I apologize for the fact that I’m late in delivering this new post.   That is, if anyone even noticed that  I’m a few days past my deadline.  Five to be exact, if you happen to mark your calendar.  Which I highly doubt.  But that’s okay.  I don’t mind my usual timeliness being taken for granted.

In case you’re interested, I do have a good excuse.  No, it’s not the dog ate my homework, or in this case, my essay.  It’s better than that.

One week ago I had an encounter with an orthopedic surgeon.  And while I was under, and totally helpless, he performed a total replacement of my left shoulder.

“OMG,” I hear you gasp.  But stay calm.  It’s not as dire as it sounds.  Though not as common as rotator cuff repair, I believe a shoulder replacement is actually less stressful.  Imagine a hip replacement closer to your neck.  (Incidentally, if I might brag, my rotator cuff is in pristine condition, and apparently years younger than the rest of the left shoulder anatomy.)

The need for this particular fine tuning of my bones and cartilage was not a sudden event.  Rather, it was a gradual erosion over several years of my ability to use my left arm.

By the way, did I happen to mention that I was part of the 10% of Americans?  Before you hit me up for a loan, let me be clear that I am not referring to my bank account, but  to the fact that I’m left-handed.  So it figures that all the wear and tear would be on the left side, while the right hand has just been along for the ride.

And what was the source of this physical abuse? I’d like to say it was extreme tennis, or my early career as a discus thrower, but those would clearly be alternative facts.  The simple, unglamorous truth is osteoarthritis.  I have a left shoulder that has experienced many more birthdays than the rest of me!

Little things that I had always taken for granted were becoming stressful.  For example, hooking my bra was now a feat equal to competitive arm wrestling. And I was no longer able to sleep on my left side, which put me directly into the line of fire of the dissonant midnight serenade of my bed partner.

I had to quit golf this winter, which may actually qualify as a disguised blessing.  My computer mouse has been resting on the other side of the keyboard for months now.  And I became expert at the one-handed shampoo.

But I stoically perservered, trying to delay the inevitable.  Although I must admit that it was growing tiresome seeking out rest rooms where the toilet paper holder was located on the right.  And at times, even a little dangerous if the search took too long.

However, we all have our tipping points.  And mine came the morning I discovered the very inconvenient truth that I could no longer painlessly raise my left arm high enough to readily apply my eye makeup!

Call me vain, but could I really risk leaving the house with clumped eyelashes? Or eyeliner that no longer went on smoothly, but looked like a road in desperate need of repair?  Time to go under the knife.

I understand that the surgery went very well, but what do I know? I was fast asleep.  The big shocker upon awakening was that it felt like my entire left arm was missing.  For an instance, I panicked.  Had the surgeon done the repeal, but forgot to replace?  Turns out I was merely feeling, or not feeling, the effects of a nerve blocker.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the details.  (Actually, I’d love to bore you, but it’s too much trouble.   I can only type with one finger.)

I’m home now, recuperating, and actually feeling pretty good.  I’m stuck indoors for a while, but keeping quite busy.  Between icing my shoulder and doing my exercises, I hardly have time to go to the bathroom.  Which still requires that the toilet paper be on the right side.  At least for now.

And,  I’m now a card-carrying member of the spare parts club.  I was actually given a small document to carry in my wallet.  This is in the event that my new metal and plastic shoulder set off any airport security alarms.  Hopefully, it will assure the TSA workers that I have no intention of imploding.

I have every expectation of a complete recovery and fully restored range of motion of my left arm.  I look forward to resuming golf and perfectly applied eye makeup.  And returning the computer mouse back to its rightful place on the left side of the keyboard as I once again type future essays on time with two hands.

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