Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Request for Information: Dear Reader, Can You Help?


Retired Educator here, the prof-de-rien that you may know from Twitter or other forums.  Yes, it also falls upon me to channel Bianca Castafiore and to blog about the happenings within a fictive construction of Georges Prosper Remi (Hergé)'s Marlinspike Hall.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will be making a surgical date to have my left shoulder removed, which will leave me with something called a "flail arm."  I'm not sure, but I think the process might be described as a "fibrous pseudarthrosis," if you consider permanent removal of a shoulder prosthesis as being the conceptual equivalent of a [huge] non-union fracture!

I am an above average researcher but am having difficulty gathering any information that would be of actual use to an actual person.  When it comes to anatomy, physiology, and the understanding of movement, I am probably better considered "challenged."  In sum, I need the help of firsthand narratives written by people who understand.

Yes, I've asked my surgeon what I might expect after this surgery.  Several times now.  He furrows his brow and then -- eerily -- always gives the same answer:  "Well, sometimes people can learn to use scar tissue as a sort of muscle to move the arm.  Some people are even able to bring their hand to their mouth." He illustrates his answer -- again, eerily -- by miming someone who looks afflicted with Quasimodo's hump, bent over a steaming bowl of pungent cabbage soup and  ladling its contents in the general direction of his face.

Can you, or someone you know, help me out with practical information and advice?  My surgeon is top-notch and very kind but I hate to make him go through all those gyrations again tomorrow!

Thanks much!
Sincerely yours,

Retired Educator / profderien / Castafiore Medium

P.S.  Two of the more common causes of "flail arm" are Post Polio Syndrome and Trauma Brachial Plexus Injury (TBPI) -- but those conditions are radically different from my situation of losing a shoulder prosthesis due to osteomyelitis and CRPS.  This search for a narrative to match my own may be an exercise in severe futility!

P.P.S.  Though I don't have PPS, Roger Brown's page on "Post Polio and Music" is precisely the kind of reference I am searching for.  But it's not enough...

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