Well, it’s definitely not “nothing.”

Much as I want this injury to be a strain, sprain, or other “minor tweakage,” I discovered something last night that pretty much proves there is something out-and-out WRONG with my shoulder.

I mean, besides the fact that some of the pain I get from it makes me gasp in surprise WHILE ON LORTAB.

Before getting into bed I had to remove some clothing. This meant removing the sling. With it off, I decided to take a few minutes and map out the range-of-motion pain. Slowly and excruciatingly I moved my arm around, deliberately taking it places that earlier in the day had been labeled with ugly clap-board signs saying things like “House of Pain,” and “Short, Sharp Shock.” I was pleased to find that the full range of motion seemed to be available to me, provided I didn’t mind the fact that this range could only be reached by walking over broken glass.

Then I tried to reach forward. Uh-oh.

I present this as an exercise for the reader.
1) Sit up straight.
2) touch the top of your computer monitor.
3) I can’t do that with my right hand.

It’s not just “dear me, it hurts too much.” It’s “why can’t I lift my arm?”

I can lift the arm laterally (provided I’m willing to make unpleasant noises and tear up like big cry-baby), but I can’t then bring my extended arm in front of me.

I suspect I’ve found the bit that’s separated.

18 thoughts on “Well, it’s definitely not “nothing.””

  1. Hope you heal quickly!

    Sorry to hear that you’re hurt. I hope you heal soon. Take care of yourself!
    Penguicon Greenroom

  2. “I suspect I’ve found the bit that’s separated.

    I feel: detached”

    I know you thought you weren’t very funny last night… but THAT made me laugh out loud.

    I’ve done bad things to my joints over the years. Take care of your body now. I’d rather wait a while for new content and have decades more of it than get new content for another year and have you have to quit.

    1. Yeah, that was on purpose.

      Just before I clicked “submit,” I had a sudden onset of dizziness, a cold sweat, and a wash of nausea. That was two Lortab kicking in at once.

      I’ve been in bed ever since. I’m going back now.

    2. I’d rather wait a while for new content and have decades more of it than get new content for another year and have you have to quit. ditto.

  3. Hi Howard,

    Sorry to read of your injury, you must address this sooner than later, other readers confirm your heath comes before Schlock, if you need to rest, DO SO.
    I know we all take own money earning capacity for granted, this is how I find it works, you work real hard climbing the hill when your on top something happens to bring you down some, when you are down something happens to pop you up again. It’s almost as if a greater power applies the gas and brakes for us.

    Get well soon

  4. Time to train the children to perform useful and helpful tasks. Like, “now go script and draw today’s comic for daddy.”

  5. Seriously. Take a few days. guest drawings for a filler strip; sketches you have lying around already, whatever; take the time you need to heal. It’ll be okay if we have to wait a little longer for the next book.

    Besides, you’ve never worried about drawing things out and teasing your audience before. Now people can stop complaining about “Meanwhile at the Galactic Core…”! {grin}

    Feel better, get better, and don’t overdo it–overdoing it when you’re healing just leads to more pain; I know that from experience. And since nobody else seems to have said it, you’ve got our prayers.

  6. Take care of your arm first, Howard. Shoulder injuries like yours are not trivial. I’m pretty sure we can all live with guest artwork in Schlock for a while.

  7. I must agree with everyone else. Your shoulder is much more important than the late-night/early-morning giggles we get from your strip. True, I’d miss it, but it’s better than messing things up further. I must admit, though, it is a bit ironic that both you and Pete (my two favorite webcartoonists) hurt your drawing arms at the same time.

    Of course, I wouldn’t mind some early-strip-quality left-handed strips, again. Just for reminiscence, of course. 😉

  8. Well, just remember: if it hurts when you do that, then don’t do it.

    (Unless it’s something like breathing, of course.)

  9. If it makes you feel better, I did something to my shoulder in a car wreck sometime back and I mostly have no trouble with it now. Keep it warm at night though… waking up in the morning with a stove up (sue me, I’m southern) arm is no fun. But once it heals you should be able to to pretty much anything as long as you don’t let it get too still and too cold at the same time for very long.

  10. Hey, I’m sorry you hurt yourself, I hope this can help you.

    If you have a chance at all, go to the Egoscue clinic in Denver for your rehab. If you can’t make it to one of their clinics, there’s a couple of books they have that can be really helpful, and the message boards on the website are really awesome.


    I’ve managed to rehab my knee without needing surgery (which was looking likely) though their exercises. If you’re having trouble with full range of motion after the immediate injury is healed, they are the best people to talk to (and it took me a good…8 years to find them!)

    I hope you feel better soon.


  11. Take it easy

    and listen to the nice doctor.

    I managed to do something similar, though apparently not so bad, just a couple of weeks ago. Again, fumbled DEX roll – I was sliding down one of those swimming-pool waterchutes that goes all twisty and requires a certain (but small) amount of skill to stay sitting upright in. of course, I was trying to show my friends how it was done, since they kept grinding to a halt (we decided later it was the fashionably baggy swimming trunks acting as brake parachutes). I lose my balance and BAM ! I hit my shoulder on what felt like exactly the right spot for maximum effect. On a Saturday, after all the medics have shut up shop and vanished in the direction of Family for the rest of the weekend.

    I couldn’t lift my arm about 2/3 of the way to shoulder-level for over 24 hours, driving home was literally a pain, and I could feel all the muscles in my back seizing up in a chain reaction – after 2 months’ physiotherapy to unknot them because I was *born* with a bad back. Rats.

    However, if you’re careful and really do avoid using that shoulder (carry no weights, but you may be able to type if you’re sitting properly) it should heal up fairly quickly. I’ve got full use of it back, the tendons are still a bit sensitive, but that’s to be expected.

    YOU’LL BE OK. Just don’t play at silly buggers (visions of my mother-in-law, who’s even more Type A than you come to mind). We want Schlock to go on, but we want a fit and healthy cartoonist working on it.

    I can assure you that, painful as it is, it’s nothing compared to having your first rib removed – as happened to me a few years back (thoracic outlet syndrome). Too agonising even to sit upright, though since all I could do was read, I finally read the two children’s books my mother sent us for Christmas that year and no-one had touched, by a promising young author called J.K. Rowling.

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