I spoke to my best friend the other day, whom I 100% love, all the way, no matter what, every day. I love her firstly because she is a brave, badass entrepreneur who is amazing at what she does for a living and took a chance on herself to become an awesome businesswomen. But she’s also an amazing friend.

We all have those friends who are like, “You know what’s right in your heart. Go with your gut!” when you ask for advice.

And then there are friends who will say, “Don’t be an idiot. Do this.” Sarah is the latter.

When I rambled on (with essentially my concerns from this post), she said:

“I can see both sides, but hasn’t it been bothering you pretty bad? Also, the whole ‘I’m injured but still can push myself’ thing kinda seems painful and honestly a weird mentality to have. I get that some situations don’t need surgery, but if you have a torn tendon and are pretty much daring it to get worse by continuing to do the same work that’s irritating it, I feel like that’s gonna have a very bad ending.

The one thing I can compare it to are the people who brag about how productive they are when they only got 4 hrs of sleep. Like, you’re doing your body more harm if anything”

To which my reply was, “OMG. I hate those people. Why am I being those people?” I’ve had lots of opinions from many people, and many of whom I really trust and love. Something about the way Sarah phrased that really hit me in the face.

hate those martyr people who are like, “I did all this while suffering through! Be impressed.” In my mind, I’m not trying to be a martyr, but with all the pain and discomfort I’m in–I’m essentially trying to be a martyr and “power through” while I can’t do normal things like type out a blog without pain.

Ok, now to the things I’ve been reading that I should buy for shoulder surgery. As I mentioned before, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the injury, the SLAP tear surgery, the recovery process, and more. I’ve been tracking other people who’ve had the surgery, reading their blogs, and taking in all their recommendations.

So, I thought I’d chronicle what others have said they’ve found useful. And when I fully decide on the surgery (yes or no), I’ll let you know if I purchase them, and then, how well they do for post-surgery.

(Also, these are NOT affiliate links, because I think that’s really shitty of bloggers to do. I don’t make money off these. I’m recommending them based on research I’ve done, not any profit I’d get out of it.)

Mesh Sling:

mesh sling from amazon for shoulder surgery

I’ve read that a mesh sling is super helpful when you finally get the go-ahead to shower. Quite a few people have said that you get really used to having an immobilized arm, so free-wheeling in the shower feels super awkward and uncomfortable.

A mesh sling lets you get your shower on without worrying about getting your really expensive sling/immobilizer wet, while making sure your shoulder and arm feels comfortable. This one is ~$8 on Amazon, so not too expensive, either.

Long-Handled Bath Sponge:

Speaking of bathing, if you don’t have someone to help you, or you just want some peace and quiet alone in the shower, a lot of people recommend a long-handled bath sponge to help you get the most out of your one good arm. There are a bunch of cheap options on Amazon, or you could go get one at Target beforehand.

Shower Chair:

shower chair for shoulder surgery

Believe it or not, I already have one of these. This is the model I have. It’s pretty sturdy. It’s survived since we first got it in 2013, and it’s been through 2 injuries. I like it because it’s adjustable in height, has little grippy bottoms (so no sliding around in the shower), has holes in the seat so you don’t just sit in your sad puddle of water, and it assembles and disassembles easily. We’ve stored it and un-stored it a few times now… all for me.

Detachable Shower Head:

Just like the long-handled bath sponge, a detachable shower head can help you make the most of the bathing process with one arm. If you have your shower chair, your long sponge, your mesh sling, and your detachable shower head–you’ll be clean for as long as you can only use one arm! Just get someone else to wash your hair.

Foam Bed Orthopedic System:

Orthopedic foam wedges for shoulder surgery

This one linked above from Amazon is the cheapest I can find. I read about the Relax the Back system from a YouTube video of someone who had shoulder surgery, but that system is $250! That seems like a lot of money especially with all the other expenses related to surgery and recovery.

You obviously can’t really sleep on your side or stomach after a shoulder surgery repair, so many people sleep in recliners or use a bunch of extra pillows in bed to prop themselves and their involved arms up. This could be a potentially good option, but it would have to be worth even the lower $180 price from Amazon…

Upright Reading Pillow with Arms:

upright reading pillow for after shoulder surgery

My mom actually got me one of these for Christmas. I asked for it just because I remember her having one when I was a kid, and I wanted one to use in the living room for when I work from home or play games with Sean.

One person’s blog I read said she really benefitted from having that pillow after her surgery. So, I might have actually helped myself out in asking for this one on it’s own!

Button-Up Shirts, No-Button Pants, and (for ladies) Front-Close Bras:

Getting dressed with the use of only one arm is hard enough, but after shoulder surgery a lot of people also have trouble because their involved arm is stationary. You don’t realize how much you use your shoulder even for movements that don’t involve it (like zipping your pants or fastening buttons). Many people recommend investing in zip-up or button up shirts as it’s hard to put on a shirt over your head and stick your arms through.

I watched a video the other day of a woman who had shoulder surgery who demonstrated how to put on a very loose long-sleeved shirt–putting her involved arm in first, and then sliding it over her head and putting the uninvolved arm in. You can’t do that with certain types of shirts, though. Others recommend shirts and bras that you can pull up from your feet. I don’t even know how that would work… lol

The same goes for pants–finding the best and easiest to put on pants with one arm and one hand. Lots of people recommend pants with no fasteners, zippers, required belts, etc.

And for ladies, finding an easy bra that doesn’t fasten in the back or require two hands to put on will probably make life easier. I think a front-fastening bra (like those zipper-up sports bras) or a kind of sports bra that’s not hard to stretch out over your arm or pull up from the bottom. Sayonara, support! (Just for a few weeks, though, hopefully.)

Rolling Laptop Bag:

rolling laptop bag for shoulder surgeryIf you can’t/don’t want to take 6 weeks off and commute to work, I imagine a rolling laptop bag will benefit you greatly. This is the cheapest one I could find on Amazon, but you might be able to find one at Walmart or Target for less (and maybe one that’s more stylish, too). It is what it is, and I imagine you’ll be able to carry things again after about 2 months or so. Since it’s not a permanent thing (I guess unless you like it so much you never want to carry a real bag again), I’d go for a cheapie one regardless of the looks. They have fancier ones for $$$$ if you want to fully commit, though.


Other people online have recommended those going for shoulder surgery invest in large ice packs, heat rash powder (especially if you’re having surgery in the summer–but also because the sling keeps your arm close to your body where it’s warm and sweaty), lots of pillows in case you need to prop up your arm, pump soap so you don’t have to work up a lather with your bar soap manually, high fiber foods or laxatives since pain medication can mess with your digestive system, and, most importantly, someone to help you the first few weeks. You won’t be able to drive or wash your hair or make your own meals without a lot of struggle, os having a helping hand (and someone to be there for you emotionally, as well), is one of the NUMBER ONE recommended must-have after shoulder surgery.

People who have had surgery (or even those who haven’t), what else would you add to this list?

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