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[personal profile] basric
I REALLY hate this prompt. I lay in bed Thursday night and thought about it. Of course, that giant lockbox in my head securing my childhood popped open. I could go head to head with other entrants about physical and psychological abuse in my childhood from the favored thick belt that didn’t stop until clothes shredded and skin flayed, from broken bones such as a hammer on a thin arm on a table, or trying to put a small hand into a garbage disposal while it ran. I could go on and on in gruesome detail. The demon was inventive. I thought it was my fault; I loved her until I was seventeen, no matter what she did. She was so beautiful on the outside and so evil inside. But she made me strong, a protector of my sisters, and a fighter. I do what I do because of what she did to me. So don’t pity that child. She is alive and the demon is dead. My sisters are alive.
That story goes back in the box with new shiny locks.

This was my anti-entry, Gary.


I was having numbness in my fingertips, flames against the undersides of my arms, then a feeling of icy wetness. So I went to a Neurosurgeon. He did tests. Nothing he could do. Learn to live with it.

It got worse. I went to a family friend who was a neurologist. He told me it was bad and sent me to a back fixer who was a master orthopedic surgeon. That’s where I met Dr. Mac. He ran extensive tests. Time passed. I began to notice my family and my friends tip-toed around me like they were walking on eggshells or glass. The pitying glances did it.

I cornered my husband and got a mumbled jumble of nothing. So I made an appointment with Dr. McNamara. My daughter came with me, the youngest not the psychopath, and my demon mother insisted on coming—she couldn’t take a chance some good dirt might be dug up to smear around the family.

My daughter and I arrived at his bone clinic; my demon mother wanted her boyfriend to come back with us. I refused. First contrary to his insisting I think of him like a stepfather he was not. What he was was married and living with his wife. So hell no, I don’t care whether his feelings were hurt or not.

We sat in the little examining room and the doctor put the films of my neck up on the computer screen. Apparently the ligament that runs the length of the spinal column had calcified, which in itself was not a problem. This calcification had begun to grow thorns pushing into the spinal column. He said he had researched and could find no record of this ever happening before. He was at a loss. He hesitated.

So I stated the obvious for him. If I had a fall,got hit in the head or if they continued to grow they could puncture my spinal cord and my lungs would seize.

Where these thorns were in relation to the spinal cord controlled the respiratory system. If I were at home or out I simply would suffocate. If at work they could put me on a respirator and I would have to keep it for the remainder of my life.

I told him, okay, I challenge you, the fixer, to find a way to operate and fix it.

He was shocked; reminded me I could die during surgery.

I told him if he found a way to take the disks and calcification out I would sign something in advance holding him harmless for anything that happened. I would fill out a DNR or do not resuscitate. If I would have to go on a respirator they would allow me to die.

My husband refused to agree, so my daughter volunteered to be my Power of Attorney over my health and she promised me not to allow anyone to challenge it not my demon mother, not my sisters, not my friends and not my husband.

Dr. Mac got with his ex-resident buddies -- one from John Hopkins, one from the Mayo Clinic and one from U.C.L.A. They invented a semi-circular titanium piece that would replace all of the dorsal or back vertebrae and attach the top piece to my skull, then a screw to each front half of the vertebrae and the bottom to my first thoracic disks between my shoulders.

The surgery went well. The apparatus was screwed into place and worked perfectly. I can hold my head up but not bend it back. I have to drink with straws or reclining. I can’t put my chin on my shoulders.

I have neck pain at times but I can live with it. It’s certainly better than the alternative.

He and his partners patented the device. My procedure was written up in medical journals.

The hospital, not Vanderbilt, got great publicity off the groundbreaking surgery done at their hospital.

Me, I’m just grateful to Dr. Mac; a doctor, with an inventive mind who took a chance and saved my life then and again later in my life.

I love that man.

Date: 2012-05-19 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Surgery like that is scary, I imagine.

One day I may need surgery to remove part of my skull as my skull is deformed and it's pushing my brain out the little hole in the back of my head.. It terrifies me to think about this and I keep avoiding my neurosurgeon. Reading this though.... I saw strength that you had during it all even though it's scary. I hope I could be that way if I ever need surgery.

Thank you for sharing a difficult part of yourself with us.

Date: 2012-05-19 05:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A good doctor. Check the AMA before you have surgery to see if he has any lawsuits settled or pending. Make certain you know what kind of quality of life you would settle for.

