On The Other Hand

On The Other Hand

Well, I am now scheduled for rotator cuff surgery for 15 February. I have a partial tear that requires correction, and the surgeon says to reduce impingement, he may also have to relocate my biceps tendon. I had first been given a 29 February date for surgery, and have been practicing my harmonica like mad, so I could still do those all-important St P gigs even if I was in a sling. I don’t plan to play guitar for some time, as strumming will probably be the last ability that returns after surgery. But I am hopeful that I can play tin whistle and perhaps even accordion a month after surgery. Doctor says two weeks in a sling, and 3-4 weeks out of work, which implies many normal activities will be possible within a month.
So there is the question, for fellow musicians who have been through similar surgery, how quick do things come back?
(And if you will pardon some whining, or whinging, it has been a tough time as PT proved fruitless, I had to give up playing for months, tests have revealed other potential problems—I will be happy to get this behind me!)

Re: On The Other Hand

Oh man. Sorry to hear that, hope it all turns out well, and soon. Wish I had something more constructive for you—but my shoulder problems did not need surgery, so my experience isn’t really relevant.

Bright side: A good chance to listen to other people play, without distracting yourself.

Torn rotator cuff surgery ~

Damn Al, sorry to hear this, OUCH! I have had ‘other’ injuries and operations, and I’d guess an average of at lest 6 months before I could really start testing things again… Several folk I’ve known in similar situations have had to retrain themselves, with patience, slowly, to ‘test’ things and work around them, avoiding tension. That’s one problem with injury, it can promote tension, something to be aware of and to iron out…

I have a torn shoulder blade that still acts up now and then and interferes with the better parts of me. A dancer who got carried away in swinging, and carried a good bit of weight too, caused the tear… A good physiotherapist is a God send, as too water therapy…

Best of luck!

"before I could really start testing things again…" ~ but, I did a lot of testing beforehand too… As if I could just accept my plight. I probably prolonged the healing by being an impatient twit…

Re: On The Other Hand

I hope all goes well for you Al.
Shoulder problems are a real bummer..I wake up every day with shoulder pain..like someone sticking a screwdriver into them ..

Re: On The Other Hand

God bless, Al. I’ve never had an injury like yours, so nothing to compare to. I have a feeling you’ll be playing before too long, even if it is just a shaky egg.

Re: On The Other Hand

I had four vertebrae in my neck replaced with a titanium cage about Sept. 1. (The issue is metastasized lung cancer which went to the spine.) I worried that I might not recover the use off my left hand. I’m back to being able to play concertina though still off the fiddle— I suppose I should try fiddle to see if that’s become possible. My sister had rotator cuff surgery and needed about six months to fully recover. Keep after the music—it does wonders for the spirit.

Re: On The Other Hand

The old ‘cliche’ comes to mind - your health is your wealth and we should appreciate it when we have it and never take it for granted etc. Good luck with the operation and trust it all works out.

Posted .

Re: On The Other Hand

Get well soon Al - I’m sorry you won’t be pitching for the Red Sox this year as planned - but I’ll be sending good vibes Eastward for a speedy recovery and return to your music.

Re: On The Other Hand

Hey Al, me too! I found out this morning my rotator cuff surgery is Feb. 16.

Sounds like you’re getting off easier than me. Have to keep my shoulder immobile for 6 weeks, which means no box playing at all for that time.

I’ve been able to play for limited periods of times since my injury which was back in November, but the arm gets tired after about 20 minutes. I’ve recently gone back to sessions and tried to keep up, but just can’t do it.

I’ve really missed playing with the band, and will definitely miss St. Pat’s, but that’s life.

Best wishes to you!

