Recovery Blog

This year was my first time I had a real job with real health insurance.  LG has “spa care” or “Cadillac” health insurance which can put some government institutions to shame.  I decided to take advantage of it and get my shoulder and eyes fixed.  To save downtime, against the recommendation of basically everybody, I decided to get both procedures at the same time!

Shoulder History

My shoulder has been damaged for quite some time.  When I was 20, I was really into martial arts and was taking a kickboxing class.  During a sparing match I dislocated my shoulder from throwing a punch that was blocked wide.  As it was my first dislocation, I was unsure what happened.   During my confusion my opponent continued to pummel me.  I spent the next 3 hours with my femur out of it’s socket and going through the on-campus infirmary.  You know your Chinese is a good when you are writhing in agony and can describe the situation to the doctor.

I walked with an American classmate to the infirmary where a -ray was performed.  As the injury occurred during lunch hour, the doctor was out and I was required wait for him for his return.  He gave me 3 muscle relaxant injections (one wasn’t enough; he said I was too muscular =D), then proceeded to stick his foot into my armpit and pull as hard as he could.  This popped my shoulder back in.  I was instructed to keep my arm in a sling for a month, then start muscle strengthening exercises.

Although my shoulder regained some of it’s strength, it has continually lost stability after repeated dislocations.  To name a few times it has dislocated (in no particular order):

  1. Doing the “Superman” in a Yoga class
  2. Being thrown during a hip-hop dance practice
  3. Landing poorly on a snowboarding jump
  4. Falling while snowboarding
  5. Doing a high jump
  6. Doing a wide arm pull-up at the gym
  7. Learning how to wakeboard
  8. Coming out of surgery (I woke up with it dislocated.  It must have come out when they moved me)
  9. There is more; I just can’t remember.

Through these I injuries, I learned how to pop it back in by myself.  #8 on the list was particularly interesting because I was in the hospital.  My family was standing around when I woke up from a Morphine induced slumber.  Despite being super drugged, I noticed that I couldn’t move my left arm and concluded that I had a dislocation.  I was in significant discomfort, and the nurses refusing to touch me, called the doctor.  I didn’t want to wait, so I got Eric to Youtube a video on how to perform a shoulder reduction using the Cunningham technique.  The nurses were amazed, and I was relieved.  The Cunningham technique requires another person for aid, so for subsequent injuries I used the Kocher method, because it is much easier to perform by yourself.

My last dislocation was the wide-arm pullup.  A coworker had a shoulder instability surgery performed a couple of months ago and I was inspired by his progress, so I decided to see a surgeon.  This is the story of my recovery.

Pre-Operative Shoulder Surgery

I was recommended by my primary care physician to a local orthopedic surgeon who had very good success with his other patients.  I had an X-ray, which showed there was a tear on my rotator cuff and a loss of material on the femur head due to impact from repeated dislocations.  He recommended a remplissage procedure to prevent further dislocations.  This technique basically puts a screw in my femur head and anchors it to the rotator cuff to improve contact and stability.

The X-ray also showed that there were some arthritic changes between the Clavicle and the Acromion because I was compensating the shoulder stability with muscles around that area; the remedy  was a Mumford procedure and Subacromial Decompression

The Shoulder Surgery

December 15, 2015.  Day -1; Day before operation
Got a call at 4pm telling me to not eat breakfast.  Eric drove all the way from Toronto just to drive me to the hospital.  I am so thankful to have family that will support me.  Nobody but family will treat you that way.  We had a vegetarian Ethiopian dinner with Ayaka at Blue Nile.

December 16, 2015.  Day 0, operating day
Aleve taken: 2
Norco taken: 4

Woke up at 6AM to get to the surgical center at 7AM.  I broke the normal breakfast routine by leaving a post-it note telling myself to not ingest anything.

This is the first time I’ve visited a surgical center; it is remarkably different from a hospital.  It had a very nice lobby, which included a small fireplace, fast-food style booths, free WiFi, soda fountain and coffee.  So far I was impressed with the American healthcare system (given I have great health insurance).

