Jeff’s Surgery & Recovery: Behind the Scenes

Jeff before surgery

follow url Jeff before surgery

go site “My pastor is stoned.” It sounds like the introduction to a scandal. It was true, and I didn’t even try to hide it. In fact, it’s my favorite quote from this experience. It was the response of a church member who saw a photo of me posted online. The picture was of me leaving the hospital after my surgery. It’s not even where my story begins.

go to link a. I was jumped by a dozen ninjas…
b. It was a rough church elder meeting…
c. I threw a frisbee…
Pick one of the above headlines to explain how I got here. I’d prefer it was the ninja thing. The true story is that I was out with Amelia practicing throwing discs for disc golf. After about 45 minutes of throwing, I told Amelia I wanted to do “one last shot”, then we’d be finished. As I released the disc I felt something pull in my arm. The pain was so great I dropped to my knees. After catching my breath, I stood up and announced that I’d pulled a muscle. Two weeks later, Deana stopped by the office and teamed up with Norma to force me to see a doctor. They, legitimately, pointed out I was still unable to use my right arm. To them it was clear I’d done more than pull a muscle. I was still in denial. A visit to the doctor, follow-up MRI, and consult with a surgeon finally revealed the full truth – I’d torn the labral muscle from the bone in my shoulder.

source link Surgery was the only way to fix the problem. I put the surgeon off a couple more weeks, giving me time to finish the sermon series I was in the middle of, and agreed to what I thought would be a “minor” procedure and recovery. Mind you, that’s not what the doctor said. He explained it as a painful surgery followed by a lengthy, very restricted recovery. He clearly didn’t know me. I don’t stay down for long. I suck it up and keep going. I humored him with a nod and expected a day or two at home, followed by a light week of office work. Little did I know the surgeon was humoring my bravado. I showed up for surgery on Wednesday, October 14th. As a pastor, I’ve spent so many hours with people in hospitals, it really didn’t bother me. I joked about my situation with the hospital staff. I kept checking email via my phone and was encouraged by dozens and dozens of emails and posts from people who were praying for me. No big deal. Our church elder chairman Don Reed showed up to pray with Deana and I while I was in pre-op. The surgeon finally popped in for a final check on things and we talked about our family visit to the Texas State Fair the day before, our dog, and the fact that I’d run three miles early that morning before coming in for surgery. No big deal. I kissed Deana, and they wheeled me away. That was the last time I thought the situation was “no big deal.”

On the way home after surgery. "My pastor is stoned."

come eseguire transazioni trding On the way home after surgery. "My pastor is stoned."

cosa sono le opzione finanziarie binarie I wasn’t awake for it, but I hear the surgery was fairly routine. While reviewing play-by-play pictures with the surgeon a couple weeks later, I saw how they roughed up my shoulder bone to make it bleed, drilled in some screws, and tied the labral muscle back down to the bone. While he was poking around inside, the surgeon found a couple bone spurs and filed them down, and even cleared away a little debris around some other muscles. They gave me a block to provide 12-24 hours of relief from the pain and sent me to recovery. The recovery, expected to take about an hour, turned into a 2.5+ hour wait for Deana. When she finally demanded answers, she discovered I was having complications from the pain block. Instead of staying local to my arm, the block expanded to my throat and lungs. I remember waking up and realizing I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t focus enough to push the call button, even though they’d already placed it in my hand. So, I was knocking on the metal bars of the bed to get the attention of the nurse. Lack of communication between the doctor and recovery nurse finally resulted in my discharge. We didn’t find out until later the doctor would have admitted me overnight if he’d have known what was happening with me in recovery. It was fine with me. I just wanted to get home. The discharge picture of me in a wheelchair, very much out of it from additional doses of drugs I’d received to help keep me relaxed and breathing naturally, was the one that drew the “stoned” comment. I’d like to point out it was an accurate observation, yet completely legal.

