A Good Shoulder Again
by Maureen McHugh
In April 2001 Patrick Miller, a man in his vigorous sixties, came into one of my group classes. During the first class of each session, we do introductions. In introducing himself, he said he had a problem with his right shoulder. As he demonstrated, he couldn’t raise his right hand above his right shoulder and he couldn’t bring the arm behind his back. A surgeon had offered to do exploratory surgery for rotator cuff damage, but Patrick had declined.
Patrick continued with the class through several quarters, gradually becoming more limber and referring less and less to his right shoulder as a problem. When he had been with the class for about one and a half years and we were doing introductions again, he said that he came to class, just generally, because it made him feel good. My face wrinkled up in a question mark, and I said, “But, Patrick, what about your right shoulder?” He looked puzzled for a moment and then said, “Oh, yeah. I forgot about my right shoulder.”
As we were discussing this last night, now two and a half years since he began, Patrick was lying on his back with both hands behind his head, very comfortable, and he gladly sat up to show me how he easily he brings his right arm behind his back.