J. Michael Squatrito, Jr.
Down But Not Out
You're probably wondering where I've been since the summertime. Unfortunately, I've had a bit of a rough go of it. On August 1st, after returning home from a highly successful Tampa Bay Comic Con, I took my dog outside to let her do her business before calling it a night. It had rained earlier in the day and the wood border to my patio was wet. I stepped on it and took an awful fall. I dislocated my right pitching shoulder and later found out that I had also tore my rotator cuff.
You do recall that I'm a baseball pitcher, right?. When the orthopedic surgeon uttered the phrase, "You tore your rotator cuff," I nearly fell off the table. Whenever a pitcher in MLB has rotator cuff surgery you can kiss their career goodbye. I felt the same. I asked the doctor if I'd be able to throw a baseball again. He smiled and said, "You're 57. I'm going to make sure that you'll have all functionality back so that you can be alright for the rest of your life." I heard him but still said, "And baseball?"
He smiled again. "We'll cross that bridge at another time but you should be able to." He immediately made me an appointment for an MRI and had me start physical therapy. After a few weeks, the MRI confirmed his initial exam. I had a full thickness tear of my tendon -- the rotator cuff was indeed torn. I continued my PT from August through October and scheduled my surgery for November 8th.
Fast forward to today. I had successful rotator cuff surgery and was placed in an immovable sling for six weeks. I'm at the halfway point with my sling and have started PT again. I can tell that the shoulder is not the same. Typical recovery time is 4 to 6 months. I'm hoping that by April I'll have my strength back (or most of it) but I know it's a long road ahead. As for pitching, talk to me after the 4th of July. I'm focusing on getting my shoulder back to full strength again and being able to rejoin all my communities (running, yoga, weight lifting, baseball) I lost in one day. That's been the hardest part, becoming isolated for the most part and having to watch from the sidelines. Anyone who knows me knows I like to be center stage, front and center. Stay tuned ... maybe they'll be a comeback story to write.