Shoulder Sham

I walk into my specialist’s office at 3.30pm; note my appointment was for 4.00pm. I let the receptionist know I’m here, and she directs me to the waiting area.

Sitting down, I discover the couch cushions are those strange air-filled ones, as the end I put my bag on sudenly explodes upwards and I hear the whooshing sound of it deflating to accommodate my butt. I scramble to tidy my upturned bag, trying not to look like a fumbling idiot. Cue the arrival of the specialist.


I pull myself together, shake his hand, and off we go. He has me confirm what happened, and then goes through his own assessment of The Shoulder.

He advised me he’s seen nothing wrong in my latest ultrasound, that it all looks quite okay actually. So, no MRI. However, he would like me to get an updated x-ray as I haven’t had one since The Night Of. I steel myself for the 2 week wait time, first to get the x-ray, and then for the followup appointment.

He hands me the radiology slip and accompanies me out of the office. Instead of turning me back to reception, though, in the hall he points towards an orange door and says

“Just right through there, come back and see me when you’re done.”

What? I go through The Orange Door and find a radiology clinic on the other side. The receptionist looks up at me and waves me over with my slip and takes me through for the x-ray.

At 4.01pm I’m back in the specialist’s waiting room for post-x-ray followup. What is this magic? No sooner has my butt hit the (admittedly forgotten) air cushions and burst up on the other side again, my specialist is waving me through again.
The x-rays are already on his comouter screen, and he’s scrolling through them similar to how I scroll through the bank statements of a finance application. Nothing concerning there, he decides, and settles to chat me through.

Chronic inflammation. At injury, my surrounding tissue created a padded room effect to protect the psychotic prisoner, sorry, I mean torn AC joint. It appears my body hasn’t recognised it’s healed and is keeping up the padded walls.

This is my interpretation, anyway, because I cannot for the life of me remember the terms he used.

So he mentions the steroid injection direct to the joint to nullify the inflammation. I’ve been reading up on these lately, because my PHD in google and self-doctoring had led me down that train of thought also. We agreed that would be the best course of action. He stands up and walks to the door:

“Excellent! I’ll go grab that.”

“Wait, what?”

“The injection. We can do that now?”

“Oh! Haha…”

“Great, so I’ll go grab…”


“Sorry, it only takes a moment.”

“No. No, I just can’t. Not today. I’m not great with needles.”

“…You have tattoos, and you’ve told me you’re on the Depo Injection.”

“Very observant, however what you fail to note is the fact that those require pre-booking so I’m mentally prepared, as well as loaded up on sugar, and I have a support person with me to stare at and squeeze the shit out of their hand.”

“Ah. Ok.”

He sits back down and doesn’t press the issue further. Thank heavens. We discuss the alternate treatment.

Once a day anti-inflammatory tablets for 6 weeks that compound to work better and better the longer they go, and isometrics to start again with the physio that would have happened had we gone ahead with the injection anyway.

The theory for both treatments being that the inflammation is reduced enough that recovery can be done as near to pain-free as possibly, and recovery consists of strengthening the joint and surrounding muscles so when the anti-inflams wear off the body recognises the area as being recovered.

He tells me the tablets will not work, but better to try than do nothing until I’m ready to proceed with the injection. We schedule a followup appointment for 6 weeks, when the prescription runs out, where he tells me we will be completing an injection because, again, this will not work.

I agree, we shake hands. He says he’s happy to fit me in earlier if I decide I just want to throw it all in and get the injection over with. I thank him and we go our seperate ways.

It’s officially been one week of taking those tablets and so far I feel no discernable difference. I’ve given myself a time limit of 3 weeks, 1 week for the goods to really kick in, 1 week of isometrics with my physio and feeling the immense pain of really using my shoulder again, and another week for the compounded meds + getting used to the exersises to start evening out.

Second week immense pain, bring it on.

And just in case you wanted to know, yes I have booked a friend to be my support person to drive me and let me crush their hand.




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