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Thread: Too Old ?

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    Too Old ?

    Well, I finally heard that I'm too old for something.

    About a month ago I started having pain in the R shoulder and down into the upper arm. Right away I thought Rotator Cuff - the catch all for anything that goes wrong in the shoulder.

    I put off treatment as my 52yo wife was in the process of total knee replacement surgery, so things simply got worse for me while we dealt with her surgery and recovery.

    I'm a stagehand/electrician/lighting director as a career and do lift stuff, but as the department head, mostly hire young studs to get stuff on and off the trucks. Still I did "something" to the joint and yesterday the orthopedist asks me "how many times have you dis-located your shoulder ?". Not "when did you dis-locate", but how many.

    Great. I read the MRI report on his computer screen at the same time he did. "Tear of the (insert Latin here)". "Tear in the (insert more Latin here)", and yet another, with the bottom line that the pain is coming from where one of the the tendons from the biceps meets the shoulder and that "The (cartilage like material whose name escapes me but lines the shoulder joint) is all frayed and a mess". Which brings up again how I managed to screw up my shoulder so badly. All I could say was a few falls back in my skiing days, then flashbacks of repeated falls on the mt. biking with assorted tree re-locations, thus who knows.

    And then the Doc comes out with. "With somebody in their 20's to 30's, we would repair all this, but at your age (55) the recovery is hard and often you don't get full use after". About all they can do is sever the bicep tendon and tie it down to eliminate the pain (caused by the inflammation). Or do the cortisone routine, which I did, but which I know is stopgap. Plus the ibuprofen and ice routine to try to reduce the inflammation.

    But I'mm too old for "real" surgery.

    Harrumph !.

    Steve B.

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    If you are an active person in very good shape I would get a second opinion. There are 55 year olds and 55 year olds. My brother is 49 and an avid mountain biker and looks much younger. When he broke his ribs last fall in a nasty crash the doctor couldn't believe how 'old' he was. I, on the other hand, do not plan to mountain bike, but I like the road bike thing. It really depends on what you plan to do in the future. Are you done mountain biking or are you feeling depressed because he or she is saying you are too old to do it?

    Make an appointment with a sports medicine MD and see what they say. Avoiding a big surgery is a valid option if it isn't necessary, but maybe for you it might be? Or, maybe you could take up road biking.

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    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    I had a friend (age 49 at the time) who while mountain biking, fell and sustained a substantial bicep tear (same thing cartiledge was torn from the bone). After a year, it didn't heal, was extremely painful and she had surgery. She told me after had she known, she would have (1) had the surgery right up front so she didnt know better to compare or (2) never had the surgery. It was a horrible painful recovery. She could not ride for almost a year. She had to endure frequent painful exercises and stretching. After 4 years, she still is not 100%.

    Not trying to scare you off, but just know it's a bad place for an injury and recovery requires work.
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    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightingguy View Post
    I'm a stagehand/electrician/lighting director as a career and do lift stuff, but as the department head, mostly hire young studs to get stuff on and off the trucks.
    Offtopic, but my stepson moved to Los Angeles right after high-school, and is trying to break into your field, after working part-time supporting a local (well funded) high school drama department. So far he is mostly "interning", but is finally starting to get paid now and then.

    Have you enjoyed it as a career?
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    My immediate reaction on reading this was, "Time to get a new doctor." I'd definitely get a second opinion; if you're in an area with a professional or college baseball team, I'd find out who they use and go see that doctor. That approach worked out great for my arthroscopic knee surgery; I had surgery the same day (a Monday) a friend of mine did; that Saturday, I was helping coach our daughters' soccer team while he was more or less watching the game from the sidelines all doped up on pain meds.
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    My father at age 70 had his repaired by Vanderbilt Sports Medicine surgeon with no problem, get a 2nd opinion. He was very healthy & very active. Bringing him home from Total knee replacement Friday.
    Last edited by Ridinmurray; 03-23-11 at 06:00 PM.

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    if you think you're too old, then I guess you're too old... get a second opinion.

    train safe-
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridinmurray View Post
    My father at age 70 had his repaired by Vanderbilt Sports Medicine surgeon with no problem, get a 2nd opinion. He was very healthy & very active. Bringing him home from Total knee replacement Friday.
    Was Pinkie Lipscomb the Surgeon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Offtopic, but my stepson moved to Los Angeles right after high-school, and is trying to break into your field, after working part-time supporting a local (well funded) high school drama department. So far he is mostly "interning", but is finally starting to get paid now and then.

    Have you enjoyed it as a career?
    It's a career that I found my self doing early in high school and stayed with. I was VERY fortunate in my mid 20's to get a job at a college that offered tenure to my state funded line position. Thus I have been spared the typical-for-the-industry type of work of wondering where my next check was coming from as well as having a rock solid health plan and pension for 30 years. I have also worked at about 60% of industry scale rate all that time, but gladly gave up the pay for the steady check and benefits but don't find myself with spare cash to be buying Pinarello's.

