Sarah's Spine

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Sarah's condition - Congenital Fire-Type Disproportion - meant that it was known from early on that she might suffer one
day from Scoliosis. Whilst she always had a slight curve to her spine, by her early teens it was worsening, to the point
where she was having difficulty breathing and required night-time ventilation. In the summer of 1999 she was told that
surgery would be required, and she was put on the waiting list.

Sarah's operation finally took place on Monday 14th February 2000 at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore,
after being postponed twice. Following the operation her spine was now almost completely straight (see x-rays below).
The bad news was that the day after her operation was her 16th birthday, so she was barely conscious for most of it.
Sarah entering the Adolescent Unit on the evening before her operation. The extent of the problem with her back is painfully apparent.
Lucky old Dad won the Sunday evening Bedside Bingo competition. First Prize? A mug and a pen - wooo hooo!

We knew that Sarah's spine was twisted, but it was only when we saw her x-ray that we realised how bad it had become. If ever we doubted the need for surgery, this would have convinced us. See how her ribs on the right have all been crammed together. No wonder she had difficulty in breathing

Monday February 14th 2000, the big day
Sarah under 'pre-med' at about 10.00am In Stanmore's Intensive Treatment Unit at 8.00pm the same day, sedated and on a ventilator. The start of the long road to recovery.
The Intensive Treatment Unit. Looks very unimpressive from the outside, but is wonderful once you get through the doors Sarah three days after the operation, off the ventilator but with an oxygen mask to support her breathing.

And here she is on Sunday 20th February, much more cheerful! Today she belatedly opened most of her 16th birthday cards and her Mum won the Sunday evening Bingo competition. First Prize? Another mug and another pen - double wooo hooo!

And what did her x-ray look like after the operation? Well, here it is. And in spite of the metalwork (including the 55 staples that closed the wound) this looks much less horrific than the previous x-ray. No wonder she's gained so much height!

We had copies made of the two x-rays, at a cost of 20, which we thought was pretty reasonable. I managed to copy them by blu-tacking them to the window in our attic (north side, of course!) and then photographing them against the daylight with my digital camera. A bit 'Heath Robinson', but cheap and effective nonetheless!

The Daily News ......
While Sarah was in Stanmore I sent out a daily bulletin on her progress to a growing list of family and friends - see Surgery and Recovery

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