Things that Hurt When Your Rotator Cuff is Effed Up

So it would seem that, when one is a passenger in a car and is wearing a seatbelt, and the back passenger car is hit with enough force to throw the car sideways into one’s yard and bend the damned frame, one can suffer some pretty major injuries. And at first, it may seem like just general muscle soreness. And it will hurt a little bit when one makes certain movements, much like if one had overdone it at the gym a couple of days prior. Or maybe one lifted a toddler the wrong way. But when one is stubborn and refuses treatment, thinking it is minor and will just go away, one is making a big-ass mistake.

So yeah, that’s me. I should’ve known something waas wrong, as pulled muscles don’t not get better over almost 2 months. And I don’t go to the gym. The only lifting I do, other than random child-lifting maneuvers, is a fork to my mouth. Still, it hurt to lift my arms to the side. I could lift it straight forward, but not to the side. “Abduct” for my A&P cronies. (Hells, yeah, I remember my terms from Human A&P 101!) I knew I was sore from the accident and my ER peeps warned me that it would take awhile for the soreness to go away. And, incidentally, “awhile” is a relative term. “Awhile” as in a week? A month? Maybe two?

But it wasn’t getting better and John and I had justt discussed that I probably needed to get it looked at. The pain wasn’t excruciating. Just a little annoying. But we forget sometimes. We forget that I am the dumbass who, after having my left knee reconstructed, walked my happy ass in the house without crutches because, hey, it didn’t hurt that bad. I am also the crazy one who had 50+ contractions an hour for months with two pregnancies, and only wanted to go to a hospital if the baby was coming out. My pain tolerance makes me no such a good judge of when something is becoming a problem.

So Friday night at work, hell unleashed. Lucifer came out of his underground shell to teach me that I am not invincible. We had 10 codes in about 5 hours, some of which were simultaneous. Most of them were on my pattients in the ICU. The bad news is that, even if they weren’t, if resuscitation attempts are successful, they are coming to me anyway to keep them alive. There were hours of chest compressions, hours of being hunched over a bed, clasping a mask to patient faces while I bagged patients during CPR. There was lots of pushing/ pulling ventilators and other life support equipment, crash carts, etc. up and down hallways. The shit went on for hours. And let me tell you something about CPR if you have been fortunae enough to never have to use the little outdated Red Cross card you have in your wallet–chest compressions? on a real human? They’re quite a workout. I mean, you’re pumping the chest 100 times per hour at a force that is enough to break ribs. And bagging a patient? Whose body has its own agenda? Well, that kind of takes a little bit of force, too. One day, I swear, I will have Popeye forearms.

So after all was said and done, my entire body was sore. And my arm? Well, it was screaming at me. SCREAMING! Still, I popped some Motrin and went to bed. And went back to work. More ICU fun. And by Sunday, I wasn’t worth crap. I couldn’t lift my right arm to wash or brush my hair. I couldn’t lay in certain positions. I couldn’t even lean against the back of the recliner unless I was positioned just so. When I tried to do homework and struggled, it was time and I went to the ER.


The hypothesis–and I say “hypothesis” because we can’t be sure until a specialist sees me–is that my right rotator cuff was injured in the accident. And that, after said accident, my retardation and stubbornness have resulted in a worseniing of the injury. And thus I have to see an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow. But nothing prepared me for the stupid list of things that would hurt, and I was told that, if it hurts, I shouldn’t do it until further notice. So here is a list of the stupid shit I cannot do, and somewhere in cyberspace, there is someone reading this who googled “rotator cuff injury” and ended up on my stupid post. I’ll bet that person is pissed. If that’s you, feel free to leave a comment to let me know.

Bitchypants’ List of Shit That Hurts When Your Rotator Cuff is Effed the Eff UP

Washing my hair

Brushing my hair


Liftting a toddler

Picking up a single fucking toy from the floor

Pulling the refrigerator door open

Pushing a anything


Rotating my torso

Writing-yes, writing–it hurts to push the pen that little amount

Highlighting passages in my text books

Laughing too hard

Putting on a sock and shoe

Getting dressed

Wearing a bra

Reaching for anything

Turning the page of a book

Cutting food with a fork (If you think about it, it involves pushing the fork into the food.)

Laying on my side/ back/ front. I guess I’m supposed to sleep on my head.

Wiping up a spill

Typing for a long period (short bursts are okay.)


I’m sure this list will grow as I try do more and discover whatever it is hurts. I will not be shocked if the orthopedic surgeon immobilizes my arm tomorrow. I will also not be shocked if I end up having my fat ass shoved into the narrow tube of an MRI scanner sometime this week. More later.


2 thoughts on “Things that Hurt When Your Rotator Cuff is Effed Up

  1. That SUCKS. Isn’;t it amazing how things you NEVER would have thought were related are suddenly really hurty? Like backing your car out of the driveway. That’s gonna hurt. Even if you don’t use that arm.

    I would totally hug you, but. . .. that would hurt.

    Blowing you a smooch!

  2. Pingback: Worrying at a Break-Neck Pace « bitchypants

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