Summer Doldrums

In many ways, I am no longer the person I was. I was a visionary, administrator, choral conductor, and teacher. Now I am a budding sommelier, wine retailer, genealogist, and amateur musicologist who is dealing with the onset of old age.

Arthritis is a gift from both my parents, who I never realized were working through a lot of daily pain. Before I left South Dakota arthritic conditions showed up in spinal stenosis – for which I had surgery in 2017 – and also in the knuckle joints of my hands, probably the result of years of pounding the piano during choral rehearsals.

Monday I go into surgery for a rotator cuff repair. At this moment I cannot lift my right arm more than to a horizontal plane (I never realized how ridiculously right-handed I was until now). I could not conduct nor teach conducting at this moment if my life depended on it.

This condition can be blamed on many factors – 1) my work at Total Wine, which entails lifting/pushing many cases of wine; 2) my own yardwork/housework, which is quite strenuous, 3) working and playing with the Doberdork, which is active and arduous, although one would never know that from the image to the right, and 4) from degenerative arthritis growth in my shoulder.

It has been almost three months that my shoulder has not been right. I have not been able to do things without tremendous pain. And after the surgery I am likely to be even less that person until physical rehabilitation is completed. Those of you who know me will understand that this situation is not something with which I will happily comply. I will not be able  to  1) drive my sports car, 2) pilot my boat, 3) work at Total Wine, 3) do yardwork and gardening, 4) clean the house and do laundry, 5) go to the store, etc., etc.  I am hopeful that my desk can be configured in such a way that I can at least access the computer and work on such things as my wine professional study, Isaac motets, website, and genealogy. I will be in a sling that immobilizes my shoulder.

Ah well, perhaps God is telling me to take some downtime. It’ll make me appreciate what I do have.  It is annoying that it happens as the summer begins. It is the time of year when all the speed restrictions on the Caloosahatchee River are lifted because the manatees are far out in the Gulf. That means we can easily go by boat to downtown Ft. Myers (35 minutes) or all the way down to the Gulf, Ft. Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, St. James City and other cool spots within 90 minutes. <sigh> Maybe Michelle will finally consent to learn how to pilot the boat (ha!) Can’t wait to see her reaction when she reads this.

Seriously, this will place a huge burden on Michelle because she leaves for her job around 6:30-7:00am and gets home about 6:30pm. And she’ll have to do many of the things around here that I usually do in addition to driving me to physical therapy. Here’s hoping that I recover quickly and can at least drive the automatic transmission car within a short period. It will be a fun experiment learning to do things with my left arm.

Here’s hoping you’re all doing well. Drop me a line or a call if you get a chance. I’ll probably be available!  🙂

7 thoughts on “Summer Doldrums

  1. Prayers for success and speedy healing. I’m dealing with similar situation in a knee on one side, hip on the other side and lower spine. not fun!

  2. Hey Jim,
    I hope the surgery went well. I had rotator cuff surgery in late January 2012, and they had me up and doing PT a couple days after surgery. And although my right shoulder was in a sling against my body, I was still able to drive my stick shift Forester two days after surgery. Do the PT exercises religiously, and you’ll have your shoulder and arm back in no time. I was released from PT in early May, just three short months after surgery. The hardest part for me was finding a comfortable position to sleep.

  3. Thx Toni. Don’t know how extensive your surgery was, but mine was more intense than we’d hoped. Tendons sewed back together and re-attached to bone. Pretty impressive scarring for what was supposed to be an arthroscopic procedure. Off pain meds after four days (opiates, eeeww) and went to PT but am yet limited to wrist and elbow use in a sling. No driving for me for a while – not even automatic. Got a trackball setup that lets me run computer without moving shoulder, but this is being typed with left hand. Sleeping doesn’t seem to be too big a deal. I’ve been sleeping propped up for years. I’m gonna hope for the three month recovery, but skeptics think otherwise. Meanwhile my Deutsch y Español should improve. Not much else to do. Can do simple tasks while in sling and using left arm only. Dog is not impressed with my immobility.

  4. Hi!
    Just catching up on your news. Hope rehab is going well, and you aren’t too bored.
    Prayers for your recovery.

  5. Hello Jim, Just now I read this info about your pains and surgery. I do very little internet reading….
    So sorry about your condition. I do hope that you have recovered a good part of your physical capacities again. Can you drive your car or your boat again? I know you as a busybody and you must be frustrated.
    I keep my fingers cross that you will be able to come to Europe to see your friend and work on your Gallus. It would be so lovely to see you and Michelle again. I really had considered visiting with you last spring, but then Covid struck…
    I myself am fine, getting old, almost 82, but in good shape. I walk a lot. And go to the local swimming pool now that it is open again.
    Take care, get better and better fast.
    All the very best, Jutta

    1. Jutta, you are unique in this world. Michelle and I speak of you often. And Jackson and Rachel (now 27 and 24 years old!) remember you visiting us in South Dakota and visiting you in Paris. I am now driving my car (only the automatic transmission, not the convertible!) but have yet another 10 days in my shoulder sling, so the boat is off-limits and even the car is not something I do unless absolutely necessary. I miss most of all doing my yardwork. I hate watching someone else mow my lawn. I will likely be coming to Konstanz for recording sessions or performances in the next year.

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