I learned not to fear dying being around it so much I suppose. I guess its not something everyone has an easy time with.

Date: 2012-05-19 06:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Makes my knee surgery a doddle... So many people face dreadful challenges like this every day. A very difficult hurdle, but we know how strong you are, it shines out in all you do.

Thanks for making others aware of how to face life with a little more courage.

Date: 2012-05-19 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Everything we go through is our own pain. Everyone experiences it differently. My surgery was a breeze, you may have had months of suffering with yours, going through rehab. Mine's just another blip on my radar. Scarier for my family and friends than for me. I've seen so much death I've looked him in his cold blank eyes and I'm not afraid of it so this is just a simple story to go with the prompt. I'm still working and going strong so there's no poor me factor in it.

I suppose the moral of my story was don't try to keep bad new from me. I can handle it. You'd think my family would know it. A delicate flower I am not.

Thanks for taking time to comment.

Date: 2012-05-19 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You have been through it my are an example to us all that things can be got through. you really do have great strength.
I am so glad I know you and that you want me as a friend.Thank you.x

Date: 2012-05-19 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We all have our own stuff we survive. Whose to say mine is worse than the things you survived as a young woman and even now. I think you should be proud of yourself and what you have accomplished, but thanks for the compliment. You are a dear friend.

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Date: 2012-05-19 08:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. Powerful stuff.

Date: 2012-05-19 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You nare very kind, thank you for commenting.

Date: 2012-05-19 10:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your ant-entry could as well have been and entry.

I am very glad that you were lucky to find these doctors and that what they invented worked.

1. It got worst. - worse
2. So my daughter who volunteered to be my Power of Attorney over my health (or it reads like she already was your PoA before your husband refused to agree)

Date: 2012-05-19 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks and thanks for the head's up.

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Date: 2012-05-19 11:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I do not understand why some people think that things like health problems and past abuse are some sort of contest.

Date: 2012-05-19 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But have you not noticed, even in a live group of people how one person will mention say a difficult delivery, then suddenly everyone must tell their horror store worse than the one before.

Works with everything, childhood horrors, divorced, men who were domestic abusers and so on and so forth, I even had two new nurses on upping each other on their childhood incest lives.

I call it the my dad's bigger than your dad syndrome.

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Date: 2012-05-19 12:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. There aren't many people who can say they've been part of a medical experiment that ended up in a patent. So many layers to your life.

I've always said that the best people are the ones who've had really hard lives (which totally sucks, but seems to hold true). Every entry of yours explains so much :D

Date: 2012-05-19 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much. You are very kind. Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2012-05-19 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad they found a way to help you, even though it changed how you could move.


Date: 2012-05-19 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2012-05-19 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, definitely more frightening than my gall bladder surgery! I'm glad they were able to find a way to let you live your life with only a little bit of movement impairment.

Date: 2012-05-19 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Me too. Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2012-05-20 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. You are a strong and fascinating woman.

Date: 2012-05-20 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What a nice compliment. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Date: 2012-05-21 12:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow! This was your own personal trauma story. I agree with your attitude and I am glad your daughter stepped up for you. Thank goodness for the experimental procedure working and you got to share it. Outstanding story!

Date: 2012-05-21 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dr Mac is a miracle worker. When his wife ran off with his partner he joining Doctors without Borders. When he called and asked me to go to Haiti after the earthquake I didn't hesitate. He's the best. I was very lucky to find him. That neurosurgeon never even told me what was wrong though he knew. Dr. Mac said I should have sued him, but that's just not me.

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Date: 2012-05-21 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm really glad that it worked out and that you got such an amazing doctor. Also - you are quite strong and I look up to you.

Date: 2012-05-21 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are very kind and yes, he is a magnificent doctor. Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2012-05-21 05:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I like that you did something different this week! And I'm really glad the doctor was able to help you - how scary.

Date: 2012-05-21 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was never afraid. I was resigned, either he would help me or not. I was lucky he was as my neurologist advertised--a fixer.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Date: 2012-05-22 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So glad that you are o.k., another fine entry.

Interesting coincidence department, one of my favorite professors is a Dr. McNamara (not an MD, of course).

Anyway, you gambled to get the kind of life you wanted or none and it paid off. Sounds like you, happy it worked out as it did.

