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Shoulder update – post surgery

All I remember is that I was lying down on the patient trolley and was being taken to the surgery room. I don’t recall when they administered the anesthesia and I have no recollection of the surgery room. When I finally came to senses, I opened my eyes and saw Manju’s smiling face as if to indicate that the surgery went well.

The BIG news was that the doctor told Manju that he DID NOT have to use the extra graft-jacket patch which he was thinking of using to help bring the muscle to the bone. He was successful in pulling the torn muscle back to the bone and stitch them together in the traditional way. This was quite a bit of relief for me since the use of the patch is still experimental and its success rate is not well documented.

An unfortunate "byproduct" of the shoulder surgery was that the heavy dose of anesthesia put my bladder to sleep as well. As a result I found that I was unable to urinate effectively. In fact, when they tested the bladder, it contained in excess of 1 liter of urine whereas normally it shouldn’t be holding more than half of that amount at any time. The urologist who came in to check me out ordered a catheter to be inserted so as to help empty the bladder. For reasons that he kept to himself, he asked that I carry the bladder for ten days. That turned out to be the most painful experience! The presence of the catheter and the resulting pain made it hard for me to sit, walk or sleep in any level of comfort. So, finally on the tenth day when they took the catheter out, it was like getting a new life back!

Another unfortunate but well known "byproduct" of the heavy dosage of pain killers is the onset of severe constipation. If you have ever experienced constipation, you know how bad it gets and how uncomfortable you can feel when constipated. Despite a daily dose of stool softeners, I still had my share of severe constipation which I was able to relieve every 2-3 days through the use of a suppository.

Gradually, things are getting back to normal. I am down to one pain pill a day, that too on an as-needed basis. I am supposed to keep my arm in a sling for about four weeks. I will not be able to drive for almost eight weeks. A lot of the burden to drive me around falls on my wife, Manju’s strong shoulders.

Based on my experience with the previous surgeries on both my shoulders (also for torn rotator cuff) I know that the recovery is slow. It may take up to one year to gain full strength and ROM back. However, I plan to start teaching all my yoga classes in the next day or so. As before I will use the help of one of the students to demonstrate the various poses for the benefit of the rest of the class.

This morning, for the first time after the surgery, and just a day after the catheter was taken out, I had the desire, the energy and the enthusiasm to go through my complete routine of pranayama and meditation. I am not sure how much of the asana practice I will be able to incorporate into my daily routine, but I plan to continue with the pranayama and meditation practices.

I am looking forward to the upcoming 12-day pranayama/meditation intensive that will be held Nov 13-24. Please contact me if you would like to sign up.

8 comments to Shoulder update – post surgery

  • Sanjay

    Dear Subhashji,
    Thank you, for sharing this experience. I am glad you are recovering well and the surgery went well!
    Kudos to your spirit and enthusiasm

    With best wishes,


  • Shekhar Bikmal

    Dear Subhash ji,

    I am pleased to see your email message,I was feeling, that why so long no information. Any how God helps to the good people.

    I never told to you or to my son, Harish, that I fallen while getting down from a Bus in Hyderabad,India. That made me a big problem, I was not able to lift the hand up. I undergone physical therapy for a long time. Later on one Orthopedic surgeon told me that he will operate and do some help. By that time I lost my wife, I was all alone in India, I did not dared to undergo the surgery. Even now I can lift the hand freely.

    I pray God to help, recover fully to your problem.

    Now we are at Virginia, not in Morrisville, NC.

    I hope you can recollect us.

    • Dear Shekhar,
      I am so sorry about your fall and the resulting shoulder problem. Some time surgery may be the only solution to some of these problems. Hope you will find a good surgeon to work on you. Are you in India or Virginia these days? Wishing you all the best.

  • Shobha

    Namaste Subhash Ji,
    We wish you speedy recovery, pray and hope you are as good as new ASAP.
    Dadaji, congratulations , get strong to play with your grandson.

    Best wishes ,

    • Dear Shobha ji, it is so nice to get your note. Thank you so much for your good wishes. I have already started my physical therapy sessions and am almost completely off of any pain medication. So the recovery seems to be going quite well.
      I can’t agree with you more that I need to develop enough muscles to be able to play with the grand kids, especially the newborn. We are looking forward to Shloke’s visit here during TG.
      With warm regards,

  • Wendy

    Hi Subhash,

    Thank you for sharing your experience, both pre and post surgery. I have been out of state for a few months now and was not aware how your shoulder problem had progressed. I like how you used a combination of yoga and modern medicine for healing.

    Glad to hear that your recovery is going well and that you will be back to teaching soon. I will be back in late Dec. or Jan. and look forward to attending a class and/or session with you again.

    Take good care,

    • Good to hear from you, Wendy. Hope to see you when you get back in town. I have already started teaching my classes – of course getting help from one of the students to do the demos.