May 15

What do Percocet, Vicodin, Lidocaine, coldpacks, physical therapy, Flexall 454, a sling and acupuncture all have in common? They’re all pain-alleviating technologies I’m using right now on my shoulder after sustaining a rotator cuff injury on my birthday last weekend. Check out this xray from the emergency room:

Unfortunately it doesn’t do much to show the knotted muscles or convey the level of pain associated with this injury. And I didn’t get the films for the MRI I had on wed (ever have a 4″ needle jammed into your shoulder socket to inject contrast dye? wheeeee). I’m fairly certain that if torture experts learned about this, the “bamboo under the fingernails” technique would be quickly replaced. We had a great time for Cinco de Mayo and took the party bus out and celebrated my 31st. Unfortunately my truck’s battery somehow died that night and even though I got it started by jumping it the next morning, it crapped out in traffic on my way to buy the battery. I guess being dehydrated, amped by the adrenaline of having cars whizzing around you and trying to push a one-ton automobile out of the road by yourself is a bad idea… I got it moved but not before ripping the muscles apart in my left shoulder.

Odd things I’ve learned this week being one-handed:

  1. For the first time since high school, I am able to write faster with a pen than I can type.
  2. Flossing is one of the more difficult activities to achieve with one hand.
  3. I’ve actually found a practical use for the electric pepper grinder gag gift I got for my brother for Christmas
  4. How much we take for granted the absence of pain everyday

On a different note, the window for applying in the 4th round of submissions for the 9rules Network is tomorrow (Wed) one day only. My friend Chris is currently syndicated through them and says it has tripled his readership so it’s worth it for anyone who uses his/her blog to reach potential clients

I’m scrambling to complete Phase I of the ABC project this week to meet their deadline. I feel like the runner that comes around the final turn only to pull a hamstring and wind up clawing his way across the finish line though- typing is waaay hindered right now and it’s going to come down to the wire. I will do an extensive writeup on what I learned and all that was involved in delivering this system once it’s live. It’s been an enormous exercise in pushing the limits of screen scraping techniques to essentially emulating a browser and writing a wrapper API for a system that had no way of exposing its internals and then to automate a bunch of business processes via the API I created. The most challenging thing is not that this company fails to provide an API to their system but that they have countermeasures in place to thwart people like me from doing what I’m doing so essentially I have to defeat those first before I can make the screenscraping work. My legacy integration stuff is all done in ColdFusion running on BlueDragon JX and entirely done using cf components and xml mapping files. What’s nice is when this company inevitably changes the formfields in their system, I only have to update an xml mapping file and the client-facing application theoretically should not have to change at all. The guys from Fivetwenty Web Services were an absolute pleasure to work with (I subbed the client-facing portion to them so I could focus entirely on all the legacy stuff). Their stuff is all .NET and we talk XML back and forth. The next phase will encompass all the financial data and involve extending the legacy integration to talk with a housing provider app that rides ontop of a FoxPro db, a custom Cobol accounting system and an AS400 that has all the data from the social workers- all this to avoid the volley of faxed patient information that is their current process. Everything must be HIPAA-compliant so it’s all stored encrypted in the db and the encryption key actually resides on a different network segment (thanks to the 520 guys)- it has been quite an experience setting it up… I will definitely share what I’m allowed to as far as lessons learned.

BTW, Pandora rocks – if you haven’t used it yet, be sure to check it out. It’s a free, flash-based music discovery service that lets you setup your personal radio stations and learns to recommend artists you like. What’s cool is you can share stations with friends. I just added their js widget to my blog on the right column to syndicate my stations. This replaces shoutcast now for me as being the music of choice during the day.

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6 Responses to “Xray of a rotator cuff injury”

  1. alessandro says:

    ouch.. get well soon!

  2. Raymond Camden says:

    I hope you get better. I had a rotator cuff injury myself. The only good thing about it was the hydrocodone.

  3. Sean Tierney says:

    alessandro and Ray,
    thanks. i’m pretty much immune to the hydrocodone (vicodin) for some reason- so far the most effective things have been the electrostim unit and the accupuncture. surprisingly, at 3am when the pain is so unbearable it wakes you up, walking around the neighborhood actually is the best thing to get through it.


  4. joshua says:

    hey sean that sucks ass. not to steal your thunder, but remind me to show you the 1.75 inches of play in my left shoulder socket from multiple rotater cuff blow-outs playing rugby in college.

    I even herneated 3 discs in my neck (again rugby) and nothing, i meam nothing hurts worse than a blown shoulder. I feel your pain dude. You instinctivly reach for things, and every movement sends searing hot pain through your brain.

    It gets better after 5-6 days.
    Hope u still make it to the seminar this weekend.

  5. As well as cold therapy with refrigerated gel packs, you can also get excellent restoration of function with electronic devices, the more popular being Dr. Ho. I don’t promote it, we have used it many times successfully on back, neck, knee, elbow. I would cut back on the pills, and increase the cold packs and electronics for best healing.

  6. Peggy says:

    I had a rotator cuff surgery on December 12, 2007. Being one handed was very difficult for me as I am very active. But after the third day I quit taking my pain medication. When I went in to have my staples removed they said it looked great. On my trip back to the doctor I did not wear my sling. He wanted me to try physical therapy. I had two appointments, which I did not go to. I just recently had my second appointment, February 4, 2008, and my doctor had me show him the movement that I had in my arm. I could do everything that he ask. He asked how physical therapy was going. I told him that I had not been. He said that I was doing so well that I did not need to go.

    When I told anyone that I was going to have this surgery, they said it was the most painful surgery. I had very little pain and could use my arm a couple of weeks after the surgery. I was not taking an medication and had no pain. Guess I am one of the lucky ones.

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