Eric set up his workstation and I was directed to a private room where I changed into a hospital gown.  I was given a few Norcos and was taught how to do the pendulum post-operative exercise.  I was told after the surgery I should keep my arm on ice at all times, and was also given a really cool human-cooler.  It was comprised of a small cooler containing a fish-tank sized pump connected to rubber hosing which would run ice cold water through a pad.  Crude design, but effective.

I was shown how to use the arm immobilizer, which was basically a white velcro belt with a loop for my bicep and wrist.  It would prevent me from using my shoulder.

I was given a ultrasonic number(?) so I wouldn’t feel any pain when they inserted a pain pump.  The pain pump was a sack filled with anesteic connected to a long catheter.  It was mostly packaged inside a fanny pack style bag which was fastened to my arm immobilizer.  The catheter was inserted into my bicep and ran up inside my arm to my shoulder where the medicine was administered.

I was wheeled into the surgical room.  I knew the routine of counting backwards from 100.  I think I got to 98 before I don’t remember anything.

Waking up in recovery room I discovered my arm was completely numb.  I couldn’t move it at all.  I tried shaking my own hand and realized I have somewhat strong feeling leathery hands.  I didn’t feel any pain.

I walked of surgery center at 1pm in a relatively good mood.  Went home, and took at 2h nap.  I was told that I should sleep sitting up to reduce pressure on my shoulder so I slept on my recliner.  Eric and I had slept pretty late the previous night and really needed it.

We woke up around 5PM.  I couldn’t wear a shirt at this point, so I half put on the shirt by draping a hoodie over the sling.  I popped a Norco and decided I felt up to sitting 5h in a car.  We packed up the car, then grabbed sushi at noble fish.  I wanted to bring back some snacks so we got supplies at Trader Joes.

At Trader Joes Eric noticed I bled right through my hoodie; it looked like I was a gunshot victim.  We went into the bathroom and decided it would be too much work to change the dressings.  Instead we wadded up a bunch of paper towel and put it between my dressings and the hoodie.  Eric commented he felt like this was a “Walking Dead” style medical procedure.

We set out for Toronto.  I had an icepack on my shoulder which melted halfway.  We stopped at an Enroute and did another Walking Dead procedure; we got a cup of ice from Burger King and changed the dressing in the bathroom.  A wide-eyed passerby asked what happened to me, for which I responded “you should see the other guy”.

Finally got back to Toronto.  My mom changed the dressings and immediately threw the shirt into the wash.  There were 3 incisions in the front of my shoulder and 1 in the back, all done up with sutures.  I took some herbal painkillers and hung out with the family.  Pain was completely bareable.  I went to sleep around 2 sitting up on the couch.

December 17, 2015.  Day 1.  First day after surgery
Aleve taken: 2
Norco taken: 2
Entertainment:  James Bond, Dr. No (1962), Contact (1998)

Although I slept in an upright position it was difficult to get comfortable.  I woke up at 4AM in pain.  I had regained all the feeling in my left arm and could now move my fingers.  The pain was a was throbbing, not shooting pain.  I took another Norco before falling asleep.

I woke up again at 8AM with a throbbing pain.  I took an Aleve instead this time to mix it up.  Went back to sleep in the sun filled living room.

Woke up around 12PM and decided I didn’t want to sleep anymore. Taking advantage of the “take it easy” doctors orders, I watched movies whole day.  I had downloaded the James Bond collection and decided to start with the first one, Dr No.  Dr. No’s character was a mad Chinese scientist, but was played by a white man (yellowface anybody?).  I was watching this movie to be educated about the 1950s rather than be entertained.  I’d give it a 6/10.

I wasn’t very hungry that day.  Actually I was feeling kind of bloated.  I just ate small snacks.

Changed my gause changed.  There wasn’t much blood, but there was lots of yellow fluid leaking out of the wounds.  Ayaka told me this was nothing to be alarmed about.  My mom put band aids over the wounds because it didn’t look like much fluid.

