Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bad Shoulder

I have been a bad blogger lately. That is my fault though because I push myself pretty hard and I have to let something give most of the time. I let the writing slip when I need a break because I would rather not spend my life stuck behind a computer or television. I feel guilty for only spending 9 hours at work most days. I also get down on myself when I am too drained to spend a couple hours at night scouring the internet for interesting automotive news to post on Autoblog. I am too busy during my day to keep up with all the posts and news going on, so I have to spend time catching up before I can even begin browsing for items that have yet to be covered. Now I also have two pets (the new one is pictured above) I don’t want to ignore. They grab my attention for a significant period every night. I have me time scheduled in everyday in the form of swimming or gymnastics after work though. Generally my workout time keeps me on my toes and re-energizes me for the evening. It is amazing though how everything can turn sour when things don’t go well in the pool anymore. For the entirety of the summer my left shoulder has been killing me. It has gotten me feeling a tad dejected.

My left shoulder problems first surfaced when I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school. It was hard to process the injury back then because the pain wasn’t so apparent. I just got to a point where I could hardly get my arm to keep turning over in order to make it through a 200 freestyle. My time kept going backwards and I was so devastated. The more I tried to push, the slower I would go. I was lucky enough to find a sympathetic physical therapist however. She had been a competitive swimmer herself. She was amazed I could even move my arm because my shoulder was so impinged and inflamed. Working long and hard though, we managed to get my left shoulder back into working order. In the end it ended up being my right shoulder that I eventually had surgery on in order to relieve inflammation (internal bleeding… no big deal…).

With all my shoulder experiences every doctor has commented on my shoulder geometry. I have pronounced protrusions coming out of my shoulders that are the connection points of my clavicles. This setup apparently naturally pulls my shoulders forward, reducing the size of the pocket available for joint rotation. Of course all that easily disposes me to impingement and inflammation. The fun part is that a tiny bit of inflammation can offset a chain reaction that takes weeks, even months to recover. Since having my right shoulder cleaned out in the middle of college, it has been going pretty strong. My left shoulder is a different story though. Lately it has been causing me agony. It seems that increasing my shoulder stretching, and thus increasing my shoulder flexibility, has awoken some old scar tissue. Tendons can’t move where they wanted to, they have become inflamed and of course that has created more scar tissue. Without taking action to break up the scar tissue I am stuck in an endless cycle. That is why, despite the cost, I have said screw this and have paid a few visits to various doctors.

I am currently in the midst of my 4th week of therapy on the shoulder. Thankfully I have been able to find the exact type of treatment I had hoped for, due to the recommendation of fellow Long Beach swimmers. Over this period I have been able to get back from crawling pace to cruising. I still have no speed though and that is very frustrating. Anytime I really try and grab the water pain shoots down the side of my shoulder. It takes a few strokes to recover from that jolt in order to find the right pace again. I had sights set on many ocean races this summer, but all have been put on hold for other years. I just want to glide through the water again without extreme calculation every time I place my left hand in the water. I am giving it until the end of August to further improve its condition. If not, then I think it is about time to send it under the knife. It wasn’t difficult for my right shoulder to recover, so I know what it involves. It just sucks getting dressed for a couple weeks and driving might be a tad difficult…

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