My Christmas Day

It’s Christmas in Bangkok, and I’m pretty miserable. Yesterday I spent much of my time at Bangkok’s snazzy Bumrungrad Hospital, getting an MRI of my shoulder and speaking with various specialists.

Today I returned to discuss the MRI results and was left pretty miserable by what they told me. I knew my day would be a bad one when the doctor started the discussion saying, “I had no idea from our earlier talk that the tear in your shoulder was anything like what the MRI is telling me.”

I don’t know much about anatomy, but I know enough to make me depressed. Two orthopedic surgeons went over all the MRI images with me to point out that the suprascapular (sp?) tendon is not simply damaged, it is absolutely gone, retracted into some cave where it’s become totally atrophied. The biceps tendon also seems irreparable so they’re just going to remove it.

That’s the good part. The upsetting thing about the procedure is that in order to replace the suprascapular, they need to do a graft, slicing up generous portions of my back and leg to borrow muscles for the replacement. Once that’s been done, I need to wear some special device for two months to keep the arm in a splint. It’s hard to describe, but the bottom line is that for 8 weeks I’ll appear to be holding up my right hand to take an oath. How I am going to survive like this for two months is beyond me. I won’t be able to type, and my whole life is about writing.

Okay, sorry to bitch and moan so much. It’s Christmas Day and I have 36 hours before I check into my new home so I’ll try to look at the bright side of things. But this has been one hell of an ordeal, and it’s far from over. Six months of therapy follow the removal of the splint. Can’t wait.

Needless to say, come Saturday my blogging is going to come to a screeching halt. Shit.

Have a wonderful Holiday, and thanks for visiting.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 13 Comments

Jeez, that’s awful. You have my best wishes and sympathy. We’ll miss your blog – perhaps you could dictate?

December 25, 2003 @ 5:32 pm | Comment

Or maybe you could use some sort of voice-recognition software?

Anyway, my condolences. What a shitty thing to have happen — and on Christmas yet. I’ve had my share of holiday health disasters — on three occasions I’ve spent Christmas in the ER with asthma — but nothing like this. Hang in there! (if you’ll pardon the expression)

December 25, 2003 @ 5:39 pm | Comment

Thanks guys. This too shall pass, like everything else.

December 25, 2003 @ 11:35 pm | Comment

Are you really quitting blogging for good?

December 26, 2003 @ 2:16 am | Comment

Bon rétablissement et bonne continuation.

Kevin

December 26, 2003 @ 11:31 am | Comment

Sorry to hear that Richard. I completely destroyed my elbow a few years ago and needed surgery and rehab. I remember well how much it sucked. It sounds like you’ve got it even worse than I did. You’ve got my sympathy.

December 26, 2003 @ 1:10 pm | Comment

Thanks guys.

Una, I am not quitting blogging. I am just going to have to stop for several days while I am in the hospital. But if I know Thailand, if I’m willing to pay for it they’ll find a way for me to get online, even in the operating room.

December 26, 2003 @ 1:38 pm | Comment

You as well have my best wishes and sympathies. Here’s hoping that you’ll find a way to type, or find someone who’ll do the typing for ya.

December 26, 2003 @ 3:34 pm | Comment

Heck, if Steven Hawking can manage it…

December 26, 2003 @ 6:21 pm | Comment

Thanks for the comparison, Vaara! Have a great holiday.

December 27, 2003 @ 12:49 am | Comment

Damn Richard, that sucks, but at least you’re in the hands of a capitalist medical system, in the PRC it seems that they just sucked regardless (not like I need to tell you that, it’s your shoulder!)

Good luck with everything, and heal well and quickly!

Cheers,

David Mercer

December 27, 2003 @ 4:26 am | Comment

If you are going to be back in the States soon, why not wait to get some real medical attention?

There’s a reason that your own home town hospital, St. Joe’s and the Barrow Neurological Center, has patients visit worldwide.

And, lest you forget, the larger of the two Mayo Clinics is in North Phoenix.

After reading these two past posts, I rename you Eeyore.

December 27, 2003 @ 4:45 am | Comment

If only real life worked that way!

April 7, 2005 @ 3:41 am | Comment

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