As per the doctors instructions, I was to start shoulder pendulm exercises immedately.  I tried taking immobilizer off and doing shoulder rotations.  I did 30s, then was overcome by a huge waves of sleepiness.  I am unsure why I got so sleepy at that point; it could have been pain waves, but I didn’t feel any pain.  I went to sleep.

December 18, 2015.  Day 2. First small outing after surgery.
Aleve taken: 2
Norco taken: 2
Entertainment: Chapie (2015), Ghost in a Shell 2: innocence (2008)

I was woken at 6AM in mild discomfort.  I ate a banana, took an Aleve and went back to sleep.  When I woke up and had my dressings changed, we discovered that I bled through yesterday’s shirt.  We switched back to gause.

My mom pulled out the pain pump today.  It was as simple as removing some tape and pulling out a tube from my arm.  Didn’t hurt at all.

As per doctors orders, I wasn’t allowed to shower until today.  I sniffed my armpit and was revolted by the smell.  Did my best in washing myself, then put on a short sleeved shirt.

Today was a Sci-fi movie day.  Chappie was an interesting movie about a child-like robot learning to live in Johannesburg.  Ghost in the Shell 2 was OK; it didn’t introduce many new ideas as the first one.

I decided I felt good enough to do a short outing.  I walked to Fernando’s house, which is 5 minutes away.  I slung my jacket over my sling and walked outside in the freezing cold.  Hung out, and caught up.  Good to see friends.

December 19, 2015.  Day 3.  Ugly Sweater Christmas Party.
Aleve taken: 2
Norco taken: 1
Entertainment: The last of us (PS3)

Discovered that sleeping with my right shoulder against the couch was a lot less painful .  Didn’t wake up during the night.

Stayed in most of today and played video games.  Anth let me borrow his PS3 and recommended I play The Last of Us.

Bill and Duyen threw a Christmas party at their new condo.  Ricky picked me and Noah up and drove us there.  Everyone was wearing an ugly sweater, but I decided I would just wear a ridiculous hat instead.  I felt like I looked like crap, mostly because I had a lot of difficulty in dressing myself.  Met some new people, had festive fun.

December 20, 2015.  Day 4.  X-Wing Commander.  Eye punctal plugs.
Aleve taken: 2
Norco taken: 1
Entertainment: X wing board game

Woke up at 8AM with a sore arm and took an Aleve.  Now I’m unsure if sleeping on left or right side is better.  Despite waking up multiple times through the night, I was getting really good rest because I was spending roughly 12h a day in bed.

Dressings got changed today.  We downgraded to only using band aids on the front 3 sutures because they were dry.  The back sutures was still leaking yellow fluid.  Ayaka said this was normal.

Today I lifted my armpit high enough to thoroughly wash underneath.  The household rejoices!

Went to optometrist today to get punctal plugs.  Punctal plugs are placed in your tear ducts to combat dry eyes, and will dissolve in a couple of months.  The plugs did not hurt upon insertion, and I could barely feel them.

I followed my mother to Costco, which is a zoo during the holiday.  Compared to the USA, TVs are 20-30% more expensive.  All the walking around caused my arm to start hurting, so I took a Norco with a free sample of a vitamin water.

Dean had been dying to play the X-Wing commander board game, which is similar in some aspects to Warhammer.  Since I couldn’t drive, he picked me and Ryan up and we had Chinese food at Kaka Lucky.  We played a 3-player free for all game of X-Wing at his place on a large kitchen bench.  It was a very closely matched game, that came down to 2 or 3 dice rolls.  My arm hurt then, so I downed an Aleve and continued playing.

Stayed up late and played Last of Us.  I got to the part where you had to escape the hotel filled with armed gang members.

December 21, 2015.  Day 5.  LASIK consultation
Aleve taken: 1
Norco taken: 1 before bed
Entertainment: The last of us

Woke up early for LASIK consultation.  The LASIK MD location was on King and bay at One Canadian place.  This surgery center was located on the first floor of an office building next to a Starbucks and other retail stores.