Date: 2012-05-22 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Those who know me know I am fearless. Dangerously so. My husband says I act first and never think about my own safety and he is right. I figure I should have died in my childhood so every day I live past that is a gift.
As always, thanks for commenting, its appreciated.,

Date: 2012-05-22 05:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Just that little glimpse of your childhood was hard enough. I can't imagine how you survived it, and it seems your mother hasn't changed much since then.

Your real entry... how long did it take before you stopped feeling as if you had to be ultra-careful with your neck? Talk about walking on eggshells... the threat of the wrong movement paralyzing or killing you would be nervewracking. It sounds as if they created a solution that was stable and solved the problem really well.

Thank goodness for people who are willing to be creative and to really try, instead of always seeking the safest path.

Date: 2012-05-22 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I probably shouldn't have survived my childhood, wouldn't if my father had not come home when he had.

She was exactly the same till the day she died. I was with her and took care of her the last hours of her life. She never once said she loved any of her five daughters but all except myself told her on her deathbed they loved her. I stayed with her till her heart stopped because I don't believe anyone should die alone. I did not grieve her-still don't.

As for my surgery I was never afraid to go about my life until the surgery, If it was meant to be it would have killed me. I was lucky to find Dr. Mac. He save my life more than once.

Thanks for commenting it is appreciated, you are always kind.

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Date: 2012-05-22 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. I'm glad you came through the surgery not unscathed, but with things that you are able to live with. And you give your strength to those who really need it.

Date: 2012-05-22 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was lucky to have found a doctor who is so innovative and not afraid to try. Thanks so much for commenting.

Date: 2012-05-22 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow- I'm glad that you had doctors who were vigilant enough to find a way to fix you!

Date: 2012-05-23 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Such a testimony to how much we have to be responsible for seeking out health care and making the decisions that are personally right for us! How interesting to be part of a pioneering procedure!

Date: 2012-05-23 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
%ye piece was completed as I went into surgery. I never got to see what it looks like though I can feel it. Thanks for taking time to comment, always appreciated.

Date: 2012-05-23 02:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow that is a really cool story. You gotta love a doctor that is willing to go out on a limb.

Date: 2012-05-23 02:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think so its why I went to Haiti when he asked. Thanks for commenting.

Date: 2012-05-23 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad you came through okay, and that he was willing to take the chance.

Date: 2012-05-23 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you, I'm glad he took a chance, too.

Date: 2012-05-23 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are most likely the most hardcore woman I have ever read, it does not surprise me in the least that you have a spine of titanium.

Date: 2012-05-23 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I suppose I am. Always wanted to by feminine and dainty but hard to do when you are six feet tall. At least the DD breasts keep anyone from thinking I am a man. Any sweetness was beaten out of me.

Date: 2012-05-24 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It really is amazing what doctors can do sometimes, the things they can create when they're needed. This had to be a seriously scary situation but I'm glad you came through it and the doctors were able to come through for you. It's pretty amazing. Really strong stuff here.

Date: 2012-05-24 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Many of the instruments today's surgeons take for granted were forged in the heat of battle during the Korean Conflict by M.A.S.H. doctors.

And I think my doctor was more afraid than I was. I was resigned. I deal with too much death to be afraid of it.

Truth be told its more quality of life than fear of death. To me hell is having an alert mind and a completely immobile body.

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Date: 2012-05-24 12:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. I'm sitting here a little amazed. The most I've had is wisdom teeth being removed! I feel lucky to have never needed more.

Date: 2012-05-24 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I thought what he did was pretty amazing, myself.

Date: 2012-05-24 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. That sort of surgery is daunting. Once again, I am impressed with your courage under fire.

Date: 2012-05-24 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think it was less courage and more necessity but thanks. And thanks for taking time to comment.

Date: 2012-05-24 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So much of our health is in our own strength. I think of you up on that gurnery yelling at the chill in the corner, and I know that you're just too stubborn to give up that easy. Good for you for making them have to work at it, and hats off to them for so doing it so amazingly. Figures you wouldn't do anything even along these lines in a normal way. But, the great thing is, now, because of you, the path has been forged, and more lives will be saved as a result. That's practically to be expected, coming from you.

Date: 2012-05-24 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
True, I was the catalyst but the real heroes of my story are the four men one being dubbed 'The Fixer' by his peers. Without them sooner or later I would have died what I consider one of the most horrible ways to die and which is why I'd never smoke -- suffocating.

Thank you so much for your kind comments and you taking time to make them.


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