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Gratification to be delayed at least for another week

I have a bone to pick with my orthopedic surgeon.

I was under the impression that recuperating from a minor bit of rotator cuff repair would be a snap, and I'd be back to my usual efficient self in a matter of days — that is, casting a fly at a rising rainbow in my favorite stream.

I'm going on six weeks post-surgery, however, and have not been close to a trout stream since way back in July. But I went back to work five days after the knife.

I have to admit, I may not have been at my best those first few days. I never quite got the hang of typing with one hand. Truthfully, I've never really gotten the hang of typing with two, but I was trained by the United States Army, so take it up with the government.

Also, I was still taking a pain pill or two those first few days back at the desk so I'll not take complete responsibility for misspelled words and other punctuation errors.

I gave myself significant credit for showing up. Of course showing up meant walking from my kitchen to my front-room office, so it wasn't that much of a hardship. It's not like I had to drive, one-armed, through rush hour Dallas traffic, then lug a briefcase or camera bag up flights of stairs to a cubbyhole in some high rise office complex where I couldn't even make a decent cup of coffee on my own. That would have been pitiful.

I had excellent care at home, especially early on, thanks to my wife and son, both of whom pitched in to keep me plied with pills and in close proximity to the remote control.

At three weeks I met with my surgeon who was impressed that my arm had healed to the point I could reach my wallet. Impressed, he seemed overjoyed. He said I could lose the sling and could begin to write again (I didn't tell him that I had been doing so for two weeks already) and drive. Don't know how he thought I made it to his office.

Then he told me I could begin using my repaired arm. “Just don't lift anything heavier than your hand for the next five weeks,” he said.

“I guess that rules out a fly rod?” I asked. He pretended not to hear, prescribed a course of physical therapy and said he'd see me in a month and a week. Rats.

Ever vigilant about my job, I made three driving jaunts for interviews over the next two weeks and found that hanging onto the sling was not a bad idea until my wing heals a bit more.

It's odd how folks you haven't seen in a while will grab your right hand in theirs for a friendly shake and then slap you on the shoulder with their left. It occurred much less often with the sling, which I keep handy just in case.

Then last week the surgeon's office (actually a person in the office, not the actual office) called and said the doctor would have to postpone my next visit (and possibly freedom to fish around the country) for another week. I may become pitiful after all.

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