The LASIK screening process consisted of a topological exam and a basic vision test.  After determining I was a candidate for PRK (I have thin Corneas, so PRK is the only option), we talked price.  I had a $200 per eye discount because I was insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield.  I thought this was particularly interesting because BCBS is an American only health insurance.  Perhaps they have this deal because LASIK MD has some New York branches.

I found out that there used to be a Windsor LASIK MD branch, but it was shut down and no longer operational.

The reason I decided to get LASIK in Canada was twofold:  (1) my family could take care of me, and (2) it was significantly cheaper with the current exchange rate.  Let compare the prices:

Price Comparison of LASIK in USA vs Canada

  • I was quoted $3800 USD in Michigan.
  • Compare that to $1928 USD at LASIK MD in Canada
    • Base price $4000 CAD
    • -$400 for BCBS discount
    • -$1040 (divide by 1.4) for the USD to CAD exchange rate
    • -$642 (25% discount) by using my Health Spending Account provided by LG.  This lets me use pre-tax dollars for medical expenses, including LASIK in foreign countries.  All this requires is the bills to be in English.

A few coworkers suggested I get it done in Korea or China, where it could be done for $1000 USD.  Unfortunately the post-op would require me to go back there.

After coming home we rearranged furniture to make living room more appealing.  Since the basement has been morphed into Noah’s room, the living room should be the main entertainment center.  We moved the side tables around so the couch more presentable.

Noah had an exam on Technology and the Envionment, and decided to do an oral discussion session to study.  We went over to Fernando’s to study.  It was a good review session for Noah, and a interesting and educational glimpse into his minor.

I finished off the day by playing The Last of Us.  Got to part where Elle gets a handgun.  She grows up so fast!

December 22, 2015.  Day 6.  Star Wars and Poker
Aleve taken: 1
Norco taken: 0 before bed
Entertainment: Star wars 7, The last of us, poker night

Today marked a milestone in my shoulder recovery.  Up to this point I had required help to get dressed.  Today I showered and put a shirt on by myself.  My front shoulder stitches were completely dry, but the back was still leaking yellow fluid.  I figured out a way to put on the arm immobilizer by myself, but I had problems putting the strap around my bicep on because I can’t reach around my body.

For my father’s birthday we went to see Star Wars (7): The Force Awakens.  As it was still opening week, it was still difficult to get seats together in the theater.  The remedy was to see the movie at 12PM noon.  My family doesn’t get up early unless we have to, so we rolled out of bed and got to the theater 15 minutes before showtime.  Luckily we got good seats.

I am a huge Star Wars fan and have watched all the movies multiple times, watched the animated series (Clone Wars, Rebels), and played multiple video games (Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2, Unleashed).  The movie was everything I could ask for.  Would see again.

Got home and played Last of Us.  I think the director did a very good job of using NPCs to drive the storyline.  Although you are basically playing a single player game, you meet companions along the way so you never feel alone.  I got to the part where you meet the protagonists brother at the hydro electric plant.

Ryan was holding a rather large 13 person poker tournament in the family house, so I decided to join in.  We split the players into two tables of 6 or 7, then when players were eliminated, made a top 10 table.

I was eliminated quite early, so the other losers and I started a low stakes “pirate game”.  We felt like pirates because while the more skilled poker players played on a nice wooden table with matching chairs and a real poker mat.  Instead, we were playing onn a bare plastic folding table in front of the couch.  Later into the night we moved to the garage.  I won that game, so the night was a net-zero loss for me.

Went to sleep early that night without painkillers.  It was hard to get comfortable, so I think I should have taken a Norco.  I don’t like taking painkillers on empty stomachs, so I just lay there until I fell asleep.

December 23, 2015.  Day 7.  PRK eye surgery
Aleve taken: 1
Norco taken: 0
Alcaine (mild numbing drops) taken: 2
Tetracaine (Strong numbing drops) taken: 1
Zymar (antibacterial eyedrops) taken: 4
Dialuid (Hydromorphone HCL, mild painkiller and sedative) taken: 1
Entertainment:  20h of crying in the dark

You may notice this drug list is rather long.  I got way more drugs for my eyes than I got for my shoulder.

