Shoulder update

Just got a call from my doctor – the MRI results are in, and I have a small but full thickness tear in my rotator cuff. I suspected it might be the rotator cuff. Now I have to see an orthopod to see if this is going to require surgery or physio or something in between. It sounds stupid, but I’m almost hoping it will be surgery because in my history of pain, physio never fixes anything.

In the mean time, it’s time to dust off my old SafeType keyboard. I hated having to crane around to see the infrequently used non-alpha keys, but being able to type when your arm is in a sling is a major plus when you don’t have sick leave.

The brain is a gate for pain

I was watching “House MD” and Doctor House is trying to live without pain killers for a week, and ends up crushing his hand with a pestle to deal with the pain in his leg. Doctor Wilson just shrugs and says “The brain is a gate for pain” or something like that, explaining that the brain only lets you feel the worst pain of the multiple pains you’re experiencing. I’m only too aware of that, as the constant pain in my knees and hips makes it hard for me to feel other pains until they are so intense as to be dangerous. The three days I spent walking around with a burst appendix which I thought was trapped gas is testimony to that, as is the foot and a half of gangrenous large intestine they removed when I finally went to see somebody about it.

And thus, a new sudden shoulder pain is very worrisome. All too often in the past, the first indication I’ve had of a joint pain is when it’s so bad that it becomes permanent. And of course, every new joint pain is just another one that the doctors shrug and say “I don’t know, maybe you’ve just got bad joints”. I don’t even want to bother seeing a doctor about them any more – they’ll think they know what it is, put me through months of treatment, and when all it does is make it worse, they shrug and go on to somebody they can actually treat.

The State of the Paul

My elbows are hurting much more than usual. The pain level has been rising for weeks now, so I suspect al the extra exercise is doing me harm. Hopefully all it will take is scaling it back.

I’ve been sneezing a lot today. I think I’m catching what Vicki’s got.

Work still sucks.


I didn’t sleep last night. My elbows were killing me, and I had a very acid stomach. As a matter of fact, sometime around breakfast time I figured out there might be a common cause – if I didn’t take enough water with my evening Aleve, it doesn’t go down all the way and gives me acid and doesn’t help my joints. On top of that I’m tired as hell. I couldn’t get comfortable all night – my legs were always cold and my trunk was always too hot. And I had a bunch of stuff running around my head.

Right now I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to have explosive diarrhea or vomit. So I’ve come home. Maybe I can get some sleep.

Sleep study

A few weeks ago, I had a sleep study. They wire you up with a bazillion wires and tubes, put you in a sterile room on an uncomfortable bed, and then say “sleep normally”. The reason for the study is that sometimes lack of sleep, especially because of apnea, is sometimes related to sensitivity to pain.

Today, I got the results. Highlights include

  • It took me only 14 minutes to fall asleep, but over 180 minutes to first get to REM sleep, and I didn’t get very much REM sleep over the course of the night
  • I experienced “arousal” (not sexual arousal, they just mean I wasn’t properly asleep any more an average of 38 times per hour
  • The “arousals” were closely correlated to snoring and some apnea, and are the probable reason for the lack of REM sleep

Upshot is that I’m going to get a “CPAP” machine for a few weeks to see if it helps.