Thursday, 26 September 2013

Highly Paid Technicians

Someone asked me yesterday why I didn't say anything about my shoulder in my blog. Well the truth is that there is almost nothing to say. There is still intermittent pain. There is still no certainty about what is causing that pain. The pain is still, slowly, inexorably retreating. In fact the other night I forgot to take my pain killer pill and I was fine until about 6:00 AM. I slept, or mostly slept, through the night and while the pain was there it was not enough to wake me up.

The bone scan did discover some potential causes. It would appear that I have some minor post-traumatic damage to the shoulder joint and to one of my ribs. The trauma is most likely when I fell while having the heart attack on board ship. The timing is certainly right. I have the heart attack; I fall; I get shoulder pain shortly thereafter.

In addition there would appear to be some small tears in the muscle tissue within my upper arm. These small injuries to the muscle would seem to be adding to the pain. On top of that, it is possible I have some nerve damage as well, given the way the pain is attacking me. So all in all, there are at least three possible causes, likely working together, to cause this pain in my shoulder.

When I asked the neurologist what I could do, he uttered the most dreaded of statements for those of us in pain. He said "Not much. We can give you pain killers and wait until it heals." That seems to be the way it is for this kind of injury. It gives me a tremendous understanding of those who suffer from back pain. There is nothing to be done but wait it out.

There are a couple of lessons in my life that are reinforced by this experience. The first lesson, delivered to me by a very wise man, is that you should never underestimate the possibility that a problem might have two or three causes, not just one. The second lesson is something my GP said to me many years ago. He said "Doctors don't really cure much; we just treat symptoms and wait for the body to cure itself. Really, we are just really high paid technicians."


  1. Any good news is a blessing my dear. I hope your foot problem can be treated by the thchnician.

  2. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! Heather.vonstjames(at) Thanks!!