Category Archives:Real Life Issues

Preparing for Rotator Cuff Surgery

I recently had shoulder surgery. Luckily for me, it was just a shortening of my shoulder bone and a removal of some bone spurs versus doing a repair of the rotator cuff.  For those of you who are wondering what the difference is – shoulder surgery like I have involves a six to eight WEEK recovery period.  A rotator cuff repair involves a six to eight MONTH recovery period.

Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Rotator Cuff Surgery from Four Aces Mercantile http://fouracesmercantile.com/preparing-for-rotator-cuff-surgery/

 

Prior to my surgery, the surgeon did not know what type of surgery would be required for me.  So I had to prepare for the worst.  I focused on preparing for rotator cuff surgery.  For information on typing after a shoulder surgery, please go to this article.  Some of the things I looked at for preparing for rotator cuff surgery:

 

What is Rotator Cuff Surgery
Sleeping After Shoulder Surgery
Eating / Drinking After Rotator Cuff Surgery
What to Wear After Shoulder Surgery
Recovery After Shoulder Surgery

 

Preparing for Rotator Cuff Surgery

 

What is Rotator Cuff Surgery

I headed to YouTube after talking to my doctor to see just exactly what rotator cuff surgery was all about.  One video I watched was from Cleveland Shoulder:

 

 

Sleeping After Shoulder Surgery

Recommendations I Received:

This was an important issue to me as I have problems sleeping anyway.

The first thing that was suggested was that I get or borrow a good recliner as I would probably be sleeping sitting up.  The second suggestion was to use sleeping pills.  The third suggestion was pillows.  All of these suggestions were made by Physio DC.

Here’s an example of a special lift recliner:

My friends at Myku Medical have this lift chair right  now for $599.  It also includes free curb side delivery.

Lift Chair from Myku Medical

 

  • Overall Width 31”
  • Overall Height 41”
  • Floor to top of seat 18”
  • Seat Depth 19”
  • Seat Width 20”
  • Heights best suited for 5’4”-5’10’’

If you need a bigger recliner, they have those as well.  Just click on the chair above to see their selection.  They also may offer a white glove delivery service for an additional charge – please contact them directly about adding on this service to your recliner order.

My Results:

I did NOT make it thru the first night in my recliner (I already had a recliner and didn’t think I needed the lift chair).  Even though my chair itself was comfortable, I had to get up multiple times due to the amount of liquid the IV had put into my body.  My recliner would not let down the foot rest without using the lever which was on the right side of the recliner.  And it was my right shoulder that was operated on.  So I had to yell for help when I wanted to get out of the recliner.  I should have got the lift chair like Myku Medical offers.

LOL I would suggest you sit in your recliner before your surgery and pretend you can’t use your shoulder or arm to get out of the recliner.  Also pile on the pillows that you will need to prop up your arm.  Now that you are seated – can you get yourself out of the chair by yourself?  Does it take you an excessive amount of time?  Both of these are very legitimate concerns to test for.  If you can’t get out of the chair or if you cannot get out in a reasonable amount of time, your helper in the morning may discover that you’ve had an embarrassing “accident” overnight.

If your chair doesn’t pass these tests, then see if your friends have an appropriate chair they can lend you.  OR call around to medical equipment places to see if they can rent you an appropriate chair. Or buy one from Myku Medical.

MY Solution

I ended up sleeping in my bed, propped up with blankets behind me and pillows beside me.  I sleep on the left side of the king size bed so I could use my left shoulder and left arm to help me roll out of bed.  The bathroom was just steps away and with a bright night light in there, I could easily see my way to walk there during the night.

 

Food and Drink After Surgery

After surgery your arm will be in a sling until the doctor says you can go without it.  The sling will be worn even at night except for physical therapy and when you take a shower.  You should not use your arm to do anything at home except for writing, drinking, and eating.  Your physician or your therapist will advise you when you can do more.

That means you have to be able to open up your water bottle or soda can with one hand.  You won’t be pouring from a pitcher unless you can hold the pitcher with your arm that did NOT have surgery. Thus preparing for rotator cuff surgery also includes carefully buying the food and drink that you will consume after surgery.  You won’t even be able to hold a half-gallon of milk – so you have to think about how you are going to prepare yourself a quick bowl of cereal.

