…October 15, 2003
I arrived at Children’s Memorial before sun rise. They immediately get me all settled in for surgery. My parents were nervous. I, on the other hand, was taking pictures with the anesthesiologist smiling with a thumbs up. I was ready! Here we go…
6.5 hour surgery
3 ribs cracked off (to reduce deformation)
2 metal rods from top to bottom
several screws holding my rods in place
…21, the degree I was settled at. 33 degrees better than where I started!
Now I have to wake up…
Where am I? What is going on? OUCHHHHHHHH!!!!!
I wake up on a morphine drip, a blood drain in my back, a catheter and an oxygen mask because I wasn’t strong enough at times to breathe on my own. I was being woken up for vitals and blood tests every couple of hours. I was miserable. Blinking hurt. You really don’t realize how much you use your back until you can’t! Within 24 hours the physical therapist was in my room teaching me how to sit up and walk. Trying to get up after my back was torn to shreds was by far one of the most painful things I can remember. I did not do very well with this. As for walking, I held tight to whoever was next to me and took 2inch steps. My physical therapist was the nicest lady, but seeing her bought immediate tears to my eyes. I just wanted to lay there, untouched.
The hospital stay was a total of 6 days. By day 4 I was finally eating and walking on my own. My parents actually have a picture of my first steps…I guess that would make it the 2nd time I have taken my “first steps.” My mom stayed with me the entire time. Slept on a rocking chair. She was/is amazing. My dad, brother and sister made their way up every day after work/school and I had several of friends stopping by…even some coaches. The support I had was incredible. It is a lot easier to recover when you have people cheering you on.
Finally, day 6. The nurse came in and said, “you are free to go!”
My dad came up with a car full of pillows and smashed me in. They were hoping for a smooth ride since I was ultra sensitive and would basically cry if a feather fell on me. We made it home! My parents had to move my bed downstairs since I was not yet able to climb stairs. Along with stair climbing, I was also unable to shower, dress or go to the bathroom on my own. I was helpless. My family really stepped up to the plate to get me through and keep me as comfortable as possible. They were dressing me, pulling covers over me, combing my hair, running down in the middle of the night to get me more pain meds, piling up pillows and cases of pop around me when I sat up so my arms and legs wouldn’t dangle (if they weren’t at a 90 degree angle it would pull on my back and cause so much pain)…they did anything and everything. This went on for about a month. After that I was finally able to return to school, switching between AM and PM. Sitting on those hard chairs was a little much for me to handle for an entire day.
Slowly but surely, things were starting to get back to normal…
See you tomorrow for part 3! My reflection, 11 years later.