Meantime, on December 16, 2009, I saw my primary care physician (PCP) to ask for a referral to get some physical therapy for the shoulder. At this point, I didn't think it was too serious, but I felt it wasn't going to heal on its own.
Before visiting the doctor, I recall testing my range of motion with the left arm and being a little alarmed at how limited it had become. When I stretched my left arm out up in front of me, I could barely get it past 90 degrees. My right arm could easily go up all the way past my head, a little beyond 180 degrees.
The doctor gave me a quick look. She asked if I was waking up with any pain at night, and I said no (I thought "why on earth would I have pain at night when I'm not doing anything?" - there was some foreshadowing going on there). I was only having mild pain during some activities at that point.
Anyway, the doc decided I had a rotator cuff injury, and told me it would likely give me a lot of pain and would take a long time to heal. "Oh no!" was my reaction.
She referred me to an orthopedist. I figured, OK, the orthopedist will look at me, and refer me to physical therapy. It seemed like a waste of time, but ya gotta jump through the hoops. She also sent me to get x-rays immediately - they came back normal a few days later. (It was nice to confirm that I hadn't broken anything. In fact, if it had been up to me, I wouldn't have taken x-rays, since I was completely sure I hadn't broken anything. But later my orthopedist told me that you may not realize it when you have broken something in this area!)
Before leaving my PCP's office, I went to make an appointment with orthopedist. The computer systems were down! They told me to call for an appointment the next day. But it was just before Christmas, and I was very busy at work, and I was just coming down with a cold, so I procrastinated.
In fact I procrastinated until after my January ski trip. When I got back, the earliest I could see the orthopedist was in the middle of February. Bummer, I wanted to go immediately.