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O’DAY’S TRAVEL WOES #26: Dislocated Shoulder On An Airplane

October 1994 (continued): On Thursday night, I flew to Seattle. As I reached my seat while boarding the plane, my shoulder engaged in one of its amusing occasional pastimes: It popped out of the socket.

Disclocated Shoulder

This is an incredibly painful but usually short-lived experience. When it happens, my arm is twisted all out of shape. All I can do is try to manipulate the shoulder with my opposite hand until, somehow, it pops back into place. Sometime this takes only a minute or two; sometimes it takes longer.

This time it took longer.

Needing the space in which to stagger around like a wounded animal and not particularly wanting to provide a sideshow for the other passengers, I made my way to the rear of the plane and frantically tried to repair my shoulder.

Nothing I did succeeded.

I didn’t know if I could even be belted into my airplane seat in that condition. And I certainly did not want to spend the next couple of hours like that.

It had never taken more than five minutes or so to get my shoulder back in place. This time, five minutes passed without any success. Then ten. Then 15. After 25 minutes — literally seconds before the announcement was made to buckle up for take-off — my shoulder popped back in.

At least I had gotten that trip’s bad luck out of the way early. Or so I thought….

Next Week: A nasty run-in with Kenny Loggins.

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  • Emilio Pastrana March 27, 2009, 12:53 am

    Good grief Dan! … I’m just ending a similar problem (swollen tendon in my right shoulder) and it hurts like hell! I hope you are well and getting medical attention. I know is hard to get convinced and go to the doctor because we are so immerse in our world that usually let this kind of problems aside, but keep in mind something: if you don’t take care of this situation, you will have a really hard time writing, blogging … even dialing your cell phone, so make some time in your busy schedule and go and fix this.
    With my best regards …

    Emilio Pastrana

  • Scott Bradley Hancock March 27, 2009, 12:56 am

    dan… I feel for ya.

    22 years ago (in high school) I dislocated my shoulder several times wrestling. had surgery on it. now, it will pop out every so often. not for long… a minute max.

    until 2 weeks ago.

    I wake up out of a dead sleep in screaming pain. my shoulder had popped out in my sleep. it took nearly 20 minutes for me to jam it back in, and then it still wasn’t fully in until the Xray tech at the hospital was positioning it for Xray.

    like I said… I TOTALLY feel your pain.

  • Anonymous March 27, 2009, 12:58 am

    Way to go Dan.. Been in similar situations with my hip. I’ve got 14 suurgeries and now a new hip to prove it. LOL Good story Dan. But U forgot to tell them where U were and why U were on the plane in the first place. I don’t think you will obtain as much sympathy if they all know where U were vacationing as everyone would be jealous. If fact ,, I believe I would take a popped out arm for that locale. hahahaha !!! Take care,
    Friends in Radio since 1978,
    Mark Allen McClain a.k.a.
    HUNTER GREEN (Radio name) now disabled.

  • adamg March 27, 2009, 1:12 am

    Does sound pretty painful..and maybe pops in and out even today 15 years later I would guess…
    I ‘ ll be pterodactyling for you.
    I guess when you have a bone to pick you also pull and push till it gets into place! I won’t mess with you..be careful..Serious, I heard The “24” theme music..you are more real than Keifer..BoA spots-why him I do not know. Did you hear Chris Rock say on Kimmel, “The kids don’t care it’s me doing the voice why use me?” …Adam

  • adamg March 27, 2009, 1:14 am

    I care ..I care…too bad the airline was not compassionate…
    (Can they be compassionate?)

  • wendytime March 27, 2009, 3:57 am

    why does it do that to begin with?

  • Dan O’Day March 27, 2009, 10:07 am

    @ adamg: The flight attendant seemed concerned and solicitous. There’s just no way she could have let me stay on the plane in that condition. As I mentioned, I don’t believe I even could have sat in a position that would allow to fasten my seat belt.

  • Dan O’Day March 27, 2009, 10:08 am

    @ wendytime: Apparently — I learned this only years later — since I was a teenager I’ve walking around with something very similar to a torn rotator cuff.

  • Robin Egerton March 27, 2009, 3:31 pm

    My condolences Dan. I experience the same problem randomly, and know it is quite possibly the most excruciating pain in the world.

  • Deborah Bonner March 28, 2009, 9:08 am

    Ouch!!! The reason planes have wings is so you don’t have to flap your own arms. Hope you feel better soon


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