You Say Your Arm Hurts, Bunky?

     I’ve got a frozen shoulder.  Naturally, there are some wannabe doctors wandering through our ranks at the ping pong club, and advice is freely offered (if not well received).  So, one guy in particular (not to be named – “this story is true but the names have been changed to protect the innocent”) comes over to me and says that I have to put ice on it in the form of a bag of frozen peas. That sounded totally ludicrous to me, because frozen broccoli should work, too, right?  And I only buy frozen broccoli – you know, the Birds Eye broccoli florets.  But this frozen vegetable expert, Pea Brain (this is not his real name, by the way), insisted on only ice peas.  I kind of rebuffed him with this:  Thanks for your help, but I don’t need any ice – my shoulder is already frozen!  

     The guy this pea-brained  doofus was playing ping pong with, his equal as an unrestrained  unqualified medical advisor  (a boastful buffoon), asserted unflinchingly  that I needed heat, not ice.  I sent him packing with this:  Thanks, but the cops are already after me, I don’t need any more heat! (Ed.  total flapdoodle/screwy-hooey). 

    Then there was this other sage, who said I needed an injection of some gooey stuff, the name of which he couldn’t remember, only that his next door neighbor got it and his shoulder was okay in a matter of minutes.  He said it gives you a cushion.  And still another know-it-all – an unemployed  lawyah, no less – told me I needed to have my shoulder massaged, and then not to do anything for a month (like him).

    I think the person who made the most sense, however, was the 11 year old son of one of my neighbors, who heard me complaining about my shoulder pain to his father.  This kid said he thinks it would be a good idea if I went to a bone doctor.   Sounded like good advice, so …. I did.  To an orthopod (orthopedic surgeon) I went, to have a consultation with one Dr. Glenoid Fossa.  After spending a few seconds discussing stretching and anti-inflammatory medication, this guy with the caduceus on his white coat was talking about a shoulder replacement.  Whoa! Whoa!  Hold on just a second, Kimosabe!  You mean you can’t do anything else?  I mean something less drastic?  Well, he says shaking his head negatively,  saying You’ve (me) got an advanced case of adhesive capsulitis here.  You’ve already loss some mobility and range of motion, which probably accounts for why you’re losing to everyone at the table tennis club lately.  Yes, your arthritis predisposes you to this unfortunate state of affairs, and if we don’t do something aggressive, this could be permanent.  Well,  I pooh-poohed the great white-haired  healer’s advice, because he was also counseling a brain transplant, which I told him was totally out of the question and unprofessional, considering he wasn’t even a neurosurgeon.

    Ah, well, my shoulder was still aching bad.  Real bad!  I couldn’t sleep on my right side or my left side … or on any side.  So I tried sleeping standing up.  It made sense, don’t knock it.  Well, I tried it for a couple of nights, but it didn’t work too good.  My feet fell asleep, alright, but not the rest of me.

Editor:  So, Lau Du, what happened?  Did you end up going for surgery?

Lao Du:  Hell no!  The guy wanted 21 grand for a 3 hour procedure, and said he was going to use a plastic implant.  I told him I wanted titanium, and would pay only a 25 dollar copay and Medicare would take care of the rest.  He used an expletive – I won’t repeat it here – and he threatened to call hospital security if I didn’t skedaddle real quick.  

Editor:  Then what happened?

Lao Du:  I skedaddled!


Editor:  I’ve done a little research on frozen shoulder.  The relevance to people with Parkinson’s Disease (PwP), is that they, along with those suffering from diabetes,  hyperthyroidism,  heart disease, arthritis and trauma (overuse) are predisposed to suffering  this disorder.  A frozen shoulder causing loss of mobility and a reduced range of motion can be dangerous (can cause permanent damage), usually affecting individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 and disproportionately affecting women.  Physical therapy is the key element in treating it, and can include ultrasound, electrical stimulation, weight/strengthening exercises as well as stretching to increase range of motion.  (And some even recommend ice.)  Recovery can be slow (months and years).  See your physician.  And … if you see Lau Du at the club, tell him to try frozen corn, of which he obviously has an abundant supply.

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