A friend recently told me; “If I knew I would live this long I would have taken better care of my body.”
I agree with him because of my own experiences. Viet Nam injuries along with a motorcycle wreck while riding down a volcanic mountain; we called it Habu Hill after the poisonous Habu snakes on the island of Kume Jima, Japan; has left me with prosthetic hip and knee joints in both legs. And now I am recovering from surgery to replace my right shoulder joint with what is called “a reverse shoulder prosthesis.”
My wife Bonney calls me “My Bionic husband.”
One of the most serious consequences of my surgery was from the use of a combination of a nerve block along with general anesthesia. For me, the after effects of the nerve block lasted much longer than the anesthesia. The entire right side of my body was left weakened, both arm and leg. The combination of the weakened leg along with having my operated arm tied tightly to my chest with a sling left me in a state where I could not balance myself to walk!
The hospital solution was to provide me with a Hemi Walker. This object looked to me like a miniature step ladder but I could not walk without it. Very soon I was faced with the problem that I would trip myself when I caught my toe on one of the legs but the combination of sling and nerve block effects left me with no choice. After several weeks I realized I needed to take some responsibility for my recovery.
I remember seeing a little old lady using a cane with four little legs at the bottom. I searched the internet and found a small base quad cane for $27 and ordered it.
Several weeks later I could remove the arm sling strapped to my body and today I am back to using a standard cane.
I have learned several things from this experience
- Weakness from a nerve block takes some time to go away.
- It takes me longer to recover from surgery with advancing age.
- I must take some responsibility for my recovery.