Writers Workshop Wednesday
Deciding was tough this week,
But first, I invite you to my existence in Junior High. Which led to a life changing moment in High School
The year is 1990
You are in the middle of seventh grade.
You have lots of friends, your mom just scored you a Guess Sweatshirt and a Swatch watch. You have perfected the puffiest bangs possible, secured with lots of Aqua Net Hairspray. You are rocking it everyday, due in part to a wide array of Wet and Wild cosmetics secured neatly in an amazing teal and purple Caboodle.
No one even makes fun of you for your braces, because the invention of colored rubber bands makes them nearly cool.
The biggest problem facing you is becoming a cheerleader for eight grade.
Then it happens, and its ok to laugh, because trust me you will want to.
The school nurse calls your folks with the news that you, my friend have scoliosis. And no, not a minor curve and a slight malformation. A doozy of a curve. One that requires this:
It was as scary as it looks.
Meet I am here to ruin your teenage years. AKA The Jerk
The jerk was awful.
I couldn't put it on by myself, and my mom wasn't able to help. So, here I am, 13 years old and my dad or older brother are putting this contraption on me everyday.
I had to wear old man tshirts under it so I wouldn't get a rash.
I had to wear it for 23 hours a day. TWENTY THREE HOURS!!!
It tore little holes in all my clothes.
There was no hiding it. Ever, at all.
I wasn't permitted to play any sports, because, (wait for it) - The school was concerned I could hurt someone if they ran into me.
It was hot, really hot.
And, after two and a half years (Um yeah, freshman year of high school as well), it did nothing. In fact, my scoliosis got worse. They say it had to do with my growth spurt, but whatever. It didn't work.
Before I move on to the surgery, lets just lay it all on the line- It was junior high. Kids are cruel. Yes -they made fun of me. Not all of them, but a lot. Was I surprised...Of course. Back then anyway, I was surprised, and hurt. Today, I know that its wrong, but its kind of how the system known as growing up works. I know it will be a very grim day for my kids if I find out they are picking on someone like that. I also know, that it is very likely that day will come. I hope that our future children and my nieces and nephews are the kids that stand up for the picked on kid. I hope that they are never on the receiving end of the picking on. However, I am realistic and logical. Growing up is rough, no matter who you are or what you do or do not have. I truly look back at this brace and laugh. It didn't make me jaded or taint my junior high memories. In fact when I read the prompt "Explain your junior high years", I had to think for a minute before I even remembered the brace. I like to remember the moments in my life as little things pieced together to mold me into who I am today
Now to the surgery...That is one of the best things to even happen to me.
The brace wasn't working. Like, I said my spine was actually getting worse. So, we went back to the doctor and he explained surgery was the only option. My spine was so curved it looked like a sideways horseshoe. Slightly straight at the top, a horseshoe curve in the middle, slightly straight at the bottom.
The surgery was scheduled for Dec 1st 1993. We showed up at the hospital (all 10 of us, because I like to arrive in style. That kid from Entourage ain't got nothing on me), and the doctor informed us that he had to have an emergency root canal. Fine by me, no way was I allowing a doctor to perform 12 hours of surgery on my freakin spine if he wasn't in tip top shape for it. Two days later, it happened. I went to the hospital, and 12 hours of surgery later, my spine was straight.
To put it in perspective, my spine was so jacked up that when they straightened it, I grew 2 1/2 inches.
Cool surgery tidbits:
Literally, in a matter of hours I grew 2 1/2 inches.
In order to measure how much movement they could make on my spine, they placed tiny needles in my ankles, wrists, and head. Before putting me under the doctor had me look at my hands. Using the little contraption he made my fingers wiggle. It was cool and freaky at the same time.
There were 9 people that sat in the hospital waiting room for over 14 hours while the prepped me and did the surgery. I have a very close family. My dad, however, nearly strapped my grandpa Jerry to the chair in the waiting room. He is a pacer.
Instead of my hip, because of the recovery time, the doctor used one of my ribs for the bone graft and fusion.
The doctor was amazing and my scars are barely visible.