Sarah Super, a semi-retired accountant, has volunteered at the Amador County Animal Shelter for 29 years performing various tasks including walking the dogs. "I love walking the dogs," Super says. "It's a big part of my life."
However, increasing pain in her left shoulder kept Super from the volunteering she loved so much. Any small yank on the leash would cause extreme pain in her shoulder. The shoulder pain, caused by severe osteoarthritis, also restricted her range of motion, preventing Super from doing simple things, like reaching up to comb her hair, getting things out of the cupboard and pulling clothes out of her dryer. The pain even affected her sleep.
Super was referred to orthopedic surgeon Matthew Tweet, M.D., with Sutter Medical Group, who recommended a shoulder joint replacement. "Dr. Tweet was wonderful," Super says. "He put up my x-rays, and at the same time, showed me a model of a shoulder and explained why my shoulder was in pain. He then shared exactly how he would perform the shoulder replacement."
Dr. Tweet performed the shoulder joint replacement at Sutter General Hospital where Super stayed overnight. "The care was wonderful," she says. "I felt I was looked after very well."
At home, Super wore a sling day and night for six weeks. Once she no longer needed the sling, she began range of motion exercises with a physical therapist and eventually added strength-training exercises. Being diligent in performing the exercises paid off. Today Super has a full range of motion without pain.
She is back at the animal shelter, enjoying her time with the dogs, big and small, special breeds and fun-loving mutts. Although Super currently walks the gentle dogs, she's looking forward to walking the more rambunctious ones in the near future. "The dogs are my special joy," Super says. "I've learned I can't take them home, but I can help the dogs and enjoy my time with them."