Scoliosis – Entry 3

When the MRI was finished, they escorted me out the room to meet my mum. I can’t remember if they took me to another room or if it was a nurse that told us that we need to head over to Stoke Mandeville as soon as possible as I needed to get an X-ray also for my consultation. On the way to Stoke Mandeville, I told my mum what the nurse said about my back, I probably shouldn’t have, as she looked and sounded anxious when I told her. We arrived at Stoke Mandeville and followed the signs to the radiography unit. I have a clear memory of being surrounded by senior citizens and them just staring me. They were either well what is wrong with her? Or well she must be ill, either way, they were all staring at me like I had a massive spot on my forehead.

I was then called in for the X-ray and had to fill in a form. The amount of the questions was a bit of minefield for me. Obviously, the biggest question was, are you pregnant? As you’re not allowed to have one when you are pregnant, and I then had to go into a cubicle and change into one of those really body flattering robes. You know the ones that make you look five sizes bigger than you are? I had to remove any metal, and just be in my underwear, as even the metal from my jeans can make the X-ray wrong.

I bet a few of you may be wondering, so at the point did any of your friend’s clocks on to what was going on? Well, the funny thing is two of my friends went to the home to their parents asking if they had any clue because they overheard in the class that I was going to the hospital. Both parents from each family are incredibly good friends with mine, so they called up my mum and just asked. My mum explained to them what was going on but told them they can tell their children but don’t say they know. My mum knew I would start feeling awkward and kind of off as I hate sympathy.

After the x-ray was all done and dusted, I went back home feeling a bit tangled. I wasn’t too sure what happened in the whole day; it was just one big blur. The following day, while I was at school, my mum received another phone call from the doctor’s surgery. This time, it was the head of the operation, Dr.Dellow. Originally the doctor wanted me to see a different person at the Chiltern as they were more advanced, sadly he was too busy. I was then scheduled in to see Dr.Seal at the Chiltern hospital within 48 hours. The only worry I think my parents had was the phrase “not senior enough.” Apparently, the Dellow had told my parents that even though Seal was a significantly qualified surgeon he wasn’t high enough for this particular operation which meant I had to have a second surgeon, but we will get to him a bit later on.

Within 48 hours, myself, my mum and my dad were sitting in the scarily dark Chiltern Hospital at 10:30 at night, awaiting to hear the results of the MRI scan and the x-ray. Personally, I thought my first surgeon was excellent, incredibly medical which in this situation was helpful for me as I just like to state with the pros and cons of things, not all the fluff in the middle. My first surgeon told me there were options for me as I have caught it at best time possible as mine was incredibly progressive. He said, the options were to wear a brace or exercise but as it was so far gone it would most likely have near to no effect on my spine. Therefore, my only useful option was surgery. I thought, “you know what, if that’s the only way then that’s it for me.” Whereas, my mum and a brother had a different opinion. Naturally, they gave us time to think about it as it was a big decision, but as it’s already spoiled for you, I had it, and that’s what I’m writing this journal.

When we got home, I remember so clearly all of us sitting around the kitchen table and dad agreeing with me and my mum and brother not being best pleased. My mum initially did not want me to have the operation as I have never been in hospital before and I was quite young. All I remember is just saying “well, it’s my body and I want to have it.” I think in reality my family were taken aback by this, as a 16-year-old had already made a big decision with ease. Another memory I have is just a big old circle of discussion the whole evening, with us all going back and forth with our decisions.

I assume mum spent her evening with a bottle of wine and a big fish bowl of worry, nd googling everyone else’s experiences with the surgery, probably scared the living daylights out of her. Which prompted her to speak to Seal’s secretary. The women said maybe you should have a chat with a second surgeon who’s based in Oxford and then make your decision. My mum took her advice, and within two weeks we were sitting in the room with the second surgeon. I would write an excellent lengthy detail about how that meeting went, but if I’m completely honest, I cannot remember at all. My only memory is that he was so incredibly friendly and felt like you were talking to a family member. I also remember my mum asking him if it was your daughter would you do it.? He didn’t even hesitate and said a solid yes. This made my mum confident with the operation and made her send the green light forward. Although I think It was the day after the meeting with Dr.Macdonlad she saw an article in the daily mail of the ten back surgeons and there he was at no.2, I will add that in here so you read it, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1368667/Spinal-operations-high-risk–trust-We-asked-experts-themselves.html.

Now we get to the panic stage of the journal. This was where we had to find a date for my surgery and remember we are still in the GCSE exam period. My second surgeon said I needed to have it done that year as it was so incredibly fast moving and if goes past a certain point the surgery will change. My mum was adamant that I could not miss my exams, as they were important. Therefore, my initial surgery date was somewhere during mid-august. This time, initially all seemed perfect, but we soon realised that this would affect me going to college or doing A-levels, at this point I had no clue what I wanted to do. All of sudden a cancellation came up for the surgery, and this was the 12th June. Although, this would mean I would miss my final exam, maths. My surgeons told my mum she had 24 hours to sort out which date we wanted due to me being under 17. They had to book ICU, and there are slightly different rules for minors.

The same day my mum went to the school who weren’t sympathetic and not particularly the most helpful in that situation. My mum fully explained the whole situation to the school, and the surgeon even said he would talk to them about the ins and outs. My headmistress wasn’t helpful and had a very general thought process about the whole thing. This is where it becomes dangerous; she acted like it was an elected surgery, literally like I wanted miss lessons to get my boobs improved, oh how wrong she was about it. So, to put it shortly she didn’t understand at all, and this is including when the GP and the surgeons writing to her. My mum said she was going to go ahead with the earlier date no matter what. At the end of the day, my mum did the logical thing to take the previous time as it was so incredibly fast moving and it was best to have the whole summer to recover.

– Charlotte x

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