SCOLIOSIS–Personal Story

MY STORY of SCOLIOSIS in 1958

Part 2   Diagnosis

My scoliosis was suspected at the end of my 7th grade school year on a routine Doctor visit.  My Mother had been saying to me ”Martha Kay, stand up straight”.  I thought I was standing up straight, but had noticed that my hip was raised on one side of my body, but just thought it was part of puberty and I was developing a waist. (I was just 13 and scoliosis screening was not yet done).

After a summer of daily sessions of PT and the curve continued to progress, I was sent to Grand Rapids from my home town of Kalamazoo, MI. for evaluation.  It was determined that I had a 40-degree thoracic and a 60-degree lumbar “S” curve.  My Orhtopedist, Dr. Charles Frantz, (see 1962) was considered the best in MI for treating scoliosis.

Milwaukee Brace

That August I was admitted to Mary Free Bed  Convalescent Home and placed in a Milwaukee Brace. (At left). The brace was routinely moved up under my chin as they began stretching the spine to straighten it as much as possible, prior to my first scheduled surgery on Sept. 24, 1958. It had been a shock to me that I was now bedridden, which I had not been told prior to my appointment in Grand Rapids. I began to become a talker, mostly to keep myself occupied and to entertain others in various medical conditions at Mary Free Bed. (Definitely not a free bed). When any of the staff would see that I could move my head, the chin part of the brace was moved up to stretch my spine. I thought I would be looking like a giraffe before I was done. I had relatives visit about once a week. When I reached about 5’5″, surgery was scheduled for Sept. 24, 1958 on the lumbar area from thoracic 12 to lumbar 5.

See Diagram of  the Vertebral Column.

If you have a story about your scoliosis or spinal fusion, please leave it under “comments” or email me at marty@lawnexpressions.com.

Part 2–Surgeries—next in series

Comments

  1. Yvonne kellogg says:

    I was 12years old when my gym teacher discovered I had one shoulder blade higher than the other. It turned out I had a curvature and they tried fixing it with body casts,which were very uncomfortable! After wearing the casts for about 6months I h@d to have a fusion done on 7 thoracic vertebrae. I recall being on a Stryker frame for two weeks,then going home on bed rest for 3months. Once I healed I did extremely well and have never had a problem since. I even gave birth to 3children without any problems I am 70 now and have a very strong back and never have pain in my back . Am so grateful for that surgery. My surgery was done at the San Diego naval hospital by a dr. Bowman.

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