Healthy Living: My Surgical Experience at Memorial Hospital

Healthy Living / Christine Harness

I have known for quite some time that writing about any of my painful experiences in my life supplies me with comforting relief by offering me a form of distraction as well as an opportunity for redirection. My latest painful episode began about 2 years ago with my right shoulder occasionally experiencing stabbing pains followed by continuous, localized, throbbing pain cycles. Using the common pain scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate my level at 5 or 6 out of ten. My orthopedist provided me with a series of pain-free corticosteroid injections, each lasting, at times, up to 6 months’ freedom from pain. However, that last injection in February of this year offered no benefit. The pain returned with vengeance, constantly pervading my every thought.

I am painfully aware of the direct cause of my shoulder’s deterioration; no, it was not an accident; I did not fall on it. It evolved through my years of rock gardening, one of my many passions that resulted from owning yards with banks of withered shrubs that had to be removed. Rocks always seemed to be plentiful, and following rain storms, these rocks almost seemed to grow. I prided myself with my results, those banks now artistically dressed with larger rocks at the base, graduating to the smaller ones at the top. No more barren soil or dead shrubs, requiring no watering! This all ended with my visit to orthopedist, Dr. Shamblin, whose testing advised the need for a total shoulder replacement. Pre-op clearance included a visit to my primary physician, Dr. Finstad, and staff for x-ray, EKG, and lab work. All-clear, surgical date was set for June 12. But then came that dreaded call no one wants to hear: “Sorry, but surgery has been postponed for another 2 weeks!” Now, where will I get the courage to endure yet another 11 days? Somehow, I did locate that needed support, supplied by my family, friends, much distraction, and, of course, added pain meds.

Finally, the day arrived. We checked in promptly at 5:00 a.m. to register at Memorial Hospital in Bakersfield. From that moment on, my entire 2-day’s experiences proved to be exemplary. My surgical team tended my every need with precision; anesthesiologist complied nicely to my plea for “no nausea during my pre-op phase, please!” All of the staff covering fifth floor surgical unit, including nurses, hospitalist, meal servers, and housekeeping staff treated me with caring, fine-honed expertise. I, too, agree with the many of you who expound, “Yes, Memorial Hospital is the best!” I must add, “Once again, thank you, Dr. Shamblin and PA Lesley Lucero!”