Mental Inventory of Food Stores

Just go thru your refrigerator and pantry and take a quick inventory in your mind.  What item(s) are in there that you use on a daily or semi daily basis that will be difficult for you to handle one handed?  Eggs?  They have liquid egg beaters.  Milk? Before surgery pour into smaller containers that you can pour from with one hand. Meal prep? Use food processors instead of chopping with the hand you aren’t supposed to be using.

Microwave meals are an option too, though a less nutritious one.  If you don’t have family around to help with this, consider contacting the local Senior Center.  They often have one hot meal they cook per day.  And lots of places have senior or disabled buses that you can call to take you to a Senior Center or to a doctor’s appointment as driving is an issue.

No Driving for a While

Driving will also be restricted as you can injure yourself by having to maneuver quickly.  Your ability to move your head / upper body to see may also be impacted for a while, thus making it unwise for you to drive.  For more information about driving or when you can return to playing hobby sports, go here.

 

Recovery after Shoulder Surgery

This is a great video on some easy to do exercises to prevent stiffness from a physical therapist (some of them different from what my own therapist gave me), a demonstration of how to get in/out of your sling, suggestions of how to sleep in a bed, dressing tips and tips for prepping your home.

 

 

What to Wear After Shoulder Surgery

I initially thought I would be limited to button front shirts, but I changed my mind after watching this video:

 

 

I made this graphic in polyvore to show you the items you should stock up on to wear for the six weeks / months of your recovery:

Shoulder Surgery

 

My Outfits

What I found that worked for me was a camisole top made of either the fabric that bras are made of or made of cotton.  You won’t be able to tolerate bra straps over the incisions on your shoulder (the suggestion of a sports bra did NOT work).  I wore this as a bra – no support but at least the “girls” weren’t exposed.

The sleeveless button up top worked – as long as I made sure that the arm hole was big enough.  It has to have plenty of room so your arm can breathe and also can fit thru (your arm may swell and in the beginning it will be bigger with all the bandages).  What I found even better were tank tops with low hanging arm holes.  Thus the need for camisoles to cover the “girls”.

T-Shirts = NO

T-shirts were not comfortable in the beginning. You have to wear your sling 24/7 when you are first out of surgery. The only time you have it off is in the shower, at the doctor’s office and while you are doing physical therapy. I found that t-shirts with the regular neckline and the shoulder seams were too hot and rubbed too much with all of the other gear on. They are also a lot harder to get off your body (at least in the beginning).

The pull up pants are a must.  Or practice putting on your button up jeans, or even zip up jeans with just one hand.  Yep, see what I mean?

Slip on shoes for the same reason.  Though the slip ons I bought didn’t fit after surgery.  I have a wonderful hubby who put my sneakers on for me and tied them.  Thanks honey!

 

 

Overview & Request for Comments !

So what do you think of the tips I listed above?  A couple of things that I didn’t mention.   Unless you live close by to your surgeon and the person who fitted your sling, ask your physical therapist after surgery if it is fitted correctly to you.  I had an Ultrasling IV by DonJoy sling with the stablilizer.  Since I didn’t end up with the rotator cuff surgery, I didn’t need to use the stabilizer but since that was on the sling I took to the hospital, that was what I went home in and used.  I could have saved myself days of discomfort if I had asked my physical therapist.

Have Your Physical Therapist Look at Your Sling

The second issue with my sling was that the person who fitted it to me, got the straps all wrong.  The big ring goes in back of you, the padded shoulder strap goes on top of your shoulder and the small ring goes in the front with the seat belt clips (that attach to the arm pouch).

Ice Pack Hack

Oh, and if you are offered an additional ice pack football pad like contraption that you have to pay $70 or more extra because your insurance doesn’t cover it, save your money in the beginning.  You are going to be home so you don’t need a contraption that keeps your ice pack in place.  Buy some large gallon size freezer bags and put some frozen peas in several of them.  Adjust the amount of peas till you get a good size for your shoulder.  You will want 2-3 so you can keep changing them around.

And buy a small plastic nerf type ball if your sling doesn’t come with one (if that is part of the football ice pack set).  You will spend a lot less than $70 and by the time you actually are getting out of the house, you might not need continual ice packs.  If you do, then you can talk with your physical therapist about what ACTUALLY works for that purpose.

Do you have any suggestions or tips for other people who are preparing for rotator cuff surgery? Please help others by commenting below. Thanks for reading!