My new chair. It's my home for 6 weeks. The 3X shirt was the only thing I could wear over the full body sling.

box4seed bitcoin My new chair. It's my home for 6 weeks. The 3X shirt was the only thing I could wear over the full body sling.

here I slept the next 24-48 hours; waking only to take the next round of pain meds. The doctor had stressed pre-surgery about our need for a good recliner for my recovery. He said I wouldn’t be able to lie down to sleep in a bed for six weeks, so a comfy chair would be a “must”. I wasn’t about to spend money on a new chair just for a few nights sleep. I was convinced I could make it in one of the chairs we had. After the first night, I begged Deana to go out and purchase a new chair the next day. I discoverd just how accurate the doctor’s analysis was. My oversized chair has been my home, bed, dining table, and best friend for the last few weeks. Deana got a two-person “Cuddle Chair” recliner. As I’ve improved, it’s been perfect for snuggling with family members. Everyone’s eager for me to be released from it so they can have it for themselves at some point.

see url Those first couple weeks were basically spent sleeping. I’d sleep in three hour cycles, wake about a half-hour before the next round of pain meds, then remain awake another half-hour before they’d kick in again. Those first few days I was only awake 6-8 hours within a 24 hour window. I could barely move. The full-body sling was uncomfortable and kept me from showering or bathing. I was so drugged up I couldn’t make it through a conversation without dozing off. Even when I was awake, I couldn’t read or watch TV because my eyes couldn’t stay focused for more than 15 minutes. We were blessed with some fantastic meals from church family members. Deana was good about bringing me a plate or bowl with samples of everything. But I could barely eat. She’d feed me a few bits and I’d drift off to sleep again. Somewhere in here is when Deana realized she had basically become my fulltime nurse at the Denton Nursing Home. The one exception to my lack of appetite was Vicki Rossetti’s homemade chocolate pie. I’d wake up every few hours, not really hungry for anything; but ask Deana to cut another piece of that pie for me. It’s pretty much what I lived on for that first week.

Reality. This is what I was like originally. (Sorry for the full frontal nudity.)

Reality. This is what I was like originally. (Sorry for the full frontal nudity.)

Deana has been the best Home-Health Nurse I could have ask for. She’s gone above and beyond the call of duty to take care of me. She’s constantly got her eye on me to make sure I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to do. She’s still cutting up my meat or pizza for each meal. She makes sure I’m taking my meds. She forces me back into my chair when she knows I’m pushing to do too much. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house the first couple weeks. But, once I got permission to go on “day trips” she’s been my chauffer. She continues in that capacity until I get permission to drive, hopefully at the six week point. During the first week, I was crazy with itching and knew I needed to get clean. She began my sponge baths. Even with my release to take showers now, I still can’t do it all myself and depend on her help. (And, I admit I’ll continue to milk that sympathy assistance as long as I can.)

By this point, I’ve finally adjusted my concept of recovery and rehab to a more realistic view. In other words, I finally accepted what the doctor was telling me. I was thrilled at my two-week follow up to hear I was doing good and even a little ahead of the expected schedule. The surgeon allowed me to go to a reduced sling early. This has allowed me to go back to my own clothing, and not the 3X shirts and sweat pants I was having to wear. He also went ahead and removed the bandages, and even the stiches. This meant I could finally take a shower. This was a big deal, because I couldn’t imagine 6 weeks without a shower. Though I’m not supposed to drive or can’t go back to “work” yet, he did release me from “house arrest.” If I kept progressing this well, he felt I’d get a full release and into rehab earlier than planned. I was thrilled. But, my response was to overdo it.

Released from "House Arrest" the day of Amelia's last volleyball game of the season. Plus, reduced sling and into my own clothes.

Released from "House Arrest" the day of Amelia's last volleyball game of the season. Plus, reduced sling and into my own clothes.

While I was still under homebound lockdown, I hated missing Amelia’s volleyball games. Deana provided play-by-play text messages from the games. I was extremely unhappy to receive a message that said Amelia had just served the winning point in the first game of their tournament. I didn’t like sitting here in my chair while the family went off to school events, shopping, and church. I got some interaction by hosting staff meetings and even an elder meeting here at the house. Visits from people who’d drop by with a meal or to say “Hi” made my day. We couldn’t even do anything as a family for Amelia’s 13th birthday because I couldn’t go anywhere. Amelia was great about it, and we had a little party as a family; but, I didn’t like it when she and Deana took off alone that Saturday to celebrate without me. I became so stir crazy I snuck out of the house a couple mornings before dawn to walk a couple blocks with the dog. I got caught sneaking back in one of those mornings and really got it from my nurse. When the surgeon gave me permission to leave the house for little trips, I tried to do everything. Amelia’s last volleyball game for the season was that night. That same week JJ had a father/son pizza party at school, Amelia marched with the H.S. band at a football game, the church did the “Boo on Ballard” outreach, we went to bankruptcy court to purchase property for the church. I did it all, and by the end of that week I was worse off than I had been when I visited the surgeon. Because I’m trying to be mindful of the bigger picture, and want to recover quickly and completely, I’ve cut back and am trying to live by the doctor’s orders.

