Saturday, July 18, 2015

When one hand is not enough

About 2 months ago, while playing basketball I felt some pain in my shoulder.  Having dislocated it 5 times in the past, I wasn't too worried about it.  I took some normal precautions of rest, ice, antiinflammatory medicine and PT exercises to strengthen my shoulder.  After a month, it was still hurting me, and so I started to wear a sling on my R arm while at my house for some relief from the pain.  The sling did help at night, but my shoulder was still bothering me during the day while working.  I tried to rationalize that I needed my R arm to work, but finally, I broke down and started wearing the sling full time and have now become a one handed doctor with helpers.

We have a volunteer family here and their 19 yo daughter wants to be a doctor, so she has agreed to be my scribe. Marissa joins me on rounds and in the clinic, writing my notes for me.  In payment for being my scribe, I try and teach Marissa a little something about medicine - what I am hearing, doing, feeling, and thinking. She seems to be enjoying the chance to be in the hospital and learning about medicine, and my shoulder is enjoying the rest of being able to be immobilized throughout the day. Ben and Jim have also volunteered their surgical services to cover my C-sections when I am on call, which is a blessing as well.   
I have had practice doing things with my left hand, having injured my R shoulder before, but I am now testing my L handed abilities even more.  I have learned how to drain abscesses, perform lumbar punctures and ultrasound all with my left hand.  My L handed writing still needs work, so Marissa is a huge help.  I am not sure what I have done to my shoulder, but I know I need to get it fixed, my one handed doctoring can only go on so long.  I will be coming back to the US on July 20th and having shoulder surgery on the 24th, with the hopes that I can return to PNG mid-September. 

I would covet your prayers for me and my shoulder during this time.  Pray for the surgeon and the surgery on the 24th, for my travels, for my recovery and the physical therapy that I will need to do after the surgery to get my shoulder back working again.  Thank you.