 

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Typing After Shoulder Surgery? I have found the Way?

kitty with a cast - shoulder surgery makes it very hard to type
"Waiting at the door" - I am as helpless as this kitty with a cast

LOL I am in a bind.  I am like this poor kitty with a cast but instead of a cast on my leg, I have a splint on my arm. Last week I had surgery on my shoulder.  And I am looking for a way to do my typing after shoulder surgery.

I don’t work in an office, but I do post a lot of articles on the internet and answer a lot of emails — so I need to be able to type. Prepared myself for the surgery by researching on what to expect and how to prepare for shoulder surgery. What clothes I should have available, what to expect that I should be able to do and not do, etc. For this information, please click on my article here.

One thing I should mention is that I used a wide board over the arms of the recliner.  What I really needed was something like this:

 

Table that will go over the arms of your recliner so you have a table to eat, write, or work on your computer while you are recovering from shoulder surgery - Four Aces Mercantile http://fouracesmercantile.com/typing-after-shoulder-surgery/

This deluxe tilt-top table by Drive Medical tilts 33 degrees in either direction, giving you the ability to adjust it to suit your needs. With the slightest upward pressure, the table can be raised or lowered in infinite settings between 26.5″-39″, and the top locks securely when the height adjustment handle is released.

Product Specifications

  • Actual Product Weight: 21 lbs
  • Primary Product Color: Walnut
  • Primary Product Material: Steel
  • Product Weight Capacity: 50 lbs

 

For more information click here or click on the table photo.

 

 

Typing after shoulder surgery can be difficult - here's some voice software that may help Four Aces Mercantile

 

 

Work Prep for Surgery

My “work” is mostly done on a computer.  I am either typing an article, or doing research before typing an article. Keyword research, product reviews, etc. all require an internet connection and the use of a search engine.

All of this requires typing.  And from my research on shoulder surgery, that’s one thing I would NOT be doing after surgery for either a short or an extended period of time.  At least the traditional two handed typing method.

So I before surgery, I started researching alternatives to traditional typing.  I needed to find a way to continue typing after shoulder surgery.

 

Cortana and Windows 10

When I bought my latest laptop, I had to disable Cortana and speech recognition because they kept turning on at different times and interfering with my work.  It required me to completely disable the system.cortana was not the answer for me typing after shoulder surgery

Now a few short years later, I need it.  LOL it was much easier turning it off then turning it on again.  I initially tried to turn it back on by creating a new profile.  Because apparently, when I deleted Cortana previously, I corrupted its dll.

I successfully created a new profile but discovered i couldn’t access my old file folders with my new profile. That’s not helpful.

Sheesh!

Previously Unused Software Now Needed

Over the next few weeks, I kept playing with installing / uninstalling the files needed by Cortana.  I also found a link to a demo for another software – Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium version 13.  I thought of that as a possible backup.

Finally a day before surgery I got speech recognition from Windows 10 re-installed so I could access my folders. Yeah !?

Did I Get it to Work?

Nope. No typing after shoulder surgery – just frustration.

When I tried to use it after my surgery, I was very disappointed.  I tried dictating a few paragraphs and 90% of the words came out wrong.  I spent many hours dictating the same paragraphs over & over.  It never “learned.” I don’t know if Cortana works as I was so disgusted, I gave up completely on Microsoft.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

So the next day I downloaded the trial copy from Nuance’s website.  I then took Nuance’s online tutorial which excited me because it went very well.

That was the end of my excitement. Nuance has a very long consumer guidebook. It is very detailed. However, it fails to state what you do when the software does not do what the guide says it is supposed to do.  I clicked on Nuance’s support page link at the bottom of the consumer articles page – got a 404 error.  Eventually, I found a page where you could submit a support request. But it was the weekend and the auto reply stated I had a 48 hour wait.

Demo Did Not work Out of the Box

dragonsoftware did not help with my typing after shoulder surgerySo over the next 48 hours I tried to get the software to work, but it acted like virus ware.  Things kept popping up and down. Windows closed and opened. Even when I turned off the software, the pops up and down continued.  I had documents that I wasn’t even working on, get edited and parts of them were deleted. It even interfered with my ability to manually access my files and folders.

