"My surgery was in September of 2007," James says. "I was in therapy for my shoulder until 2008. My shoulder was fine at first, but when I stopped doing therapy it went steadily downhill. The shoulder just kept getting worse and worse. Now, I can hardly lift a gallon of milk with that arm.
"The surgery was for my rotator cuff and it was on my right shoulder. I am right handed. It was supposed to be a one-day thing—in and out of the hospital—but when I woke up, the doctor told me there was more wrong with my shoulder than he had known. I was in the hospital from Monday until Thursday; longer than I was supposed to be there. The pain pump was in from Monday until Wednesday evening.
"I didn't know they would use the pain pump. When I woke up, I even asked what it was. I saw the hose running across my chest and into my shoulder, so asked about it. They told me it was a pain pump, but it wasn't even helping that much. I got the pain pump, plus some pain shots. What was the use of the pain pump if I was still getting pain shots? They should have done away with the pump when it wasn't helping.
"I can feel my shoulder cracking and popping. When I raise my arm up under my head to sleep, it hurts. I can only raise it for a little while, then I have to put it down by my side. But it hurts now to put it down by my side, too. It hurts all the time.
"This has most definitely affected my quality of life. I wouldn't have had the surgery if I'd known this could happen. I would have left my shoulder the way it was. I'm kind of scared to see a doctor again because of how bad this turned out. At least right now I can move my arm a bit and scratch my nose. I don't want to get to where my shoulder can't do anything at all.
"I can't get around and do things around the house like I used to. I was doing more around here and working in the garden, but I can't any more.
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"What they gave me hurt me worse than it helped me. They should get rid of some of this medicine they are giving people. Now, the doctor says he can't do anything more for me. I am mad, because I am hurting so bad and he says he can't do anything for me."
Many patients like James are discovering that their quality of life has decreased after shoulder surgery involving a shoulder pain pump. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to repair the damage. Some may have another shoulder surgery, but they are understandably concerned about undergoing yet another surgery when the first caused so much pain.