Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Monday, September 20, 2010

hydrodilation at the Memorial Hospital

This is not my shoulder, this is a googled image.
Still, a bone is a bone is a bone.

This hydrodilation is quite an interesting experience.

I caught a bus into the city, then walked along King William Street, over the bridge spanning the Torrens, up into North Adelaide to the Memorial Hospital. Sat in the over-warm waiting room until I was almost asleep, finally got called through.

I was asked to remove all clothing from the waist up and put on the provided gown, but not tie it up. I couldn't reach back to tie it anyway.
So I went through to the x-ray room where the assistant asked me to remove the robe from my right shoulder, then she tied it behind in a very stylish off the shoulder toga look.

Climbed up onto the very narrow table and laid on my back. The equipment is so very different from any x-ray room I've ever seen. There's no sliding in and out of x-ray plates and staying still while the technician goes into the other room to take the picture. No No No.

This table is moved into positions by means of a foot pedal (I think), and above there's a huge round, something, that looks like a dentist lamp but with a dull surface instead of those blinding lights. This takes the pictures. It's fixed to a really big arm, which is again moved by a foot pedal. (I'm assuming because I'm staring at the ceiling so can't see how this is being moved.)

A couple of pictures were taken of my shoulder in different positions, then I was swabbed with an alcohol wash to disinfect the skin and minimise infection. After that came a local anaesthetic, which stung quite a bit at first, but was effective almost immediately, because a much larger needle with a miniature camera attached was then inserted right into the shoulder joint where I could feel it against the bone, although I hadn't felt the insertion at all. The position of this was checked against the screen.

At every stage I was asked if I was comfortable, which I found reassuring. I was perfectly comfortable, but I could imagine how others might feel frightened in the same situation, so the bedside manner here is to be commended.

A thin plastic tube was fed through the needle, and fluid was pushed through this to open up the joint. Lots of fluid. The technician doing this said I should tell him if the pressure got to be too much and he'd stop for a minute.

I could feel the shoulder filling up, the pressure building, the whole shoulder feeling very heavy and a little numb. Just as I was about to say please stop, there was a popping sound inside the joint and the pressure eased immediately. I mentioned this, "oh, that feels much better, something popped in there".
He said that was good news as it was one of the results they were hoping for.

The tube and needle were withdrawn, a bandaid attached, and then another two pictures taken of the joint.

The assistant who'd tied my toga then showed me a couple of extra (more??) exercises to do as well as the ones already given to me by the orthopaedic surgeon, then said I should keep the shoulder moving as much as I could, at least every 15 minutes, for the next four hours. Ha Ha.

So I dressed again, left the hospital and walked back to the city, then to the City Cross Arcade where the Swiss Glory Chocolate Shop is. Because after that kind of ordeal a girl needs chocolate, right? Right.

Walking on to my bus stop, all the way swinging my arm, raising my arm, shrugging the shoulder, rolling the shoulder. People were either giving me funny looks or averting their eyes.
Hey! I was just following instructions.......

Anyway I'm home now, have done the complete set of exercises once, and shrugged/moved my shoulder a lot as well.

Hopefully, I'll have the full range of movement, or at least enough movement by the time I see the orthopaedic surgeon again, so that he can set a date for the surgery to repair my torn tendon.


  1. The exercises should have been:
    Lift arm, choose chocolate
    Lift arm, put chocolate in mouth
    Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat until you're all exercised out.

  2. yes yes, what JahTeh said. big box chocs, up on shelf, every 60 seconds, reach for another one.

    'Swiss Glory' eh? Gone Chocco blogger will be over on the next plane.
    Wishing you speedy recovery.

  3. JahTeh, Ha Ha, I love your idea of exercise. I'll scan the page of exercises and put them up tomorrow so you can see what I have to do. One of the extras is to pretend I'm bowling a cricket ball. I've never played sport in my life! How the heck does one bowl a ball?

    Ann: Oooh, put the choccies up high and reach! Great idea! Kath at Gone Chocco knows all about Swiss Glory I'm sure, since she used to live here in good old Oddelaide.

  4. Funny how a little 'pop' could bring so much relief. Glad it's feeling better.

  5. Wow - it gives you an idea that our bodies really are complex machines that, like cars, need a thorough poke around in before a good grease and oil change!

    Ah, Swiss Glory....I've tried so many times to contact the owner to do a review and used to go and visit their factory shop in Stepney, but no luck....

  6. life in a pink fibro; I was never so glad to feel a pop in my life. The pressure from all that fluid was getting just a tad too much to bear, but I didn't want to appear wimpy and say stop.

    Kath; It's a pity they can't do the same sort of thing for backs when the discs are inflamed or stuck or whatever. There's probably too much room for more damage to occur there.
    I'm sending you a little surprise....

  7. kath, can you give me a bit more info please?
    I had this procedure done this morning and there was no popping for me, and no decent bedside manner either - pain level was way off the richter scale:-(
    My referring surgeon didn't give me any exercises to do and I wasn't told anything about keeping my arm moving over the next few hours...though the radiographer was surpirsed I hadn't been told to book into a physio. Surgeon just said do the procedure and book in to see him again if it didn't work...
    Can you share what exercises you had to do, how many and how often?
    How long did it take before there was any improvement compared to before the procedure?
    Has it completely recovered now? I see that it was done a couple of months ago - maybe 10 weeks?
    Any help you can give me will be appreciated.