Today I woke up a little sore.  Took an Aleve and got my dressings changed.  My sutures on the back weeped slightly more yellow fluid than yesterday.

Today is the day of LASIK surgery.  My prescription was taken again and confirmed stable.  I have thin corneas so they want to do PRK instead of LASIK.  Here is a basic comparison of PRK vs LASIK:



  • Epithelial removal:  cut temporary flap
  • Recovery time:  2-3 days
  • Pain:  less
  • Complications:  risk of flap complications, usually due to eye trauma


  • Epithelial removal:  alcohol solution to soften eye, then mechanical abrasion
  • Recovery time:  7 days
  • Pain:  significantly more
  • Complications:  no flap complications.  Epithelial layer will regrow; better for people who play contact sports or have thin corneas.

I decided to go with a 3 year touch up plan for $0 extra, compared to the lifetime touchups which cost $150 an eye.  I was informed that most complications take place in the first year.  I also expect there will be novel vision correction technologies in the near future.

A detail that was not brought up before was I have a slightly deformed cornea on the back side.  Most people only look at the front side of the cornea because that is where the correction can be applied.  An abnormally shaped back cornea could be a sign of corneal thinning, however there are other signs usually present that were not present.  What caused this abnormal cornea?  Two possibilities exist:  strange genetics, and Orthokeratology contact lens usage for 18 years.  These were not any huge red flags for the surgeon, so I decided to continue with the procedure.  They also gave me a Xanax, which I am currently waiting to kick in.

I fell asleep in the waiting room for about an hour.  Waking up to the surgeon calling my name, I followed them into the operating room. I  lay down on the operating table under the laser machine and was given a ball to squeeze.  Directly above me I could see a green and red light in a starlike configuration shining down at me.

My right eye was taped open using 3 pieces of tape and my left eye was taped shut.  A device was placed over my eyelid to keep my eye open.  A a few drops of a numbing solution was put in my eye and everything became an underwater blur.  The surgeon used a soft brush to spread the numbing solution over my eye then rinsed it with water.  The alcohol solution was placed in my eye, and the nurse started counting the time out loud.  Around 45 seconds they used a rotary mechanical brush (think electric toothbrush) on my eye.  It didn’t hurt, but I could feel the pressure.  My eye was rinsed with water once again.  The laser was turned on and made a sci-fi chime-like sound.  I only saw white for about 20 seconds, during which I smelled something like water vapor.  My eye was flushed with water again.  A bandage contact was placed over my eye, then taped shut in preparation for the procedure on my left eye.  The whole operation was super fast.  I was in there for a total of 15 minutes.

When I got up from the machine, I looked around the room and everything was much clearer, but still not perfect.  I was told that I should enjoy my vision for the short term while the numbing medicine was still active.  Unlike the people that got LASIK, I only had to wait 15 minutes in the waiting room instead of an hour.

I walked outside with my mom.  It was raining lightly, and I was staring up at the skyscrapers enjoying my new sight.  Ryan picked us up and drove us home.

After about an hour my eyes started to water uncontrollably. Both eyes burned like crazy.  My best way to describe the feeling is if I had soaked a contact lens in Cleancare solution (hydrogen peroxide solution) and directly put it in my eye.  Unfortunately there was no way to remove the contact, so I took one Dilaudid tried to get some sleep.  It was really hard to stay asleep because of the pain.  My eyes were watering so much I couldn’t read the labels on the eye drops so my mom came by and gave me eye drops every couple of hours.

Took Alcaine until night came, after which I switched to Tetracaine, the strong numbing drops.  Tetracaine slows healing so I decided only to use them at night.

December 24, 2015.  Day 8.  Post PRK-Day 1:  Writeoff.
Aleve taken: 0
Norco taken: 0
Alcaine (mild numbing drops) taken: 4
Tetracaine (Strong numbing drops) taken: 3
Zymar (antibacterial eyedrops) taken: 4
Dialuid (Hydromorphone HCL, mild painkiller and sedative) taken: 2
Toradol (ketrorlac, strong painkiller and sedative) taken: 4
Entertainment:  another full day of crying

Today was a complete write off.  The pain was a constant 7/10 irritation.  My eyes were so watery I couldn’t keep them open longer than 30s.  I took a Ketorolac which made me extremely drowsy in a drunkish way, but it allowed me to sleep for basically the entire day.  The Ketorolac was powerful enough to allow me to sleep laying on my back, rather than sitting up, so I camped out in Ryan’s room.  My mom would come by and medicate me every couple of hours.  I couldn’t do it without you Ma!

