Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Taking Care of the Patient


We are postponing our Christmas festivities a few days until Al feels up to it.  Right now, he’s fast asleep in the recliner.

He had his 4th rotator cuff surgery yesterday, and the third on the right shoulder.  I don’t know why he keeps injuring it, but he does.

The doctor wasn’t sure he would be able to repair the shoulder again, but fortunately, although badly torn, there was enough tissue to reconnect everything.

He went into surgery about 8:30 and was done by 10:00 and we were on the way home sometime after noon.  We had gotten up at 3:30 to have time to shower and get to the surgery center by 6:30 am.  We got very little sleep the night before and it was a long day for both of us, so we were both tired. 

He is hooked up to an ice machine, which is a cooler with a motor and cables that pump ice water into a patch that is attached to his shoulder.  It’s supposed to help with swelling.  Of course keeping it full of ice when you have an Rv refrigerator is a challenge. 

They did a nerve block on the shoulder so there was no pain until it wore off about 5pm.  We have 4 types of pain meds and unfortunately, I don’t think we (I) administered them at the correct times and he started having some excruciating pain.   We learned after his first shoulder surgery that if the pain gets ahead of you, there is no catching up.   I didn’t want to spend another week-end like we did after his first surgery.  I was regretting having it done so close to Christmas since the Doctor would not be available.

Fortunately, we got the pain under control, but it started up again before the 6 hour wait time.  I ended up giving him more meds about an hour early and it seemed to help.

Once the pain was manageable, he was able to sleep and has pretty much slept all yesterday, last night, and today.   I wake him up to change the ice, give him medications, or food, but other than that he’s pretty much been asleep.

He is sleeping in his recliner.  He has enough trouble getting out of the recliner, so we don’t think the bed is an option. Plus we don’t want him rolling over on the shoulder in his sleep.

I ended up sleeping on the couch next to him, because I wanted to be close if he needed me.  I was up umpteen times during the night giving him meds, and fixing things for him.  I was pretty tired today and napped off and on all day.

So…’s a fun Christmas Eve here at the Lueck household.  That’s okay though, because if the pain was real bad, he wouldn’t be able to sleep.


There is a new movie coming out tomorrow I think.  Do they actually have movie theaters open on Christmas Day?   It’s called Unbroken.  It’s a true story about a young man who was an Olympic runner, and ended up in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.  Al and I both read the book and loved it so much we’re reading it again, and plan to go to the theater to see the movie.  We very rarely go to a movie theater, but we just might go see this one.  I think the movie would be better if you read the book first.


Merry Christmas everyone.


  1. So... celebrate Christmas later... you are doing what you can and maybe Al doesn't know it tonight, but that's the most wonderful gift you can give. Hope it's all better soon.

  2. Can't believe he was out of the hospital so quickly. I know from experience that it is great to have someone close by to help with everything. Good job, Karen.

  3. A bummer of a way to spend Christmas, but Al's lucky to have such a wonderful nurse. Hope he knits quickly and gets back to full use of the arm. Shoulder injuries are no fun, I know too by experience. Just reading about it is making my bad shoulder ache.

    I couldn't put down Unbroken, it was such a compelling story. Can't wait to see the movie, hope it is just as good as the book.

    Merry Christmas, whenever you celebrate it! ;c)

  4. The true spirit of Christmas. Love is sleeping (not) on the couch so you can take care of your hubby. Hopefully by tomorrow he will be feeling much better and you can relax a little bit. I read Unbroken also and really want to see the movie.

  5. You are indeed exercising the true spirit of Christmas. I hope Al gets to feeling better and you both have a good New Year.

  6. I am really feeling so sorry for you both. Al is definitely lucky to have you taking such good care of him. The best thing for both of you is as much rest as you can get. Hoping you will both be feeling well enough and rested enough to go to the movie soon.

  7. Keeping ahead of the pain is a good plan. Many men think it is macho to tough things out. Hope he sleeps a lot. Sleep is good medicine.

  8. Al is lucky to have you as his nurse! Not a great way to spend the holiday, but it will be over soon anyway. Hope the rest of your year goes well!

  9. I so remember those cooler ice much better than filling ice bags but trying to manage all of it in a RV. My heart goes out to you, may strength and healing get easier...recliner living takes a toll on you. Hope you find comfort in days to come and things get more manageable. We too can't wait to see movie...the CBS interview with Angelina and Louie was heart touching. Merry Christmas!

  10. I hope you and Al are able to have a good Christmas. Wishing for a pain free and restful day for you both.

  11. having had shoulder surgery I can feel his pain here is to a pain free shoulder next year...

  12. Good luck with a speedy recovery, enjoy the movie, we will have to check it out.

  13. I'm so glad it's over and all that's left is the healing. Having had the surgery before, at least you know what to expect. Here's to a quick recovery, a nice belated Christmas celebration and an enjoyable movie! Merry Christmas!


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