May 11, 2008

Shoulder saga continues...911 conspiracy got nothing on this thingÖ

On Monday, I was sitting in Noi Bai airport waiting for my flight to HCMC and my meeting with destiny, aka the orthopaedic surgeon who will carve up my shoulder like a Christmas turkey. Yes, turkey is quite apt in this case as most of you already know.

Unfortunately, the conspiracy seems to still be in effect as the plane was delayed twice which does not bode well. Maybe G-d is trying to tell me something and I am too stupid to recognise it.

However, it does give me a reason to smile because of all the times the Vietnam Airlines VIPís gave my staff at Kingsí Island a lot of guff when their tee time was delayed. I shouldíve told them that we learned from them...hee hee!

What aggravates me is that, on Sunday, I was playing the best golf I have played in years. The shots were clean, crisp and powerful. Yes, I am still using the Furyk swing as its the only motion which allows me to keep my right elbow tucked against my side throughout the swing.

If my arm raises even a little it feels somewhat like pulling chicken off the bone...know what I mean? Itís a sick feeling and painful enough to cause me to black out.

Still, I still actually considered the idea of postponing surgery until after the Gannon Vietnam Open Championship and the Swing For Life because I have not missed either of those events since the beginning and would hate to ruin my streak, especially when I am hitting the ball this pure.

By the way, this is yet another perfect example of how ridiculous golfers can be. Weíd actually consider living with extreme pain for a few months just to keep a good swing. Hey, thatís why the invented painkillers, right?

Ok, flash forward...its now Thursday and I am back from HCMC and the conspiracy is confirmed. I donít know who is behind it, but I am sure that their only mission in life is to drive me crazy and keep me in as much pain as possible.

The specialist examined me and, after confirming that moving my arm more than five degrees in any direction causes agony, uttered those proverbial words "we need more tests" which is the medical equivalent of golf instructors saying "you lifted your head."

When in doubt, order more tests and the more painful the better.

For some reason, doctors seem to think that if a test isnít hideously painful, the patient wonít believe itís a "real important" test. For proof, I refer to the dreaded "prostate exam." When the doctor reaches for those rubber gloves and the jar of axle grease, you know your day is about to be ruined...and itís gonna hurt big time.

My only advice is to make sure the doctor takes off his Rolex beforehand...trust me on this.

In this case, there was no axle grease involved, but the doctor did have a 10-cm needle which he carefully inserted into the shoulder joint. Ok, he rammed in into the socket using a 5-lb sledgehammer so they could inject what they call "contrast" to see the problem more closely. Unfortunately, he had to keep adjusting the needle because it wouldnít flow correctly which doesnít surprise me as it was probably buried in the bone...

Normally, the most common type of contrast contains iodine which allows them to see the actual workings of the shoulder joint during the Computed Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) scan. The concept is simple...wherever the contrast leaks from is torn and needs to be repaired.

But, in my case, they decided to use a different compound...wet cement.

Bottom line is that it leaked like a sieve, but to reinforce the conspiracy theory and ensure I continue suffering, the specialists want to wait on surgery and prefer drug therapy.

Yes, another large needle awaited me, this time filled with cortisone steroid and a few handfuls of anti-inflammatory pills, but with any luck, I can play in both the Gannon and the Swing For Life at VGCC in late August.

Iíll be easy to find...just look for the guy whose swing looks like an octopus falling out of a tree and who screams and falls down on every shot..


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