Mrs. Lion wrote about my MRI and visit with the Sports Medicine doctor. I have a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder. I got the injury last fall when I fell after eating dinner on a business trip. The pain isn’t constant. It varies by day and time of day. I have almost full use of my arm and shoulder. After physical therapy, almost all range of motion and strength is restored. At this point only narcotic pain meds are effective to fight the pain when it is bad.
After the MRI, it was clear that I have only two options: Live with the condition as it is, or get reattachment surgery. The surgery doesn’t require a hospital stay. But it does keep my arm in a sling for ten weeks. After that, a long course of physical therapy is needed to get me back to where I am now. After the surgery there is severe pain that requires narcotic pain relief.
I’m a space cadet when I take powerful pain meds. I think Mrs. Lion would have a hard time wanting to be with me if I had to take them for ten weeks. Worse, I can’t drive for at least that much time. I drive 25 miles each day to work. I can work from home some days, but I do have to show my face at least a few days a week. An Uber will cost about $50 each way. We can’t afford another $300 a week to get me to and from work.
Mrs. Lion has offered to transport me to and from work. She works 20 miles in the opposite direction. So, to take me to work she will have to drive 25 miles to my office, then 45 to hers. This is repeated at the end of the work day. I know she will do it, but I think it will wear her out and perhaps make me less attractive as her partner. Between the drugs, no help at home, and chauffeuring me to and from work, that’s just too much.
My other choice is to do nothing. I will have to live with the pain and take what little relief I get from Tylenol. I can’t take NCAID’s so that is my only non-narcotic choice. I don’t know whether the injury can tear further over time. I will ask my doctor about that this week. I made an appointment to get his views. Assuming the injury is unlikely to get worse, I have Hobson’s choice: I can get the difficult surgery or do nothing.
I know Mrs. Lion will support me if I decide to get the surgery. But her support could cause her to resent me and change our relationship forever. I will have to endure a long period of disability and pain. I like to sleep on my side. I won’t be able to do that after the. surgery. I should have a bed that elevates. We don’t have one and getting one is out of our budget.
It looks like the only choice I can make right now is to do nothing. Deep down inside I think this isn’t right. I worry that the tear could get worse until it is inoperable and the pain constant. I could lose the use of my arm. The decision to fix it our not isn’t mine alone. If I get surgery, it will affect Mrs. Lion too. I won’t do anything that could damage our relationship.
So there you have it; a real, live Hobson’s choice. It’s a life decision that transcends male chastity or domestic discipline. I debated whether or not to write this post. It doesn’t have anything to do with the blog’s topics. But it goes to the root of the very human subjects we write about: us. I have an appointment with our family doctor on Wednesday. I asked him to reserve enough time to discuss all the implications of this decision with me. I think I will invite Mrs. Lion to join me. This may be about my shoulder, but in reality it is about much more.