1. It really sucks to throw up after surgery. However, it is not so bad if you are still on pain meds.
2. When they tell you to bring a large shirt for after surgery they mean a LARGE shirt because that sucker has to go over a very large padded sling.
3. There is this thing called a “party ball” that is supposed to do a slow drip of pain meds directly into your system via a catheter inserted into your shoulder. It is supposed to last for 72 hours and slowly deflate. If it has not deflated after 48 hours it is not working. Therefore you missed the party.
4. Percocet is given with the warning that you must not combine with a Tylenol product. Percocet gives me a really bad headache. So bad that I couldn’t even think about my shoulder because my head hurt so much. When I called the nurse hotline I was told to take, you guessed it, Tylenol for the headache.
5. The nurse said day 3 and day 4 would be the worst because the “party ball” would be wearing off. Since the “party ball” never worked I spent time dreading a worst day that never occurred. The pain really wasn’t that bad and next time I’ll go on Tylenol much sooner.
6. It is very good to have a husband with a good sense of humor when it is time to get dressed or undressed when wearing a sling.
7. Do not EVEN consider putting on a sports bra.
8. It is physically impossible to put your hair in a pony tail when one of your arms cannot be raised above waist level. Getting your head down to the hand at waist level does not work.
9. Do not plan on going out in public if your husband has not had previous experience putting your hair in a pony tail.
10. Forget makeup. Forget blow drying your hair. For weeks.
11. If you put an onion or a potato on the blade of a chef knife and whack it, the vegetable will be cut in half.
12. Someone will have to cut your food for you at first. This is less embarrassing if you wear your sling in public as you are supposed to.
13. You are not supposed to lift ANYTHING . I DONT KNOW FOR HOW LONG BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT LET ME IN ON THAT SECRET YET.
Do not try to go grocery shopping by yourself for several weeks. You may think you can lift those long packages of chicken breasts with one hand but you can’t.
14. You know those plastic bags in the produce department that you roll down and then tear apart? You can’t do that with one hand. So you roll all the way down to your waist and place the bag in your hand which is in a sling. Be ready fir some strange looks.
15. Do not take Percocet before your first physical therapy session if pain meds make you nauseated. You will spend the hour with a ice pack on your neck and worry more about throwing up in front of everyone than how much your shoulder hurts.
16. Having a shower large enough for two people is a good thing. Having a husband that will wash your hair for you while in the shower is a very good thing.
17. You are told to keep your elbow close to your side at all times if you do not have a sling on. If you have a sling on, your arm is already in this position. This means that you sweat. It is very very difficult to wash under your arms when one arm cannot be moved. Try it sometime.
18. Sleeping in a recliner is recommended. It keeps your head elevated. Being in a recliner discourages rolling over while wearing a sling and messing up your shoulder and experiencing excruciating pain. Being in a recliner by yourself can make you lonely and sad.
19. Having a husband that loves you enough to sleep with his head at the foot of the bed so that he can touch you while you are in the recliner is awesome. Having a husband that will get up several times in the middle of the night to pull the recliner lever so you can get up and go to the bathroom is priceless.
20. Think through every action before you start it. (See number 13). Making pies and then realizing it takes two hands to put them in and out of the oven was not one of my better moments.
21. If your husband does not cook, it is good to have friends that come stay with you and cook for you. Thank you Kira and Rita Sharkey for cooking and cleaning, driving me to PT in the snow and listening to me whine.
Three and a half weeks after surgery I can say that while not fun, this has not been as bad as I thought. Next surgery on the right shoulders is in three and a half weeks and the left will not be up to full speed by then.
Pray that Steve and I can keep our sense of humor.
8 thoughts on “Twenty One Things I Learned After Shoulder Replacement Surgery”
The most info I’ve found on what it’s really like after shoulder replacement. Thank you!! I DO wear my hair up and need the ponytail to start…that will be a problem! Also I live alone…A least I now have a little idea of what’s to come.
I’m so glad I could help. Let me know how you do!
Well.. I’m a 72 year old widow whose surgery is on my dominant Right shoulder. So sounds like I’m screwed S your husband helped you with everything. You’re very lucky.
I’m getting ready for surgery and we all had a good laugh at this. THANK YOU!
After reading #20…. everyone says I’m screwed.
Well good luck Skye! I want to hear about your experience. Write to me please and let’s compare notes!
Doctors don’t know any of the stuff you said. No husband, here. What kind of bra should I buy?
I’d suggest a front closure. Just don’t get into a rush about anything and try to go without a bra as much as you can. Good luck, I hope it goes well!
I prepared food prior to therapy and put vegetable soup and beans in freezer bags. My sister stayed the first week and went to work from my house. I left some food I prepared in the refrigerator that was good for a few days. I was only in the hospital overnight.. Loosen jars prior to surgery. Left arm eventually gets tired. I had aloe Vera wipes for quick wash convenient. I was able to shower the following day after coming home. I had reverse total shoulder replacement. Not so bad as rotator. Ball and socket. Rotator gone and arthritis removed. Still rehabbing. It’s been ten weeks. I had a shower chair in the shower. Standing now if I want. I too the sling off to eat with my left hand at first. Cannot pick up more that a coffee cup with liquid yet, but I know I have in the kitchen and I don’t use my injured arm to open the car door. Too heavy. My hair is in breads until I go back to the salon. I Apple for the long text. I didn’t proofread it either 😊