Monday, June 29, 2009
Beautiful inside and out
I have mentioned our son's (Mr. Almost-16's) scoliosis and subsequent surgeries several times on this blog. In fact, the reason behind this blog was for me to write about our experience from the time just before diagnosis, the diagnosis itself, the surgeons, the surgeries and recovery. There are other entries in between these so I have chosen only a few. At the time, the more I wrote the more difficult it became to continue writing. I was a little disappointed because I expected the opposite.
Anyway, a few months ago my son had more X-rays done to see how healing has progressed in his spine.
This is an image of the X-ray at diagnosis (he is standing up straight) that shocked us to the core:
After his first surgery where T10 to L3 (five vertebraes) were fixed together with titanium rods and screws. His intervertebral discs were removed completely. He also had two ribs removed and 'chipped' over the instrumentation. The chips eventually grow and mould to create one solid fixture eliminating the chance of any further curvature of the spine.
Six weeks later he underwent further surgery where T5 to T12 (a further seven levels) fixed in a similar way to the first operation. Again, all intervertebral discs were removed. This time five ribs were removed and chipped over the instrumentation. This is the end result:
He does have limited movement but never once has he complained or questioned 'why me?'. After his second surgery his chest filled with 1.5 litres of blood and he almost had to be intubated for respiratory distress had it not been for pure luck. He even had a chest drain inserted to drain the fluid, no anaesthesia. This was the worst for him (and certainly us; we could hear his cries of agony 60 metres away down a long corridor).
He recently expressed to me that the main concern for him was worrying about us and how we were going to be disrupted with his hospitalisation, such is his selflessness. As you can imagine, he also has numerous huge scars on his chest and back and, on a recent beach holiday, commented that he needed his singlet to cover his hairy chest. He didn't make mention of the scars. He never makes mention of the scars. I wish he did, sometimes. But this is his way of dealing with 'it'.
Our wonderful son is as happy today as he looks in the first photo. He is the comedian of the family and his class, and an absolute car enthusiast. He is also academic and applies himself to his schoolwork like a mature-age student. He wants to study medicine to become a surgeon. He wants to be like his surgeon, one who talks with patients; a surgeon who asks his patients how they are before he sees them on the inside. I think he'll get there.