A Curvy Road Eventually Leads to a Straight One.

January 25, 2010
By , Louisville, KY
A Curvy Road Eventually Leads to a Straight One.

I found myself in a situation I knew I couldn’t get myself out of. I prayed for a freak accident where the power to the whole building magically went out, anything, anything, to get me out of this place. For four years I had avoided this place, I was on a roll, until I was forced back. Sure I knew in my mind this day would come and I would have to revisit my greatest fear, I just didn’t know when and I certainly tried to not think about it. Some things though, you never forget about, no matter how much you try and convince yourself. When my grandpa’s friend, Dr. Garcia, made the appointment I only agreed on one condition, that I had to have a different doctor than before. My new doctor’s name was to be Dr. Ronaldo Puno whom Dr. Garcia reassured me that he was the best out there and I tried to convince myself to take his word. But as I sat in the same office again, I couldn’t help but to rethink things in my head and fear for the worst. I was back at the Leatherman Spine Center.

The last time I went to the Leatherman Spine Center to check on my “mild” scoliosis I found out that I actually had a pretty moderate case, unbeknownst to me. Dr. Glassman told me I would have to wear a brace, the biggest and most embarrassing of them all and eventually I would probably need surgery. He said this all to me so blunt and emotionless it sent chills down my spine. I had no idea that it was such a big deal; I was in complete shock and completely utterly confused. After that appointment my parents and I spent a lot of time thinking over everything. I made it very clear that I would not wear a brace and my parents understood, all we agreed to was to keep getting check up’s on my back. I knew though in my head that I would not be going back and everyone would just forget about it and we would all go on about our lives.

As I sat in the office I tried to keep things lighthearted and upbeat as my mom and I waited. I smiled and joked around about it all with my mom. In the back of my mind though, I was uneasy and worried, but I felt like if I told myself everything was okay, it would be. Suddenly we hear a knock at the door, a bolt of anxiety shoots through my veins thinking it was Dr. Puno. As the door opens revealing the person behind it, my nerves ease, it was just a nurse. She proceeds to walk to the computer across from where I sat and starts playing with the computer. Of course my nosey mom asks what she’s doing and she explains she’s pulling up my x-rays. “Well, haven’t you all gotten fancy since the last time we came here” my mom replies with a laugh that circulates through me and the nurse. The nurse backs away from the computer displaying the x-ray. My eyes quickly ran over the image and I noticed the curve my back had contorted into was shaped like an “S” and was very pronounced. Because of the fact I avoided anything to do with scoliosis for the past four years I couldn’t remember what my previous x-ray looked like. I looked to my mom and said to her that I thought it didn’t look that much worse and she agreed. A sigh of relief let out of my mouth thinking I was out of the woods and I had escaped this disaster once again. Out of nowhere a man walks through the door, I recognized who he was from a picture on the internet, it was Dr. Puno. He walked through the door looking rushed and busy as I thought he might. His medium height and smaller frame was in a way comforting to me. Once again I told myself everything was going to be okay, he seemed like a good man.
“Oh this is bad” were the first words that came out of his mouth in his Philippine accent, he smiled as he said it but I knew he was serious. I kind of laughed in return, but it was more of a nervous one. He sat down at the chair silent and drew points to various points on my x-ray and I realized he was measuring the degree of my spinal curve. He quickly turned around and said, “You have a 45 degree curvature in your upper thoracic spine and a 43 degree on your lower, obviously you’re in the three percent were scoliosis keeps progressing after you’re finished growing, you need surgery, no question.” I felt like I had just been hit with something, my body felt weak and suddenly I was sick to my stomach. A knot grew in my throat and my eyes welled up with tears. I tried so hard to keep them in, I couldn’t let it get to me like it had years before but before I knew it, tears were pouring down my face like someone had just turned on a sink. Dr. Puno just stared at me, silent, waiting, curiously. I never expected this day to come; it felt so surreal like I was just having a bad nightmare. But when I looked over at my mom trying to hold back her tears, it was all made clear that this was real and it was going to happen whether I wanted it or not. Of course I knew I was going to cry but seeing my mom start to cry made the severity of the situation knock me in the head quickly waking me up from my delusions.
Everything from there on was all a blur to me. Dr. Puno told me the statistics down to the exact percents. From the fact that I had a greater chance dying in a ford truck, which I told him my dad had, to my future with athletics. Never before in my life had I had to worry about my own life or think about the things I would have to give up earlier than most in order to be a live a long life. I had always been in control in my life until then and now this doctor expected me to put my life in his hands, it seemed so ridiculous to me. The reality of it all came crashing down on me so hard I couldn’t even begin where to think. I knew I couldn’t even think about actually having the surgery, the images made me cringe. I began to think about field hockey and track. Would all of the time, effort, and years I put into them be for nothing? I knew the Dr. Puno said I would be fine, but I couldn’t help but think that I would never be the same after two rods would be put into part of my spine fusing it straight and immobile. I went back and forth convincing myself it was all okay and I would get through this to freaking and telling myself I was going to get paralyzed, never play sports again, or even worse. The appointment was brief and Dr. Puno made sure we knew that we needed to call soon to make a decision about the surgery; I thought to myself again, this is not really happening.

The rain pounded on my numb body as we walked to the car on the rooftop of the building. Usually I would have made a run for the car but at the moment I could have cared less. I let the rain run through my hair, soak my uniform, and mix with the tears running down my face once again. My mom and I were silent as we made it to the car. Just before opening the door I looked up at the rest of the building and happened to see the exact room I was sitting in just minutes before. It all seemed so unreal, going into the building I thought everything would be okay but leaving I felt like my whole world was falling apart all because of this one thing, scoliosis. It was as if my mom read my mind when I sat in the car, I looked at her through tear filled eyes and she said to me, “Everything is going to be alright, we’re going to fix you.”

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

IWillDream54 said...
May 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm
I was just recently, and I mean recently, told that I would have to have surgery on my spine. I am still dealing with it and have not had it yet. I am freaking out and any advice would be nice. I am so scared and my mind keeps flashing all the worst scenarios. Loved the story though, can really connect.
hey :) said...
Jul. 19, 2010 at 8:56 pm

That was beautifully written! 

i also had scoliosis surgery :)

Site Feedback