In 1999, the VA installed a pacemaker in my left side. Scott, a local technician, adjusted the beat about every six months, until I go tired of him playing around. He would turn it way down, then turn it up faster and faster. To heck with that!

I told Scott that I could feel the thing “kicking in,” but he snorted and rolled his eyes whenever I told him that. “Not possible,” he would say with disgust.

I could definitely feel my heart whenever I tried to sleep on my left side. Imaginary or real, it was very uncomfortable.

The pacemaker battery died on schedule ten years later. I didn’t have the battery replaced because I was now exercising and watching my weight. The pacemaker and its wires are still inside, and for over five years it remains uncomfortable to sleep on my left side.

As I hit 70 years of age, arthritis hit my left shoulder, and the pain has often been intense when I lay on that side. Intense.

I tell you that story so I can tell you this.

Our son Sean has broken 16 or so bones. His right shoulder is a mess. At one point, a bone graft was attempted, but his body dissolved the graft. As a result, the screws holding his left shoulder together broke off. Metal pieces floated around, and some of them lodged permanently in his muscle.

A few days ago, the doctors removed a few screw pieces, took a graft off his hip, and put in some new screws. His hip hurts like hell.


Sean is supposed to keep the arm immobile. He has a pillow to wear inside his sling to hold his arm in the right position.

“I keep my pillow strapped to my chest (like the doctor ordered) except when I’m dancing 🙂  And even then, it’s in the sling.  I thoroughly endorse getting medical opinions when you have pain or lack of movement.  Doctors can help!”

Sean is as active as his sore hip and shoulder will allow him to be. He even danced the Tango for two hours Saturday.  “Then I did a two hour Tango class on Monday too.”

Now, to tie the two stories together.

Some years ago, Sean taught me to “Work and play through it,” when injured. “You need to get the circulation going to the injury.”

He backed off that for just a few days when his shoulder hurt the worst, but he assured me a couple of days ago, he sticks with his initial advice. Work through it. Play through it.

So . . . . a few weeks ago, I applied Sean’s advice to my left shoulder. Lay down on the dang thing. I will survive.

Yes, it still hurts, but I am not going to let the pain win.

Keep on truckin’.



One thought on “It keeps right on a hurtin’

  1. RTK said: I have to work through the pain I suffer from everyday. It was really hard to accept that I’ll spend the rest of my life in pain, unless medical science advances enough. For a long time, around 10 years, I tried to do exactly as the doctors and physical therapists instructed me. I continued to suffer despite taking precautions, and I got severely depressed whenever I thought about what I was missing with my family and how limited my activity and time with my children had become. I am still having a hard time accepting my future with this, as well as swallowing my pride and using a cane as much as I should, but I’ve decided to be as active as I can reasonably tolerate now. My relationship with my family, especially with my kids, has greatly improved, and I’m no longer plagued with crippling depression.


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