Archives for February 19, 2011

Spinal Fusion Home Recovery

Part 4    Scoliosis Surgery Home Recovery

An ambulance type vehicle took me home in Dec. 1958.  I was placed in a hospital bed that was donated by The Shriners.  I was also given prism glasses donated by The Optimist Club.  I was flat on my back and could be turned once a day onto a wedge pillow which left my face about 4 inches from the sheets. Although striped sheets were not my favorite, being so close for an hr., the change of position was welcome. 

Finally I was fitted for a body cast that was heavy plaster.  It was from my chin to the base of my torso, front and back.  A large hole was left mid stomach for air.  I would remain in this cast for 10 months without getting up.  A visiting nurse would stop by periodically to check for bed sores.  A Junior High girl friends’ Dad made me a desk type structure that fit over my cast.  While wearing the prism glasses I was able to see the shelf of the modified desk and was able to read, write and paint.  One of my Mom’s cousin had brochures from each State sent to me to look at and I loved Colorado the best.  We now live in Colorado. 

In the photo, my prism glasses can be seen on my forehead.  I was hooked up to my 8th grade classroom by a telephonic speaker so that I could hear my classes, winter semester, while being confined to bed.  From the Kalamazoo Gazette: “Thanks to Easter Seal funds and generous neighbors, Martha Kay’s long absence from her Oakwood Junior High School classes have ended even though she remains flat on her back”.   The article was written in early 1959 by Easter Seals, during their fund raising. 

I passed the time with schoolwork, friend’s and family visits, painting, reading and praying.   It was hard when Spring came and I could hear my younger brother, sister and friends, playing outside.  I did get to see a Robin build a nest, lay eggs and the hatching of the baby birds right outside my window in a forsythia bush.

When I had my final check up, again transported by ambulance to Blodgett Hospital, where the cast was removed.  I had ¼ “ of dried skin underneath the cast and I fainted from the odd feeling of having the cast removed.  I had worn it for 7 months and had not been in an upright position. I then needed to learn to walk again, which although sounds easy, was a bit challenging at first.   I spent that summer in a removable type body brace, which I wore for 6 months into my 9thgrade year school year.

Part 5 — Living with a complete Spinal Fusion done in 1958

Part 6–Problems and Solutions living with a Spinal Fusion

Part 7:  My Daughter Angelie’s Scoliosis Story

Part 8:  What Angelie is doing now

Part 8–RESOURCES for SCOLIOSIS