Monday, July 13, 2015

Post-surgical Depression

I had shoulder surgery a little over three weeks ago.  There was a bone spur, osteoarthritis, an impingement, and a torn bicep tendon reattachment.  I'm glad I had the surgery because, as my doctor told me, none of this would have healed on its own, and it likely would have gotten worse.  But, even though it was a necessary procedure, my whole life has been turned upside down.  I know it will heal, though it's going to take some time, and I see myself falling into depression.

I've written about all the things I can't do with only one fully functioning arm, but it's much more than that.
  • I get tired easily, even though I'm not exerting much energy.
  • I have to sleep in a recliner when I'm actually able to sleep because I still cannot lie flat without pain. This means that our living room is my bedroom which is the center of much activity.
  • My sleep patterns are completely unpredictable.
  • I feel like a burden to my family.
  • Conversely, I feel like others are inconsiderate when they forget that this IS my so-called bedroom, and activity in here disturbs me.  I don;t go in their bedrooms and disturb them. 
  • I need help getting out of my seat sometimes. 
  • I'm gaining weight because I can't exercise,
  • I cannot change shirts without help.
  • I can brush my hair, but I can't style it on my own.
  • I look ridiculous with my sling as someone clearly pointed out to me.
  • I cannot do many of the activities that make me happy; life is extremely monotonous and boring.
  • I can't take myself to doctor or physical therapy appointments which means someone has to adjust their schedule to accommodate my needs, usually my children.  My husband has to work, so he doesn't take me to appointments.
  • A few people have brought us meals which my husband equates with charity, and no one wants to be anyone's charity case,
  • I'm not sure how long the pain is supposed to last.
  • I get numerous side effects from most pain medication so I don't take it often.
  • I have crazy muscle spasms, not just in the shoulder, so I have some meds for that, but I'm not sure how well it works yet.
  • I cry more often than usual.
  • Not to mention other family and personal issues that I can't begin to describe here.

So... what's a gal to do?  Continue the emotional spiral downward?  I know that sadness, lack of energy and motivation, helplessness, fatigue, loneliness, a feeling of uselessness, feeling unsupported, and an I-don't-care attitude are signs of depression.  The sling comes off in a week, hopefully, but full recovery can take 6 months to a year.  Am I just going to miraculously feel better when I've recovered physically?  There is a lot of information out there about signs and symptoms and many articles confirming that post-operative depression is real (although I could name a few people who would say it's not), but there is very little about coping with it.  Again, what's a gal to do?

1 comment:

  1. I feel ya! Second week post op after shoulder surgery and having all the same issues! It is so depressing.


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