Archives for posts with tag: physical therapy

A friend recently had surgery and he told me that full recovery could take 6-12 months. Then he said, “I’ve got to find a ton of patience.” My reply was to assure him that I would join him in praying for patience. Then I asked jokingly, “Do you believe in miracles?”PatienceIt has been almost nine months since I had a fall and tore my rotator cuff. Seven months ago I had surgery to repair the damage. Physical therapy exercises have helped and I now experience only discomfort and soreness, not pain. I am able to perform simple functions that were complicated or impossible a few months ago. Tasks like putting on my socks, tying my shoes, scratching the opposite shoulder from the injured one, and feeding my belt through the loops behind my back.

I have made considerable progress but I am ready for this to be over. Patience is not one of my strongest character traits and I suspect I am not alone.

Dr. Robert Schuller is best known as an author, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, and the weekly Hour of Power television program. He espoused the philosophy of Possibility Thinking and suggested that “Inch by inch anything is a cinch.”  All it requires is patience.

Napoleon Hill says, “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” While there may be some truth to that, I find it difficult to wait. To have patience. If Saint Augustine was right that patience is the companion of wisdom, then I can make no claim to being wise.

Patience Is Not The Ability To Wait, But The Ability To Keep A Good Attitude While Waiting

I understand that when we allow God to be in control of our lives one of the results is that we practice patience along with other “fruit of the Spirit.” We possess not only the ability to wait but we are not anxious and restless while we wait. The writer of the biblical Book of Hebrews admonishes those to whom it was written, “you have need of patient endurance to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising, so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may receive and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36, AMP).

So, I will pray for my friend to have patience. I will also ask God to help me to do the same. Anyone else need to be included in my prayers?

Jamie Jenkins

I had a fall a few months ago and injured my shoulder. I tore the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and their tendons act to stabilize the shoulder. This type of injury is fairly common occurring most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports.

An illustration of the shoulder joint and tendons.

The risk of rotator cuff injury also increases with age. Aging and a hard fall combined to cause my injury. Sometimes physical therapy solves the problem but some cuff tears require surgical repair.

A woman slips and falls on ice.

My injury required surgery after which I was given a sling to stabilize and support my arm. The surgeon told me in a follow up visit a few weeks later that I did not have to wear the sling all the time and he did not want my arm to be “glued to my side.” In other words, I was to move the injured arm as much as possible to prevent the shoulder from freezing up. I understood what the doctor said but it was extremely painful to do move that arm.

The surgeon and many people who have had rotator cuff surgery told me that recovery would take a long time and it would be hard. They are correct. Yesterday marked 4 months since surgery and 3 months since I began physical therapy. Things are better but I have still have a good way to go for full recovery.

One day during a physical therapy I heard one of the therapists tell another patient that “You have re-program your brain.” I am learning that is a very big part of recovery.

When we are injured, physically or emotionally, our brain signals us to protect ourselves. It is difficult to deal with the pain and easy to avoid it. If it hurts to move the shoulder, my brain tells me to keep it stationary. If is it painful to acknowledge words or actions that hurt me, it is easy to deny or try to forget. But things won’t get better if we avoid the issue.

Surgery and hard exercises are helping me to recover from a rotator cuff injury. Something similar also helps to overcome emotional injuries. All of our experiences and the feelings that accompanied the experiences are stored in our brain. Memories of painful experiences are tough to deal with but facing them honestly is the first step in overcoming their paralyzing grip.

Mike Robinson* says, “Many people bury the memories of wounds and injuries caused by negative words, actions and attitudes rather than face the pain. In doing so, they also bury the possibility of healing.” A long time ago I discovered a book by David Seamands, Healing for Damaged Emotions, that was very helpful to me in dealing with painful memories. Robinson and Seamands both offer counsel to help heal emotional hurts that are every bit as real as physical injury.


It would have been foolish of me to deny that my shoulder hurt and refuse medical solutions. It is equally valid to seek spiritual help for emotional pain. We are physical, emotional, and spiritual beings. God wants us to be healthy in all three aspects of our life.

Jamie Jenkins


Much of our identity comes from the formal and informal groups with which we relate or to which we belong. Civic clubs, charitable and political organizations, athletic booster clubs, religious groups, and many more appeal to different people. Recently I have become a part of the SSPS (Shoulder Surgery Patients Society).

SSPS is not an “official” group or organization but it has many adherents. I had no idea until a recent fall injured my left shoulder. After X-rays at the Urgent Care facility I was given a sling to support the weight of the arm. A follow up visit to an orthopedic doctor and an ultrasound determined that I had a torn rotator cuff and surgery was scheduled.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder. These muscles are important in shoulder movements and in maintaining shoulder joint stability.

Illustration of three types of rotator cuff injuries.

Rotator cuff injuries occur most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports. Examples include painters, carpenters, and people who play baseball or tennis. The risk of rotator cuff injury also increases with age.

Once I started wearing the sling it was obvious to others that I had an injury and people from everywhere began to tell me of their experience with shoulder problems. One 90 year-old friend said he had the same problem and his doctor told him that surgery was not an option because at his age they would find “nothing but mush” in his shoulder. The physician that performed my ultrasound said there was “some degenerative decay” in my shoulder. I think he was telling me the same thing my friend had been told.

shoulder sling

I have been in the supermarket checkout line and have someone look at my shoulder and ask, “Rotator cuff?” When I reply in the affirmative I have heard many different scenarios based on the experience of other folks. Most of them have been horror stories. How terrible the surgery is, how long it takes to recover, and how much pain is to be expected. I have been told more than once that “you will never be 100% again.”

I had no idea that so many people had suffered a torn rotator cuff. In fact, it seems that those who have not are in the minority. Many well-meaning suggestions have been offered and some of them have been helpful. Others not so much so.

Four weeks after surgery and several times with a physical terrorist therapist I have increased the range of motion and look forward to beginning strengthening exercises after the shoulder repair has healed.

All things considered, it has been an interesting experience. I appreciate the genuine concern and empathy offered by strangers as well as close friends and acquaintances. Folks have been very helpful when they realize that some things take two hand/arms. Deference to one who has only “one good arm” has been welcomed at times and irritating at other times.

Another result of this injury is the awareness of how much I take for granted. Simple everyday functions are affected when one limb is weak. The discomfort from the shoulder makes it difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep. It is awkward at times to maintain balance and there are other irritating effects. I am fortunate that the injured shoulder is not my dominant one. Since I am right handed, it would have been much worse if I had fallen and hurt the right shoulder.

Ludlow Porch

Ludlow Porch (his real name was Bobby Crawford Hanson) was a southern humorist who hosted a radio show in Atlanta for many years. He was not the kind of talk show hosts that is most prominent today. He made people laugh with his spoofs and conversations with his regular “Wackos.” He would frequently refer to some experiences as “gnat bites.” They would not kill you but they were very irritating.

In the grand scheme of things this is just an inconvenience. It is not life threatening. I am not totally incapacitated. I am not in excruciating pain. This is just a gnat bite.

Jamie Jenkins