I’m trying to find the balance of what I can and can’t do yet. I’m finally able to read, do computer work, make phone calls, etc. So, I’ve been able to work out of my home office and get some things done. I still sleep a lot and wear down quickly, but try to keep pushing a little more each day. Deana went with me to a breakfast this week with other pastors in town. Afterwards, she took me to vote. Then, I insisted she take me to the grocery store with her. It was against her better judgment, but I was adamant. I may have won the battle, but she proved her point. After getting our groceries, we got in line at the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. I sat down on the bench while she waited in line, and promptly dozed off. Yep, I was the old guy slumped over and snoring on the bench at the pharmacy window. I didn’t care too much until I found out later that one of our neighbors walked by and saw me.

Back at work (restricted). Video shoot celebrating Waterbrook's purchase of the Thomas Street property, with cameraman Mark Massey.

Back at work (restricted). Video shoot celebrating Waterbrook's purchase of the Thomas Street property, with cameraman Mark Massey.

I am feeling a little stronger each day. I’ve really cut back on the pain meds, so I’m still uncomfortable most of the time. I’m disappointed at how much sleep I still need. But, as my wife keeps telling me, my body is trying to heal and still needs lots of rest. I did convince Deana to take me into the church office today. We agreed to an hour, that I was able to stretch into three hours before she made me leave. She was right, it wiped me out. But, it felt soooo good to be “at work” and be around other people.

Next, I’m ready to begin therapy. I have some little exercises the surgeon said I could do to keep my arm limber. I’m still shocked at how little strength I have in my right arm and how much muscle tone I’ve lost in just a few weeks. I was doing some reading yesterday on different types of therapy useful for my specific surgery. I learned of an entire set of exercises designed for use with a stripper pole. I’ve got a call into the insurance company to see if they cover the cost of pole installation as part of rehab. Strictly for therapy purposes. Seriously, I know rehab will not be fun; but I’m eager to get full function back. I’m ready to get back to disc golf and playing the accordian.

What have I learned?
I’m still working on that question as I struggle through this recovery. I’ve definately learned to not take on more than six ninjas at a time. Seriously, it’s been a struggle for me to be so inactive. It’s hard for me to be still, so this is a good time for me to learn the value of rest and quiet. The lessons in humility are powerful. It’s uncomfortable to have to depend on others for practically everything. I spend so much of my time serving and helping others that I know the value in letting people serve you. I’ve taught and pushed other people for years about letting other people serve and minister to you when you’re in need. I’m very aware of my need to accept that counsel myself at this time. It’s still difficult. There’s also a certain amount of self-imposed guilt from being inactive. I’ve always worked hard, and been a bit of a workaholic. Especially having been at Waterbrook a little less than a year, I feel like I’m not living up to my commitment by being sidelined for an extended period of time. However, the church, leadership team, other staff, and general church family have been extremely gracious, and even insistent regarding my need to recover completely. Accepting that kind of care, without being overcome by feelings of inadequacy, is a taste of grace in a new way for me. I think that’s a lesson I’ll be digesting for a while yet.

The good news for today is that my mom and dad have arrived. It’s always nice to have your mommy when you don’t feel good. I suspect Deana may have called and asked for a break. A few days letting my mommy care for me will probably give my wife a little rest from being my home nurse. I’m actually looking forward to getting to hang with mom and dad without a full agenda of other things to do.

So, that’s the story thus far. I’m improving, but another three weeks away from being “officially” released to drive or go back to work. I’m ready to go. Ready to do. Ready to get back on the disc golf course. Except, I can’t find my golf discs. It’s like they’ve disappeared. Any ideas where they may be? Deana?

The Unexamined Life and All,

Homebound with Dad. Amelia celebrates her 13th birthday at home with a recovering dad.

Homebound with Dad. Amelia celebrates her 13th birthday at home with a recovering dad.

Posted: November 6, 2009 
Filed under: Denton Family, Jeff
Tagged: ,
Comments: 2 Comments


2 Responses to “Jeff’s Surgery & Recovery: Behind the Scenes”
  1. Patty Cook says:

    Hey Jeff,
    Loved your recounting of your surgical experience and recovery! Change a few pronouns and it could be mine……..brought back some really sweet memories! Thanks for sharing!

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Pat. I appreciate the comparison, but am aware your experience was much more intense. However, I think you’re still insisting on sponge bath assistance from Al.
    - Jeff

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