A sore shoulder, surgery and Frank Nagler

Well, found I need surgery on my left shoulder that has been bugging me since spring.

The real downside, of course, that is while I have one of those magical sports injuries – a torn rotator cuff – I won’t have the surgery in time to make a World Series roster. I will be ready for spring training, though.

Oh, wait, I’m a righty. So, I’m good.  Call me.

Why now, you might ask?

First, because it takes that long to actually admit that the pain in the shoulder that kept me up at night was not a passing fancy, or the result of an ill-advised twist while gardening.

I’ve had those pains before, those “walk ‘em off” ankle sprains, the knee bruise that is tender for a couple of days, even after the swelling has gone down, and the like.

I broke the little finger on my left hand while playing touch football in college. I didn’t notice it until someone after the game asked my why the finger was twice the size of all the others on that hand. Today, decades later, it rotates in an odd way.

We will not, however, get into the metaphysical or psychological meaning of pain, the avoidance  thereof, or the healing from.

We will, however, make note that after months of constant, numbing pain, I managed to dislocate the bad shoulder while cleaning the refrigerator: Popped it out of joint when my wet hand slipped off the edge of the doorframe and it whacked my shoulder at the perfect angle.

It popped back into joint after the first physical therapy session. And pardon me if the first thought I had when I heard the pop was of Martin Riggs from “Lethal Weapon.”

The other reason it takes this long, is that we all have to play the insurance protocol game, which in this case was a few weeks of medical guessing and hit-or-miss treatment, like a month of physical therapy that only made the  shoulder hurt more because all the stretching and strengthening in the world would not heal a muscle tear or bone spurs, which is what the MRI revealed.

Ah, the MRI, taken four months after I first saw a doctor about the pain. Four months while I thought that it might be possible that someone doctor type might want to know why it actually hurt, and maybe take a look. But then, they hear “shoulder pain” and categorize it, knowing it seems that after the insurance protocol we end up here.

That’s a lot of ice and Tylenol.

There are some upsides to this.

I get to practice my right-hand typing, since my left arm will be secured to my side by, I’m guessing, industrial strength strapping.

I get to avoid cleaning the refrigerator.

But, mostly, it gives me another injury to test out on my detective hero Frank Nagler.

In “The Weight of Living,” the third Nagler mystery, Frank was dealing with plantar fasciitis, so I loaded him up with a few of the real-life encounters, I had experienced when I suffered with the condition for several months – bad sidewalks, unwitting wrong steps that shot pain up my leg, just the plain ache after a long walk, and of course sterling advice from a doctor: Stay off your feet.

So, in the current WIP, the prequel to the whole series, I have had Frank get whacked about the head and shoulders by a kid using stick.  We’ll see what entails.

So, in the meantime I wait, knowing that if I push my chair back and turn to the left, my shoulder is going to scream at me.


About michaelstephendaigle

I have been writing most of my life. I am the author of the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series. "The Swamps of Jersey (2014); "A Game Called Dead" (2016) -- a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Author Contest; and "The Weight of Living" (2017) -- First Place winner for Mysteries in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Contest.
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