    Do I enjoy it ?. Love it. Always have and that's the rub as it's generally a low paying industry that you find yourself drawn too and can't get away from. If you are a stagehand you NEED to find a way into a union position with steady work. You cannot be doing the non-union freelance thing when you're 50. Nor do you want to be touring R&R or Broadway type tours as a low level roadie for very long. You can find a lot of tech work at assorted regional theaters or performing arts center, but it's tough to make enough to pay a mortgage and send kids to college. I have a riding buddy who's an IATSE Local 1 prop man on Broadway. These guys make possibly more money then ANY other tech person in the industry, excepting the department heads at Carnegie Hall, Radio City or the Met Opera. This guy is not sending his kids to Harvard and he pretty much works all the time, even when his last gig put enough money in the bank to get him thru the next 8 mos., cause he don't know if the show's going to make it or not.

    It's also a very physically demanding type of work with very long hours and incredibly stupid and difficult daily schedules. Early in my career I worked 3 jobs for a total of 45 days straight, then 3 days to go to a wedding, then 47 days. I have run shows that started at 11:30 at night and went 4 hrs then struck all and loaded out. I have done Broadway tours at our theater that start at 5AM with a 4:30 PM show, then a 4 hr out starting at 6:30 till 10:30PM. My B-Dway buddy is currently on week 4 of 7 days per week at 12-17 hrs per day, getting the Broadway production of Wonderland up and running. This can be very tiring when you are 55 and I've found that it's odd days on and off that have been singularly the most tiring aspect of my career, even more difficult to deal with then the injuries. The PT who's helping my wife commented this morning that he treats a lot of theater and film carpenters with bad knees and shoulders.

    So goes this type of work in the TV, Theater and Film industry.

    The bottom line for a lot of us who find this kind of work enjoyable, is that we find a way to make a living at it. It's not at all lucrative but it's incredibly rewarding. There seemingly is a whole type of individual who (like myself) really enjoys making these theater events happen from behind the scenes and once you catch the bug, you've got a career that may see you into old age.

    Steve B.
    Last edited by Lightingguy; 03-23-11 at 06:18 PM.

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    Originally Posted by Ridinmurray
    My father at age 70 had his repaired by Vanderbilt Sports Medicine surgeon with no problem, get a 2nd opinion. He was very healthy & very active. Bringing him home from Total knee replacement Friday.
    Was Pinkie Lipscomb the Surgeon?

    Dr. Kuhn, (I think I spelled that correct)

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    OP,

    Try to find some people who are close to your age that have gone through it (come to think of it, that's what you're doing here...)

    I've had a couple of orthopedic surgeries. In both cases, the surgeon suggested that the rehab would be difficult and painful. In both cases, I spoke with a friend who is an orthopedic PA and each time, he told me "Oh, it's worse than they tell you and I guarantee that at some point you'll wish that you hadn't done it. If you do your PT religiously, eventually you'll probably be glad you did it." He was right on both counts.

    My last procedure at age 50 was a significant reconstruction of a knee; ACL replacement, removal of meniscus, bone reshaping, etc... Prior to the surgery, the surgeon said that I was pretty old for the procedure and insisted that I think long and hard about how badly I needed the stability in my knee and how much I was willing to endure to make the surgery worthwhile. I decided to go through with it, but my friend was right - I wasn't sure I hadn't made a mistake for over a year afterwords. PT was painful and time consuming, atrophy from the recovery period sucked, and the uncertainty of whether I'd done the right thing was a drag. I'm coming up on two years in the next few weeks, and I can finally say that I'm glad I did it.

    I guess that this is a long winded way of saying, sure, get a second opinion, but really go into it with open eyes and make sure that surgery is a better choice than the palliative options. We old folks don't heal as fast or painlessly as we once did.

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    From someone else in the trades, try cortizone. Use it only once in the affected area(s). Remember what overstaining activity you were doing when it was re-injured, avoid this if at all possible. I know sometimes we have to jump in to get it done, but along with maturity comes wisdom, i hope i catch up with the wisdom part!

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    Senior Member metalheart44's Avatar
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    At 66 I recently had a similar problem, torn bicep tendon that had to be surgically repaired, meaning they cut and reattached the tendon, cleanup the fraying, and then did some general clean out. At your young age, surgery seems an option. A second opinion is definitely in order. Recovery takes a long time, I am four months out from surgery and just getting on the bike again and I still have pain and range of motion issues.

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    The cortisone seemingly kicked in and I actually have less pain today then yesterday. Still a bit sore and definitely less mobility, but am going the ice/advil and less use route now to see where this takes me.

    If it gets worse, 2nd opinion time, even though I like this Ortho Dr. and the group he's in.

    Thanks for all the advice

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    My mother, 80 years old, was told the same thing three years ago. She got a second opinion, and has recovered nicely from the repair.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

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    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Get a second opinion. I knew someone that was in his mid to late 50's that tore a rotator cuff while playing hockey. He had the operation and is fine now. The recovery was a bit, shall we say uncomfortable, but he is fine now, and playing hockey again.

  17. #17
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    2nd opinion - and NOW - while you are still young. Goodness, many folks have repairs of all sorts of things into their 79's and 80's.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    One more for a second opinion. There is a wide variance of health and fitness in us elders.

    BUT, also check your insurance company, or whoever is helping pay for he procedure. I have discovered that some carriers place severe restrictions on payment for some procedures for the over 70 crowd. It may be that the doc is not being totally forthcoming.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

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