The Silver Lining

I am convinced that in the end, every negative situation has a silver lining, a glimmer of hope that makes all the difference. In my life, I have experienced many glimmers of hope, many angels, and many possibilities. But, my most recent glimmer of hope came in the form of a Dutch Doctor, A Dutch Angel.

Borrowed From: Elizabeth O. Duelmba

A few weeks ago, I received an email from My Dutch Angel.  His email was simple and straight to the point.  He offered me a silver lining. The possibility to receive treatment at his clinic to help with the pain and discomfort associated with Scoliosis.

Unfortunately, my glimmer of hope, my silver lining, did come with some bad news.  Due to the fact that I have undergone spinal fusion, it may mean that the treatment that the clinic offers may not work for someone like me. The good news is that My Dutch Angel has promised to try to look for other options, and to speak to other Doctors, just to see what can be done.

If he comes back barring more bad news, his efforts will not have been in vain. It has given me a glimpse of humanity at it’s purest, a silver lining, and a Dutch Angel.


Determination: My Greatest Virtue

After hearing Dr. Gray and his daughter Tracy deny me other options, I felt empty. I really believed they wanted the best for me, and this was proof that they never truly did. They only wanted the best for themselves, at least monetarily, and having me as a reliable source of income, most of been nice, but all to my personal expense. Luckily, I have always been a very determined person, and hearing a “no,” from both of them was the fire that I needed to ignite my drive and motivation to find another option. I left Dr. Gray’s office feeling relentless, I was then unstoppable. If they did not want to help me, I did not need their help. I would find the name of the kind of Doctor I needed to see, myself.

Borrowed from: Ledigajobb

Driving home felt like an eternity. My mama could not drive any faster. I was feeling anxious, I needed to find the option that day, I could not waste any more time. We finally made it home and I jumped out of the car and rushed to the yellow pages in search of the only option I knew, Chiropractic Doctors. I did that, hoping that another Chiropractic Doctor would help me, by providing me with the name of the kind of medical doctor I needed to see. I picked up the phone and dialed the number to a random Chiropractic Doctor. A young female nurse picked up the phone, and I just asked her and right away I got my answer. I needed to see an Orthopedic. I sighed in relief.

Not wasting any time, I picked the first Orthopedic on the list and made an appointment. My appointment was scheduled two weeks later and I was thrilled. I was going to have other options, a different perspective. It was exactly what I needed, and wanted.


Death By Fall

Yes, it is true. I fell, yet again.

This fall is one that could have easily been prevented. It was Saturday morning, and there I was, dreaming I was sailing the seas, while speaking fluent Swedish. Amazing isn’t it? I don’t speak a word on a regular basis, but in my dreams it might as well be my mother tongue, and I might as well be a Viking…

But my peaceful slumber ended all too quickly, because all of a sudden I heard the stretching noise of my alarm. I was awake, and eager to turn off the vile sound, so I immediately rolled over and reached for the snooze.

My eagerness to stop the horrid sound my alarm was making, caused me to roll just a little too far, and I landed on the floor. So, there I was, 7:30 am on a Saturday morning, and I was on the floor.

Borrowed From: ACC Reports of Bed Fall Injuries

Not thinking too much about the fall, I just rolled back on to the bed and tried to take full advantage of my extra 10 minutes. Taking a few long deep breaths, I slowly began to fall right back into my dream.

When all of a sudden, without any prior warning my hip began generating piercing pain that was nothing less, than debilitating. Every deep inhale caused even more pain. My only escape was immobility and not breathing. This went on for about a minute or so, and then there was relief, and I was back to a normal amount of pain.

This excruciating attack of pain came three times during the weekend, and so today in morning I decided to pay a visit to Mia: Queen Bee of Everything Homeopathic. Unfortunately for me, Mia thought I should go directly to the hospital. So I did.

Not thinking twice about the entire event, I dragged my wonderful Swedish boyfriend to the hospital with me. Leaving behind his mountain of work he had to do, he joined me. Swedish hospitals work nothing like American hospitals. And it is these times (the times where I have to visit the emergency room) that I miss the comfort of the familiar. The end result was not really death by fall, but four hours, fifteen x-rays, and three different waiting rooms later, I was told there was nothing seriously wrong with me other than a spinal contusion.



What to do with false expectations and no other option?

In the medical world there are the medical Doctors, and there are the homeopathic Doctors. Neither have the perfect solution, but from my experience, both claim and attempt to persuade their patients that their solution is the best solution possible, and the only way forward. My journey through treatment began in a more homeopathic way, and perhaps it would have been the perfect solution for some one else, but for me, it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, my Chiropractic adjustments and the weekly massages relieved a large majority of my pain, and I loved it.

Whenever I was in the Chiropractic office, Dr. Gray would dedicated all his efforts to persuade me that Chiropractic treatment was going to be the solution to my problem. As a child I was easily convinced. I had faith and hope in the possibility that he could provide the treatment that I needed. But as the months passed, and the years passed, nothing got better, and in fact, it got much worse. The many hours I spent evaluating my deformity, led to me noticing that there was an increase in my protrusion. As part of my denial of the situation, I pretended that I didn’t notice it for a while. Until one day, I realized I needed to do something about the problem, so I decided to talk to Dr. Gray.