The response I got back from Nuance? Buy the program – and take 30 days to get it working (that’s when the “guarantee” runs out).  Ummm I need software that works now, and in this case the software is pricy – $175 to $300 and up.  That’s a lot of $ to spend on the chance it might work.  So I uninstalled the demo software (this was not downloaded from a 3rd party site but from Nuance’s own site).

I also want to point out that Amazon & others have this same software much cheaper. However, Nuance stated in their email to me that a lot of people have problems getting their money back when the software is purchased other than from them.  Just for information, I then checked Nuance’s forums to see if anyone else had trouble with their software.

Other People Also have Problems With this Software

I posted a Facebook review of the software yesterday.  Today, 6/13,  I could not view that specific Nuance Forum. Click the link yourself and read about problems Nuance customers have with even the updated software and obtaining refunds.

Nuance Community Forum
Nuance Community Forum

So now my prime software and my backup software was out. I did a quick google search and found a list by Capterra on the Best Speech Recognition Software.  The top 5 software they list is:

  • Braina
  • LilySpeech
  • SmartAction Speech IVR System
  • Speech Assistant
  • Speechlogger

Braina Software

I am still on the hunt for speech recognition software.  I can’t get this one to work either. But I am going to keep working on the situation and hopefully I can give you information that can help you if you happen to be in the same situation that I am in.Unable to tell from their lite version if this is the software that allows typing after surgery

I started typing this article at 9:30 AM and it is now 12:15 PM.  I typed this totally with my left hand.  Right now it is 808 words so I am typing 4.8 words per minute.  Yikes!

Ok after several hours rest, I am back. I looked at the Braina software again.  This is what I discovered and what I wrote to the company:

The lite version [is so] scaled down I couldn’t use the features that were supposedly there to test it. For example I was supposed to be able to use verbal commands to search the internet. But to customize the software so it recognizes my voice is a pro feature.

LilySpeech

This is the one I am trying currently. They offer a free 30 day trial. Just let me install it and tell you what I think. This one requires registration & a credit card to begin.  I set myself a reminder in google calendar for the trial expiration.lilyspeech is helpful but still isn't the software to get me typing after shoulder surgery

I am now dictating using the www.LilySpeech.com software. Hopefully this new software will work for what I needed to which is to allow me to dictate emails toast and other items so they can be posted online and faster than the 4.8 words per minute that I did using my left hand for typing

OK  Above is the unedited version of my first attempt at using the LilySpeech software.  Now I am going to go back and edit and see how it works with hand editing.

I am now dictating using the LilySpeech. Hopefully this new software will work for what I need which is to allow me to dictate emails, posts and other items so they can be added online and faster than the 4.8 words per minute that I did using my left hand for typing.

Now I’m going to see how it does on internet searches.

It works on doing internet searches. However it is awkward. You have to hit Ctrl D then dictate what you want to search in the search window. Hitting Ctrl d is somewhat awkward when you are only one handed, so this would be a feature I would look to change.

You also have to the click the transfer button to transfer your dictated stuff to your search window from a temporary window.  But it is better than what I got out of the previous three software speech packages.

More Information about Lily – It’s an Advanced Cut n Paste Program

Lily is an advanced cut and paste program.  You cannot edit the dictated text using speech recognition. You cannot manually edit the dictated text until it’s been transferred (pasted) into the desired location.

It won’t operate your programs using voice commands, in fact you have to hit “ctrl d” in order to turn the program on and for each time you want to dictate (it turns itself off after a few moments of silence from you).  There is an option to change the specific hot key.

If you are interested tn this software, please click here and Use Promo Code 1542043 to save 25%. You get a free 30 day trial of the program and if you buy, you get it for less than the normal $2.49 / mo. This is an affiliate link for me.

But, although this program does work, it doesn’t have the features I need – so continuing on —

SmartAction Speech IVR System

This isn’t appropriate at all.  This is software for a call center or an auto mated customer service support.   — NEXT —

Speech Assistant from Mobisco

Another wrong software .  This is for a company who wants employee telephone numbers to be available by verbally stating their name. — NEXT —

Speechlogger

Just doing research on this sofware.

 

photo credit: Tom Clifton Waiting by the Door via photopin (license)

Overview & Request for Comments !

So what do you think of the software I listed above?  Did you get some of the software to work that I couldn’t?

Do you have any suggestions of software that will help me go back to typing? Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

 

Contact Us | My Blog | Follow My Blog with Bloglovin’ Home

P.S. Some of the above links are affiliate links.