The understanding of friends ~

rogfox reminds me, and others here, of how understanding people can be, meaning that in a dance, for instance, when someone can’t swing, or they need to be careful not to get too dizzy, for whatever reason, our little group automatically makes amends. The same was true in sessions I’ve been party to being involved intimately with. If a young person came in and needed something to be taken more relaxed, we welcomed them and gladly gave them what they wanted. So a few tunes in the evening, or dances, can be tailored for the needs of valued members / friends. I’ve no doubt, the frustrations aside, you like to hear it too. So, as you recover, attend sessions and listen, chat, and as you can, ask to take things the way you’ll need to, for the time being. A few such moments in an evening isn’t asking too much ~ among friends and he considerate. There will always be the inconsiderate, but mostly, all moaning aside about assholes, most folks are kind, or at least wanting to be… Give them the chance to earn their good Scout badge, to do their good deed, and to enjoy the occasional tune or set relaxed. That, really, is good medicine for all, and will likely improve keeping it all ‘together’ and ‘in time and tune’, as well…

Community

It’s what community is about, or should be about. And that was always an important part of tradition too, and still is for many of us…

It’s something a certain publican in another thread may have missed, but not uncommon where business is concerned…

Re: On The Other Hand

Good luck Al. I dodged this (it wasn’t rotator cuff) so haven’t had the surgery, but I do know that unfreezing the frozen muscles that the sling etc create is pretty tough—the stretching really hurts, but then one day the muscle finally breaks free (nice image there), and no more pain. Theoretically.
That’s what I’ve heard, anyway.

Re: On The Other Hand

Thanks to all for the kind wishes, and best wishes to all of you who are facing struggles of your own.
And, Jusa, I indeed have given up hope of pitching in the big leagues this year. Or AAA. Or AA. Or even A. 😉
The thing I’ve taken from this is not to have any firm expectations about what the recovery will be like.
Just came from a band practice, and actually, things are working well with me playing nothing but harmonica with only my left hand. So even if I am still in a sling, or limited by my recovery, I will not miss playing on St Patrick’s Day.
And yes, ceolachan, that community is what it’s all about!
Thanks again, everybody.

Re: On The Other Hand

Best of luck with a quick recovery. About a couple of years ago I had to take a break from playing for about 4 months due to quadruple bypass heart surgery. I think the break actually improved my playing. Gave me time to really listen and think about how to correct some bad playing habits. Wish you all the best.

Posted by .

Re: On The Other Hand

Al, as far as looking at the bright side goes - how often in your life do you get a chance to focus in on one instrument to the exclusion of all others? I suspect you’re going to make some leaps and bounds harmonica-wise in the coming months.

Re: On The Other Hand

Yeah, it is good to see this community showing what it really is….

Hang in there Al. I’ve "been around (but personally avoided) rotator cuff surgery. Recovery varies with the person, but things will come back. And, Jimi is spot on about what a layoff can do for you.

Best of luck

Chuck Boody

Re: On The Other Hand

best of luck to you and your ‘tater cuff - we’ll be thinking of you!

Re: On The Other Hand

From above, Jusa Nutter Eejit and Atahualpa Quigley,

"Good Vibes Eastward"

That should be a tune, for Al!

Hey Jim, Fiddle4, are you out there? I’m thinking a lively, bouncy, simple jig.

Re: On The Other Hand

Al…are you getting any type of therapy?
I hope for full recovery for you.
I had the same injury.
I tore my rotator cuff about a year and a half ago.
Carried the arm around in a sling for a few days.
Discussed the surgery, but opted for therapy instead.
It was really sore for a few months, and is still not quite 100%
but everything is working just fine…..and the surgery would have entailed a fairly long recovery too, and would not guarantee any better results .
Best of luck to you whatever you choose.

Re: On The Other Hand

Oh, dear, take care.
Currently, I’m in physical therapy for my shoulder. I fell a couple of weeks ago. They didn’t do an MRI, yet, trying out therapy. I go back to see the shoulder doc on the 29th.
I am a substitute teacher, and do music/enrichment gigs at the schools here, too. So, when I can’t work, I don’t get paid. No sick leave. I tried not to read through the posts too much, scary.
In 1990, I was in a car accident and didn’t play for 4 1/2 years, until I had a spinal fusion.