By the time I was eleven, I had been seeing Dr. Gray and Tracy for almost 2 years. After a few months of treatment, my mama stopped coming in with me and instead she would drop me off while she ran her errands. I hadn’t spoken to anyone about the possibility that my Scoliosis was getting worse, so bringing it up with Dr. Gray was very intimidating. That day, I decided to wait until the end of my adjustments to discuss it with him. I laid on the Chiropractic table, while he performed his adjustments. By that point, I knew the routine very well. He began by cracking my mid and upper back, while I laid on my belly face down on the table. I had to take a few deep breaths and he would adjust my spine during my exhale.Then, I laid on my right side with my right knee pulled into my chest, and he would adjust my lower back. The same position was repeated for my left side. The last area he always did was my neck. It always cracked so smoothly, and left me feeling relaxed and at ease.

Massage tables

Image via Wikipedia

At the end of the session I slowly stood up, and told him I needed to talk to him. The relaxed state of mind I was in was exactly the state of mind I needed to be in. It helped me exude confidence, and it made it easier for me to pretend I knew what I was saying and doing, but at that age I didn’t. I began to explain to Dr. Gray that I felt as though my curvature was getting worse. I was nervous about his reaction, and attempted to conceal my doubt in his treatment.  He stood there listening, nodding and pretended to acknowledge what I was saying to him, but he didn’t really provide any solution. Instead, he mentioned that X-rays were not part of the treatment package that I was receiving so if I had noticed any changes, I would need X-rays to be sure. Getting X-rays done without insurance was expensive, and I felt as though there had to be another way, another option.

I asked whether there existed another kind of doctor that might be able to help me, and if he could provide me with the name of that kind of Doctor. To my surprise he said no, he said that he wouldn’t give me the name of the kind of Doctor that could treat Scoliosis. He said that those Doctors would just put me in a plastic brace and it wouldn’t correct the problem, it would just prevent it from getting worse. I had never heard of an Orthopedic, and I had no idea that was the kind of Doctor that I needed to see. My mama didn’t speak English, and if I needed to see another kind of Doctor it was up to me to find it. Before leaving the room he reassured me, that I was getting the best possible treatment and that his adjustments were really helping. I walked out of the room and into Tracy’s massage therapy room, feeling hopeless. I felt defeated as though there were no options, I only had one option and I no longer felt like it was working. In a last attempt to find another alternative, I asked Tracy what was the name of the kind of Doctor that could treat my scoliosis, and she too, refused to tell me. I felt as though the world was against me, and as if no one really wanted me to get better.

The Strive To Be “Normal.”

All girls, at some point wish that they could change something about their body. They wish they could loose those extra five pounds, or change the shape of their nose, it is that desire to be perfect blocks the ability to see the beauty in the imperfect, the naturally beautiful you.

Unfortunately for me, I too was a victim of “wanting to be perfect”, but in a very different way.  Soon after I turned eleven, I began to be more aware of my deformity, there was no hiding it, it was clearly there. I used to spend so much time in front of the mirror evaluating my deformity, bending over, grabbing it, and wishing some how I could just cut it off.  At the time I felt as though I could deal with the curvature, but the deformity made it visible, made it so much more real. My desire to hide my imperfections, and to look perfectly normal, led to me making a conscious decision to gain weight. I remember thinking that if I were a bigger person, then my curvature would be less visible, and all I wanted was to look like everyone else. It became much easier to gain weight and hide my deformity then to deal with it. If no one would notice it, it meant that some how it wasn’t really there, it made it less real.

I remember the day I realized that my plan was not as effective as I thought it would be. I was in fifth grade, I was tall and big, and  I felt on top of the world.  That day, began like all the rest. I had taken the bus to school and once we arrived, I gathered my things and waited for my turn to get off the bus. Stepping off the bus, I had back-pack in hand and I began walking to my class room. I paced myself, trying to extend the minutes between getting off the bus, and making it to my class. When suddenly I felt someone behind me, and soon after I felt the gentle touch of the two hands that pulled my shoulders back, and a voice that softly said, “you should work on your posture, your hunching over.” It was one of the teachers at the school, who I am sure didn’t mean anything by it, but at the time it was as if someone had pulled off my blanket and exposed me to the world.  She could see it, and if she could see it, so could everyone else. I had nowhere to hide, I was exposed.


My Daily Foe

Chairs have always been my number one enemy. They’ve been designed so strategically to fit the perfect natural curves of the human spine. They mold the shape of the smooth, perfect spinal curves. All those natural curves except those with some sort of spinal deformity. This is the main reason why, even to this day, I hate chairs.

I remember my classroom chairs. They were maroon, plastic chairs that had two flat screws on the back, which attached the metal legs of the chairs. These chairs could not have been worse. Perhaps it was the screws that dug into my right side leaving my deformity aching, or it may have been the lean and the curve that the chair had, which was not compatible with my curve and my slanted lean. Picture borrowed from Classroom Essentials                               -Picture borrowed from Classroom Essentials

As a child I had a very large protruding rib hump. This ultimately meant that sitting in any chair always caused one side of my body to be touching the chair and the other side to be floating aimlessly. This was extremely uncomfortable, because the right side of my body that was touching the chair had to over compensate for the left side that wasn’t. Like all children, I had to sit there for so many hours without standing up, but most days, by the end of the day, I would place my left hand underneath the left side of my body. This would slightly balance my body, so that all the pressure of sitting in a chair would not lie on my deformity.

Thinking back, I feel so silly for not embracing my problem. I remember mentioning the awful pain and discomfort caused by chairs to Dr. Gray. Naturally, he recommended that I bring a cushion to school. I of course, thought that was an inconceivable option. I had to blend in, camouflage, and pretend I was just like everyone else. I had already been questioned for wearing my brace to school, which led to me refusing to wear my brace, and there was no way I was going to bring a cushion to school. What everyone else thought about me was just much more important, at the time, then the pain it caused me. I preferred to endure the pain and discomfort, rather than to just give in and bring a cushion.