When it came to doing research, I read several books on scoliosis. The books I read helped me to gain a better understanding about scoliosis and, what to expect during and after surgery. My research also helped me to prepare mentally and physically for the surgery. A couple of the books I found to be very helpful are:
- Lyons, M.D., Boachie-Adjei, O. Podzius, Ph.D., and C. Podzius, CSW. Scoliosis Ascending the Curve. New York: M. Evans and Company, Inc., 1999.
- Neuwirth, M.D., M., and K. Osborn. The Scoliosis Handbook: A Consultation With A Specialist. New York: H. Holt and Co., 1996.
Deciding to Have the Surgery
I felt more comfortable about having surgery after doing my research and having my doctor answer my many questions. I also asked my surgeon if there was someone I could talk to that has gone through this same surgery. Visiting with someone who has gone through this surgery was reassuring and comforting. Additionally, I knew my back would continue to get worse if I chose not to do anything. Throughout the whole ordeal, my parents and my brothers Josh and Jared were all very supportive.
Getting Ready for My Surgery
My surgeon's secretary, during a discussion with my parents and me, set up the surgery date for January 6, 2000 (less than one month before my twelfth birthday). Prior to the surgery, he said we would need to consider donating a couple of units of blood, in the event blood was needed during surgery. Since my father and I have the same blood type, he chose to be the donor. My mom then contacted the American Red Cross (our local blood bank) to set up the appointments for my father to donate two units of blood for my surgery. My mother spoke to my teacher and the Principal at my school. She explained to them that I would need to be out of school for six weeks. The Principal told us about a program called "Home and Hospital." However, he said that he would need a note from my doctor regarding my medical condition and anticipated recovery time, before approving this program for me. The Home and Hospital program is a school district program in my area where the school would send a tutor to my home while I recovered from my surgery. My current schoolteacher requested and was granted permission from the principal to tutor me until I could go back to school. My teacher began coming to my home, twice a week, two weeks after my surgery. It was through the tutoring that I was able to catch up on all my schoolwork in no time. Prior to surgery, my dad and I went to the Children's Medical Center to attend what the hospital calls a "Panda Party." It was at this party where the hospital hosts told us all about the hospital stay and things to expect before and after surgery. They also gave us a tour of the hospital. Attending this party was very helpful and informative, and I recommend that prior to surgery that you attend this party, too. Now the fun part of the preparation was when my mother and I went shopping. We bought some new P.J.s and clothes that would be comfortable and easy to put on and take off after my surgery. The day before surgery, I went to the hospital to have some lab work done. The hospital called later that day to let me know what time to be at the hospital the next day. They also gave me diet instructions including when to eat my last meal and have my last drink. Also, my surgeon thought it would be a good idea if I wore my hair in a French braid so it would be off my back and out of the way for my surgery and hospital stay. That sure was a great suggestion.
Things You May Want to Bring to the Hospital
- P.J.s that button up the front
- Comb, brush and mirror
- Chapstick and lotion
- Breath mints, toothbrush and toothpaste
- Books or magazines
- Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to wear when you go home
- Phone list of family and friends you may want to call
- Phone card
Continue reading Michelle's story: My Surgery
After reading this please keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, or nerve damage are some of the potential adverse risks of spinal surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information.