Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Way Back Wednesday---Straighten Up

     Well let's go back 26 years to the summer of 1986, when I had back surgery at age 14.  You might be asking, why on earth would she put unflattery pictures like this on her blog?  Well as hard as it looks this was one of my biggest blessings in my life.  No, it sure doesn't look like it nor did it feel like it at the time.  I want to show you blessings come in all forms.
     As I grew up, I regularly had checkups at ACH to monitor the progression of my scoliosis. Around 14, Dr. McCarthy explained that it was time to intervene and discussed a new corrective procedure.  This involved putting two rods, one on each side of the spine, to straighten my back. Well this was a new surgery here at the time in Arkansas.  I think they were doing their second or third surgery later that week.  Well that wasn't enough experience for my parents to let them practice on me.  After researching the surgery, they found the Leatherman Spine Center in Louisville, KY.  My doctor/surgeon there was Dr. John Johnson.  I don't remember how many of these surgeries they had done there but something like a thousand.
     I don't remember a whole lot but I'll share the highlights.  My parents took me to Opryland before the surgery to ride all the roller coasters I wanted.  I remember giving, wait no they TOOK, my blood a day or two before.  The fear of that is quite vivid in my mind.  The next pre-op task was to lay on this machine that literally stretched you to see how straight they could get me.  They said tell us if it starts to hurt and we'll stop. Well have you ever told somebody to stop and they did.. about 3 minutes too late?  I know I said stop before I felt any pain, maybe that's why they did it twice.
     We didn't tell anyone, except my aunt and uncle in CA who came to KY for it, that I was having back surgery.  I don't know in hindsight, if that was the right decision but it was at my request and my parents agreed. 
     I remember reassuring my parents before going into the operating room, that I was going to be fine.  After going into the OR, I was worried that I was going to be on my stomach for x number of hours.  I don't sleep like that?  I just hadn't thought about it.  All I remember from the recovery room is seeing my parents for a split second and BANGING on the side rail for some pain medicine.  Pain meds, you gotta love them.  I think that's why my memory is so faded about this week. My mom did have a little 'Terms of Endearment' moment over getting my pain medicine to me during a shift change.  I also remember walking the halls with assistance and getting encouragement from the people I passed by.
     I also want to note the other people we met there.  I was only there for a week but others were there for months on end.  That will give you encouragement in itself.  It helps you look past yourself and have empathy for others.
     Friends of ours let us borrow their full size van to bring me home.  I had to remain flat.  When we got home, I was carried in by a sheet. This might have been the scariest part of the whole ordeal.  I spent that summer recovering and doing circles around kitchen.  A visible incentive to get better was being built in the backyard---the pool.
     So that is what I remember of the blessing that helped me continue on a little straighter. The blessing lives on because not once in the past 26yrs have I had any pain or problems from the rods.  God is good ALL the time.