December 25, 2015.  Day 9.  Christmas in the dark.
Aleve taken: 1
Norco taken: 1
Alcaine (mild numbing drops) taken: 2
Zymar (antibacterial eyedrops) taken: 4
Toradol (ketrorlac strong painkiller and sedative) taken: 1
Entertainment:  Christmas

Today was Christmas.  My grandfather and Mrs. Li brought us takeaway dimsum lunch.  I made a short appearance to get some pain killers and say hi before retreating to the darkness.  My eyes still burned, and I was super light sensitive.

That evening, my very accommodating family turned off all the lights and we opened Christmas presents in the dark.  I got a Slap-Chop.

I noticed the burning feeling was significantly reduced that night.  I didn’t need the strong numbing drops.  Around midnight I decided not to take a heavy painkiller either.  I downgraded from a Toradol to a Norco and Aleve.   I really didn’t like Toradol.  It is probably my least favorite drug.  It just made me feel really really drunk.  I could barely keep my eyes open or talk coherently.  No fun at all.

At this point my my vision was quite blurry; definitely worse than the first day.  I tried using my phone and found the only way to read my screen was to magnify the LARGE text.

December 26, 2015.  Day 11.  My eyes don’t hurt anymore!
Aleve taken: 1
Norco taken: 1
Zymar (antibacterial eyedrops) taken: 4
Entertainment:  The last of us on a new TV

Noah and Ryan went on a boxing day mission to get a 43” LED TV for an awesome price.  They left the house at 4:30AM to line up for a 6AM sale.  This was a doorcrasher only sale, and they managed to get the last one.

I woke up surprisingly without pain.  Could see relatively clearly after getting all the goop out of my eyes.  I was using artificial tears which lubricate your eyes well, but also can leave goop on your eyelashes.  Walking downstairs I saw the TV in the right position but not hooked up.  First thing I did was install the Playstation upstairs on it and test it; the picture was quite good and I was very satisfied.  I checked out basic cable and cringed at the poor broadcast quality.

Played Last of Us.  My vision was still quite blurry so I had to sit pretty close to the TV. Playing the game was fine, but it was difficult to read the numbers, such as amount of remaining ammo.  I got to the part where you meet the protagonist’s brother in the electric dam.

Dec 27, 2015.  Day 12. Giving the eyes a rest before an adventure
Aleve taken: 1
Norco taken: 1
Zymar (antibacterial eyedrops) taken: 4
Entertainment:  The last of us

The eye pain is completely gone.  Vision is probably good enough to drive.  Really wanting to get these dirty contacts out of my eyes.

I finished the Last of Us.  The game had quite a twist ending.  Overall I’d give this game a 8/10, and would recommend it to others.  The story and direction was what really made the game good.

Anth, Ricky and Fernando came by to check out the new TV and watch the new Quentin Tarantino western movie.  The movie was dialogue heavy, and now that the TV was in the living room, it was hard to hear over other people having conversation.  We decided to save that movie for another night.

Dec 28, 2015, Day 13.  First outting after PRK.
Aleve taken: 1
Norco taken: 1
Zymar (antibacterial eyedrops) taken: 4
Entertainment:  Board games at Lin’s, Sushi

Today I had the dirty bandage contacts removed from my eyes.  I tried reading the letters on the wall in the optometrist chair and had problems reading the first line.  The optometrist told me this is normal.

Now that my eyes didn’t hurt anymore I reduced my painkiller intake significantly.  However, I couldn’t sleep in as well as before because my shoulder would become sore and wake me up after about 7h.

