to the accident. Had radial nerve release surgery, right arm, in 2009 also. My right shoulder froze after the accident but with PT, a rope and pulley my husband installed in a doorway, I cracked through it. I have really good range of motion, considering. Both shoulders are unstable and the cuffs are almost worn through but I'm done with shoulder surgery, nothing more can be done. Hoping now, my wrists don't give out....they're going fast!

    Incomplete, SCI, T1-T8, w/ Arachnoid Cyst. Bilateral shoulder surgeries, 2 on the left, 3 on the right, right forearm surgery for a crushed radial nerve.

    "We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right."
    — Marianne Williamson

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlottes Web View Post

    Daisy, have you been doing PT?

    No, I do stretches at home when it starts bothering me. I am allergic to surgical fixation.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

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