Sunday, January 25, 2009

Infinite Chances

(continued from "The Observation that Changed Everything")

“Life gives you infinite chances”: A phrase from one of my favorite shows (mentioned several blogs ago) and something I have come to believe whole-heartedly. Life has a tendency to come full circle; at least that is what I have experienced on a number of occasions.

During a bi-annual visit to my Great Aunt and Uncle’s house my parents were alerted to significant changes in my condition (V.A.T.E.R. syndrome, specifically the scoliosis aspect) that had not been evident to them. However, these changes were very obvious to family members who hadn’t seen me in several months.

Oblivious to the weight of their concerns, we returned home and I returned to life as usual – but not for long. My mother scheduled an appointment with my back doctor and we went to see her. My parents could not understand how this had slipped by my multiple doctors. My doctor also seemed concerned, and I must apologize, but a lot of these memories are blurry to me because:
1. It was an information overload for a 10-11 year old child
2. These medical memories are intertwined with memories of playing with friends, “crushing” on boys, doing homework, moving twice, and other normal stuff

I do not know why, but although this woman was my regular back doctor, we were referred to a specialist for council. The first doctor we would consult was named Dr. Fountain. Dr. Fountain had performed spinal surgery on me when I was two years old. At that time he removed a piece of my tailbone and placed it against my spine, holding the spine upright. I had several body braces and body casts during the first few years of my life. So when my parents told me about Dr. Fountain and our visit, I think we all assumed it was time for another brace to straighten me out.

I remember how sure I felt that I was going to be getting another brace. I was a little resistant – puberty would be hard enough without feeling like a turtle (*singing “Hero’s in a half-shell – turtle power!) – But not overly so. We sat down in the office – my mother, father and me. My father being there should’ve been my first hint that this wasn’t going to be a good visit. My dad worked night-shift and rarely accompanied us to things like doctor appointments. After reviewing my x-rays, Dr. Fountain gave us the surprising news. My spine had started rotating around the bony barrier he had created when I was two, and no body brace could reverse its effect. I would need to have another surgery.

I was in shock. My mom started crying. I don’t remember actually feeling anything until she started crying. I was like a baby who falls over and bumps its head, then looks up to its mother’s face for directions as to how to react. She was scared, so I felt scared. She was crying, so I started crying. We were escorted into another room while my father spoke to Dr. Fountain alone. “Man-to-man” I guess.

My parents trusted Dr. Fountain. They loved him, especially how quickly he and I bonded when I was a toddler. But it was a big decision, and my parents still wanted a second opinion. Our next visit would be somewhere that was very familiar to them…

(to be continued)

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