I had my sutures removed from the shoulder surgery.  The wounds were scarring up quite nicely.  After today, I no longer needed bandages or dressings for the wounds.  I was told to start moisturizing the scars to make them fade.

After being cooped up in the house for 4 days, I had a serious case of cabin fever and needed to get out.  Friends were playing board games at Lin’s in Markham, but I didn’t bring my car and didn’t want to ask anyone to come and get me.  The solution was to take the GO bus.

Being a downtown resident, I never had to take the GO bus, as it is used mainly as a suburb/out of town commuter bus to downtown.  I took the streetcar and subway to Union station, then had to ask for help on buying a ticket to Unionville station.  I felt a little silly asking for directions in my own city, but now I can use the excuse that I’m an out of towner.  The GO bus is a comfortable coach bus which included personal lights and fans.  However, what would have normally been a 30 minute drive became a 1h15min voyage.

Lin picked me up from Unionville station and we played board games at Lin’s with JC, Jeff, and Justin before meeting up with Wendy at Yang’s kitchen sushi buffet.  As expected, we overate.   Overall it was very good, except for the ‘white tuna’ which is really some other fish.  Stuck to Salmon and Octopus.

Met up with Dean and Helene back at Lin’s game room.  I played ping pong while wearing my arm immobilizer and was surprised at how well I could still get around.
Dec 29, 2015, Day 14.  Lobster Dinners!
Norco taken:     1

So my painkiller intake has fallen pretty low now.  One different problem has arisen now that I’m not wearing the bandage contacts now; dry eyes.  Have you ever had your eyelid stick to your eyeball?  It’s quite painful.  I was instructed to use eyedrops before I open my eyes every morning.  I basically kept eyedrops in my pajama pants and dropped them in as soon as I woke up, and everything is OK for the rest of the day.

I took my mom and Noah out today for a lunch to thank them for a belated birthday and helping me out with LASIK.  Had brunch at a small hipster bar on Queen Street.  It was a very trendy place, and the food was good.  Only problem was the restaurant was so small that we could only get bar seating.

Needed to stimulate brain so I started reading about the Pacfic Trade Treaty (PTT).  Since I work in the US due to NAFTA, I would assume it would create more opportunities for people to work other places.  Talking to other people it seems like a way for the rich to get richer.

Jeff picked me up and drove us to Dean’s place where we played boardgames before going out to eat lobster.  We split a 9lbs lobster between the 6 of us (Lin, Jeff, Dean, Helene and JC).  Not only did they serve the largest lobster I’ve ever seen, they also served 4 Chinese deserts.  Would definitely recommend.

Back at Dean’s I faced him one-on-one in an X-Wing game of epic proportions.  We played a 300 point game which used huge battleships and took up the entire table.  It was a long and destructive game which took about 3h to complete.  Good times.

Dec 31, 2015. Day 16.  New Years Eve

Medicine:  some wine?

Ayaka came for a short vacation in Toronto and to eventually drive me back to Detroit.  I greeted her in my NYE attire: white dress shirt and blazer.  First impressions count, so I wasn’t wearing the immobilizer initially.  I put it on over the blazer afterwards, then set out in Ayaka’s Subaru with Ryan at wheel.  Noah decided to tag along as well.

First stop was Bill and Duyen’s place.  I felt much better dressed up than before at the Ugly Sweater party.  They did a great job of providing food and there was PLENTY of liquor.  Played charades with lots of old friends, but then we had to go.

Second stop was Dean’s place.  We did the whole countdown thing and welcomed the new year.  Ayaka wakes up super early for work, which translates into a super early bedtime, so not long after we headed back home.

Jan 1, 2015.  Day 17.  ROM

Ayaka had some friends visiting Toronto for the new years, so being the good local, I was volunteered as tour guide.  We had a double date with Aiko and Jason which started at Hemmingway’s in Yorkville, and concluded at the ROM.  The ROM had a particularly good special exhibit on the Italian city of Pompeii which was buried in volcanic ash following.  Also at the ROM we checked out the Wildlife photography of the year exhibit.  Usually I don’t have much of an appreciation for photography, but these were particularly well done.  We finished off our tour with a quick run through the bat cave, which I was somewhat disappointed; the bat cave was still well done, but as a child I liked the scary wow factor that it provided.  The scary factor was replaced with a slightly more educational tone.

