Scoliosis Update: 1 Month Visit

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.


Dear Ellen,


Yesterday I took my baby girl back to Atlanta for her one-month check up. One month. I can’t believe it’s been one month since I drove to Atlanta in apocalyptic rain to get a cast for her scoliosis.


After the procedure, it took her about one week to get back to where she was physically. When I brought her home, she couldn’t sit up without support. Fortunately, she adjusted to the weight of her cast quickly and within 24 hours she could sit up on her own. Within 48 hours she was able to roll onto her stomach. At 72 hours she was belly crawling. At four days post surgery she was able to crawl on her knees. And at 7 days post surgery, she was able to pull herself up onto her feet.


We were very pleased with her progress.


Yesterday, I drove the baby back to Atlanta. It was a sunny day with clear skies. Since I have a habit of getting lost walking out to my mailbox (even though it’s at the end of my driveway) I used the GPS system to navigate my way to the hospital. Everything was going fine until we actually got into Atlanta. That’s when my GPS system went wonky and decided to take me on a scenic tour of downtown Atlanta. And, for the record, I know it wasn’t anything I did because when I’m driving through an unfamiliar area I’m usually in HAF mode. (Hypervigilant As Fuck). Yet there I was on this really high overpass when all of a sudden, my GPS went wonky.

“Recalculating. Recalculating. Recalculating. Make a U-turn!”

“Uh, I’m on a bridge. So….no.”

“Make a U-turn. Make a U-turn. Make a U-turn.”

“Can I get off the bridge first?”

“No.”

“Well then we have a problem because this car doesn’t fly.” 

“Fine. Recalculating.

In case you might inquire, the Atlanta skyline is really pretty.

We made it to the hospital with five minutes to spare – which – after finding the parking garage, and then finding a spot in the parking garage, and then getting the stroller out of the car, and getting the baby into the stroller – meant that I was actually already ten minutes late.

I loaded the baby into the stroller and followed the yellow paw prints to the infamous “building across the street,” that actually turned out to be the building behind a parking garage that sat perpendicular to the children’s hospital (see map below). But whatever. I found it.

 

Within a few minutes of walking into the office, we were seated in an examination room. The nurse pulled out his chart.

“Are we taking the cast off today?”

“I don’t think so.” As far as I knew her cast was going to be replaced every two months and this was her one-month follow up.

“What are you here for today?”

“X-rays. I think.” Here’s a question. Shouldn’t they know why we’re here? Isn’t that information supposed to go into the chart when I call for the appointment. And, for the record, the doctor only said she had to come back for a one-month follow up. He didn’t specify what exactly he was going to do.

“He doesn’t have her down for x-rays. I’ll have to track him down and find out why you’re here.”

Because that’s what everyone wants to hear after driving 2 1/2 hours one way. Sorry. We don’t know why you’re here.

A few minutes later he returned, letting me know that the baby needed x-rays. 

After the x-rays were completed, I attempted to feed my child lunch. She has a strong aversion to food of any kind. It doesn’t matter if it’s good for you or not. She doesn’t like it. Her unwillingness to eat is more stressful to me than her scoliosis.

The doctor walked into the room about ten minutes later with a joyful look on his face – completely oblivious to the PB&J stuck all over the walls and the applesauce splattered all over the floor. The day she had to get her cast which you can read about here, the curve in her spine was 58 degrees. Yesterday, the curve in her spine was 23 degrees.

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Ellen, the cast is working! Next month we go back Atlanta for another cast. So far the plan is that she’ll receive either a cast or a back brace every two months. This process could go on for a few years. Unfortunately there’s no way they can predict how a child will respond to treatment. But with the dramatic decrease in the curve of her spine, I’m hoping these procedures will come to an end sooner rather than later.

After a total of twenty minutes in the doctor’s office – that included the x-rays and waiting for the nurse to figure out why we were there, we left. Think about that for a minute. We spent a total of five hours in the car so we could hang out with the doctor for twenty minutes.

 

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On the way to the parking garage I ran into a woman who was very lost and muttering something about being in the wrong building. 

 

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Unfortunately she didn’t have enough information for me to help her. I wished her the best of luck and we went our separate ways. I sure hope she found the building she needed.

Sincerely,

A. Marie

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