10 weeks ago I tripped and flew across the room, shattering my shoulder. The first two weeks were horrendous and my husband was my carer during this time when I could do little for myself. Even getting out of bed was unbearably painful and we had to work out strategies for getting me in the shower. In the end, I sat on an upturned kitchen refuse bin and my husband hosed me down. The pain was awful and I was on codeine phosphate (2 x 30 mg) tablets 4 to 6 times a day. I have reduced this now to one, 2 to 3 times a day, as required.I slept in a recliner chair with cushions for support, I then moved back to bed and, in the last two weeks, I can sleep lying down with a little support for my arm. I began the pendulum swings as soon as the pain allowed with limited movement. I set my self small independence goals, washing, doing up buttons, getting my arm through a sleeve, hair, eating with two hands, fewer tablets, and so on. Three weeks in I began slightly harder exercises including touching my head. Four weeks in, I began formal physiotherapy (NHS) and exercises increased using bands and low weights; some are extremely painful. My cleaner, a medical doctor from Bulgaria, set me off on hand exercises with little balls which has helped things like pressing an aerosol, opening a can. Life becomes very small. I have regained a great deal of movement including raising my arm straight above my head but I cannot move my arm far, behind or up my back; the pain is excruciating. I religiously do my exercises every day and I notice continual improvements in what I can do. I am functioning at a good level and have exceeded medical expectations. I am 71 but I believe my level of fitness and spirit have been key factors in my recovery. At 8 weeks I began driving with medical approval but I am confining myself to local trips because my arm is not yet as strong as I would like. Again, with approval, I have also started rowing on a machine at the lowest level, for 15 minutes, which is also helping. This week I returned to my fitness class, a combination of aerobic, flexibility and strength classes but I am careful. I am not yet allowed to do triceps dips but I can do low level press ups against the wall and on my knees. This all sounds great but it is missing out the day to day struggle and the levels of aches and pain I am dealing with. My shattered humerus is healing and should be completely healed at the 12 week stage. I am not experiencing any pain in the injury site but, of course, the muscles, tendons, main nerve from the neck through to the upper arm and scar tissue are proving problematic. With exercise different areas are improving but it seems to set up a reaction leaving me with sometimes severe aching and very sharp pain with certain movements. There are the occasional days with minimal pain requiring no pain killers which lull me into a false sense of security then back they come with a vengeance. I am also using a small heat pad, at night, for the muscle pain. Can anyone advise, give me any insight or hope in this situation? I am normally a happy, optimistic person but this continual battle with pain and my arm resistance to behind my back or neck movement is becoming depressing. Throughout this situation, I have worked with minimal information and learned what questions to ask my consultant/registrar and physiotherapist, as I have gone along. I also found, fairly early on, an American website which sustained me through the early dark weeks. As you will recognize, I am becoming very self absorbed and I don't like it. I know I am not the only one and many, many people are experiencing much worse situations. How awful. I would greatly appreciate any shared experience or advice anyone can give. I am also hoping that sharing my experience may help someone else faced with this situation. Thank you.
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