Re: On The Other Hand

Tried physical therapy, but ten weeks of physical therapy left my arm a good bit weaker instead of stronger, so it looks like surgery is the only option that will give me full use of the arm back.
Worse come to worse, though, and although I miss the other instruments, I am beginning to enjoy focusing on the harmonica.
Sorry to hear about similar problems from others, and best wishes for healing to all of you!

Re: On The Other Hand

AlBrown, I cannot speak directly from personal experience with your type injury (rotator cuff tear). But, if the physical therapy is not helping you need an alternative. You seem confident in the procedure & the surgeon.
We’re all wanting the best for you in the recovery, physio, & continuation with music.
I’m doing a bit of research. I’m sure it isn’t anything you haven’t already investigated.
http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/r/rotator-cuff-injury#textBlock244589

Cheers!

p.s. I had the best physical therapist ever (right hand injury). She was ruthless, but always played grand musical recording during the therapy. I wish I played harmonica. Although, I tell myself I mastered playing one-handed, left hand on top, ambidextrous 4-finger tinwhistle tunes, with the 2 bottom notes missing. Mind you it was never around other humans & only for a matter of weeks.

The best for you.

Posted by .

Re: On The Other Hand

Here is the ABC notation for "Good Vibes Eastward", the jig I wrote today for Al Brown, as suggested in this thread.

This is my first ABC notation, so please let me know of corrections.

To anyone who emails me personally — with Good Vibes Eastward in the subject line — I will email this ABC, the dot notation, and an MP3 of me playing this tune.

Good Vibes Eastward
ABC notation

%abc-2.1
X:1
T: Good Vibes Eastward
r: for Al Brown
R: Jig
r: Typical form AABB.
r: I wrote out the repeats because they are different.
C: Ned Phoenix (aka vlnplyr) Feb. 6, 2012
Z: NP
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
Q: 3/8=106
K: G

D | GGG G2B | A2F G2B | ccd e2g | d3- d2d |
eef g2e | d2B G2B | c2d e2c | a3 D2F |
GGG GAB | A2F G2B | ccd efg | d3- dga |
b2a g2f | gfe d2f | ged B2 A | G3- G2 ||

a | b2a b2a | gfe d2a | b2a gfg | a3- a2a |
bag agf | gfe d2f | ged c2B | A3 g2a |
b2a b2a | gfe d2a | bag f2g | a3- aga |
bag agf | gfe d2f | ged B2A | G3- G2 |]

chords
G | D G | C | G |
C | G | Am | D |
G | D G | C | G |
G Em | C D | Em D | G ||

G | Am D | G | D |
G D | C G | Am | D |
G | Am D | G |D |
G Am | Em D | C D | G |]

You may play only G chord throughout the last 5 lines (last 20 mss),
except for the D chords written.
Part B: You may play Em chord instead of the G chords,
except the last chord must be G.
Or mix and match to taste.

Chords add flavor, thus changing emotions of tunes.
This allows Al to play more Em chords in this tune while he is recovering,
and more G chords when he is happier 🙂

This is playable on harmonica, tho you may have to practice some.
I left out the low E, which is not on the G harmonica;
other instruments may occasionally include the E.
Play ornaments to taste and to fit your instrument.

The high a and b notes are, of course, Al Brown’s initials.
Best Wishes and Happy Musicmaking!
vlnplyr

Re: On The Other Hand

Thanks very much!!! And thanks for leaving out the low E’s, since I do not own one of the Paddy Richterized harps. I am touched by everyone’s kind words!

Re: On The Other Hand

surgery went well. typing with one hand for a while.

Re: On The Other Hand

Hope you make the best possible recovery Al.

Re: On The Other Hand

Here’s to a speedy recovery, Al. Best of luck!

Re: On The Other Hand

Oversharing, Al.

… oh, or did you mean because your hand is out of commission? 🙂

Re: On The Other Hand

Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery, Al.