31 January 2011 by Published in: Blogging 21 comments

I spent most of my youth playing baseball. There was baseball season, and then there was other stuff we did until it was baseball season again, like going to school. I played softball well into my forties.

Now that I’m about to turn 50, I am paying the price for that lifetime spent playing baseball. My right acromioclavicular joint (part of the shoulder structure) is filled with bone spurs and arthritis, and the bone spurs constantly irritate the surrounding tendons, which means that I have a perpetual case of very painful tendonitis that nothing helps. The only thing that will help is to remove the bone spurs that cause the irritation of the tendons. Considering that I’m right handed and was a pitcher for a part of my baseball career, this does not come as a huge surprise.

So, come Wednesday afternoon, I am having surgery to go in and clean all of that accumulated junk out of the joint. Assuming that there is no involvement of the rotator cuff–and the MRI does not show any–I should be out of the sling in about ten days and then onto about six weeks of rehab. My personal trainer has been working hard on strengthening my rotator cuff since this problem became acute in October, so hopefully, the physical therapy won’t be too bad as a result.

If the rotator cuff is involved–the orthopedist won’t know for sure until he gets in there on Wednesday–then it gets ugly. Really ugly. Then, I’m in a sling and sleeping in a recliner for six weeks with lots of thoroughly unpleasant physical therapy to survive.

So, my point is that having my right arm in a sling means that I won’t be around here much for the next two weeks for sure. Once I know how it went and am allowed to have some use of my right arm, I will update this. For now though, effective tomorrow afternoon, I fade to black for a little while. Wish me luck. In the meantime, I will miss my interactions here.

UPDATE: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7: I’m now five days post-surgical. The good news is that there was no tear in the rotator cuff, and the surgeon only had to clean out the bone spurs and arthritis. That’s very good news indeed. The bad news is that I’ve still got a pretty fair amount of pain, although I’ve managed to avoid taking any more percocet since bedtime on Saturday night (I really don’t like how they make me feel at all). I put in half a day at the office Friday and about 3/4 of a day at the office today.

I’ve now been out of the sling for about two hours tonight. It aches, but it’s tolerable. I hope to be able to put in a full day of work tomorrow, and I’m going to try to be out of the sling for much of the day while there.

Thanks to everyone for all of the good wishes and good thoughts stated here. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Scridb filter


  1. Christ Liebegott
    Mon 31st Jan 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Eric, lots of luck w/ the surgery…let’s keep it optimistic and hope there’s no rotator cuff problems. Look forward to your being back in a couple of weeks.

  2. Mon 31st Jan 2011 at 5:19 pm

    So that’s why the Phillies strengthened the pitching staff… they had inside information as to your lack of availability.

  3. Jeff Brown
    Mon 31st Jan 2011 at 6:19 pm


    My brother (another baseball nut – no coincidence, I’m sure) had that exact same surgery and did very well. I am sure you will experience a similar happy outcome. We have six more weeks of winter- so you’ll be back in fighting trim just as the weather starts to turn nice again. Best wishes,


  4. John Foskett
    Mon 31st Jan 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Eric: Best of luck with that. Everybody here is hoping it goes as expected and figuring out what to read while you’re on down time.

  5. Jim Pearson
    Mon 31st Jan 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Been there. You will be amazed by importance of the physical therapist is to your recovery. The assisted motion and the exercises may cause pain, but the result is a miracle in healing.

    Good luck.

  6. Mon 31st Jan 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Good luck, buddy. You should be back to pitching form for the 2012 season!

  7. Ole
    Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 3:32 am

    Betting the PT will be more trying than the surgery. No shovelling allowed.

  8. Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 6:51 am

    Take care of yourself, Eric.

  9. Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 7:24 am

    Hope all goes well, Eric. At least it’s only your arm in a sling.:)

  10. James F. Epperson
    Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 8:26 am

    Here’s hoping the coming storm does not upset your plans 🙁 At least you have an excuse not to do any shoveling!

    It could be worse: I have some issues in my left hip, and have been told that in a few years it will get bad enough I will want and need a hip replacement! Oh, joy!

  11. Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Good luck to you. I’ve had both shoulders done, and enjoy the results. We will miss you in the meantime…

  12. Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Ugh. I am in need of similar surgery for my throwing shoulder as well and have been simply living with the daily pain for about ten years. Glad to hear you’re getting yours taken care of. I’ll go under the knife one of these days….

  13. Chris Evans
    Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Hope to see you posting here again soon. Always one of my favorite Civil War blogs to read!

  14. Ian Duncanson
    Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Eric, wishing you a successful surgery and please don’t be tempted to use that shoulder prematurely. Time is the great healer.

  15. Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Eric –

    Best Wishes for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery!


  16. Colin Woodward
    Tue 01st Feb 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Good luck with the surgery. I was the same way when I was younger–I played baseball all the time until my college years. I hope it doesn’t come back later to cause me pain (and medical bills). Unlike you, though, I’m more concerned about my knees, which have never been good.

  17. Stu Younkin
    Wed 02nd Feb 2011 at 9:58 am

    Best wishes to you on your surgery, and to a quick recovery!

  18. Scott Stemler
    Wed 02nd Feb 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Wishing you the best. Hope all goes well.

  19. J David Petruzzi
    Fri 04th Feb 2011 at 1:21 am

    Good to hear that you’re recovering and the surgery went well.
    Take lots of meds and copious adult beverages.
    Well, maybe not at the same time…

  20. Jim Coyle
    Fri 04th Feb 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Glad to hear the surgery went well. Hope you will have a fast recovery.

  21. Nick Norwood
    Mon 07th Feb 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Glad that you are well on the road to recovery, just don’t over do it now! Really enjoy the blog as well as all your work!

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