Jan 10, 2015.  Day 27.  A week after work

Medicine:  ~1 Aleve / day for back pain

Settling back at work was a nice change.  I had a lot of people ask me about my arm in a sling.  My takeaway was the shoulder surgery hurt a lot less than expected, and the eye surgery hurt a lot more than expected.  I’m still limiting my physical activity, and mostly typing with one hand, but I am itching to get this immobilizer off for good.

Yesterday night I went out with Na and one of her classmates to a club in Windsor.  I took off my immobilizer and looped my left thumb into my belt loop and danced the night away without any pain.  It accidently came undone when I was sleeping, and I woke up with a sore shoulder.

My vision has gotten slowly better over the last couple of weeks.  It is really hard to notice the change in vision day to day.  I’m comfortable driving, and can read computer screens so it doesn’t affect me too much.  I am occasionally still light sensitive, so sometimes I’ll wear sunglasses inside.  It’s a strange recovery process.

Jan 24, 2016.  Week 6.  2 weeks out of the sling.

Medicine:  pretty much nothing.  Occasional Aleve.


I stopped using eyedrops last week.  No longer do I wake up with eyes so dry that my eyeballs stick to my eyelids.  That was particularly painful.

I’m still relatively light sensitive.  I’m a short dude so when I am talking to tall people in the office I have to put on sunglasses because the office lights shine in my eyes.  Despite the doctor reccomending I wear them outside all the time, I don’t feel like I need to.

I’m enjoying my new vision.  It’s not super sharp like I thought it would be, but I don’t have any problems driving or anything.  In a couple of weeks I’ll go in for my 1-month eye exam to see what the final result will be.


It’s surprising how quickly you can regain arm functionality.  I am doing 4 arm stretches:  front arm climb, door jam rotation, countertop dips, and cross body stretches.  The cross body stretches are the most difficult because it requires to (i) bring your arm up to 90′, and (ii) pull across your body.

The first week I could only raise my arm about 30′.  This week (week 6- post operation) I can raise my arm to about 90′ with it’s own strength.  By week 8, I should be within 15′ of my original motion, else I will need “manipulation”.

I’m excited to start Physiotherapy this week!  I’ll have to do it for 4 months, but I should be back to normal by summer.

Feb 2, 2016.  Week 7.


I haven’t even thought about the surgery.  Good vision has just become normal.  I haven’t needed any eyedrops lately.  I never really had a problem with night halos or starbursts; in fact I think the lights look quite pretty at night.


At the beginning of the week, I could barely flick my turn signal with my right arm.  Now I can do it quickly, and also turn the steering wheel all the way around.  I’m looking forward to starting Physio tomorrow.

October 2, 2016

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated.  As of now my eyes are great! The vision is not as sharp as was right after the surgery, but I definitely do not need glasses.  Driving and night vision is completely fine. Occasionally I’ll wake up with dry eyes, but that will generally go away 10 minutes after waking up.

My shoulder had a much longer recovery.  I used up 53 of the 60 physical therapy appointments spanning 6 months.  Progress was slow and steady up to 4 months, then I plateaued for about 3 weeks.  I decided to go get deep tissue massages which loosened up my traps and neck.  That smoothed out recovery and helped me along.

As of now I’m basically back to normal.  I’m still taking it slow with wide armed pull-ups, but I can swim and play volleyball, run, bike etc… I even tried kneeboarding, which I thought was risky.  I had dislocated my shoulder learning how to wakeboard, and this is not that much different.  My shoulder feels much more stable, and I would highly recommend this surgery to anyone having problems with dislocations.

One Reply to “Recovery Blog”

  1. Glad to hear that both surgeries seemed go well. Ryan told me a little bit about your recovery, but it was really interesting to hear first-person about your experience with it. I hope the rest of your recovery is smooth and you don’t encounter any other complications!

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