Grateful recovery from a frozen shoulder

Japanese maple

This week a painful arm condition threatened to limit my expression as a professional writer and amateur photographer. On Tuesday morning I went to emergency with some of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. It was frozen shoulder, in which the connective tissue becomes inflamed and tightens on the joint. It is temporary, but I heard from friends that recovery could take months. Most patients regain about 90 percent of movement in the arm affected.

At emergency I took a steroid shot into the shoulder capsule. This in itself was hard on my body and mind because I’m squeamish about needles. With pain increasing at night and disrupting sleep, the next day it was even worse. By Thursday morning I still couldn’t lift the arm at all. I went for a walk but even the slight swinging of my arm made it painful and wore me out.

I didn’t become angry and afraid. I’m glad to say the experience brought out an edge of willpower, resourcefulness and patience I hardly recognize in myself. I wish I could say I face every trial so courageously. I kept trying different ways to gently move my favoured arm, keep it flexible, exercise the muscles. I explored the edge of pain but didn’t overdo anything. I read, listened to music, and spent more time than usual meditating. I felt frustration but didn’t take it out on my body. I wish I could say I’m always this kind to other people.

Friday morning I awoke without constant pain. I was able to lift my arm 60 degrees. I wielded a camera on the morning walk and took these celebratory photos. Now the arm only hurts when I make a wrong move or spend too much time in an uncomfortable position. I’ve been able to cut back on Advil. The shoulder is no longer tender to touch and I can lift the arm 90 degrees. I haven’t tried driving yet because reaching still hurts.

Although recovery will take time, today I’m grateful for a dramatic improvement, for being able to lift a camera to my eye, and for being able to write as much as I choose. Nothing lasts forever but for now writing is still my living, and my best connection to the healer within.

November green

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