Monday, November 9, 2009

14 yo Ann gets her wish for a "straight as possible" spine with scoliosis surgery. Tears of concern / Tears of Joy.


First thing this morning, I met with 14 yo Ann and her parents in the preop area at Duke Raleigh Hospital.
Ann had a severe adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).
Ann introduced me to her new little bear, wearing a Duke Raleigh Hospital blue sweater.
She told me that she named her new bear "Lloyd", after me! How cool is that? I felt really special that she would choose to name her bear after me, even using my first name rather than the more formal bear name, "Dr. Hey". Teddy bears I think prefer to be less formal, more personal I guess.

I then asked her this morning: "How straight do you want to be?"
Her answer: "As straight as possible!"
We shook on it, and I promised to get her as straight as I could! She smiled.
After sharing a short (optional!) prayer together, I could see that her dad had a tear in his eye. I shook his hand, and let him know that I would take excellent care of his daughter. With a teenage daughter of my own, I could definitely put myself in his shoes. This is intense stuff. Really important stuff.

As I walked out of preop, and up to round on my patients upstairs, I took a moment to reflect on the way in which I get to connect with my patients and their families each day in such an intense way, discussing big surgeries, getting ready for big surgeries, and seeing love at work between parents and children, spouses, brothers and sisters, and good friends. This is an intense life, sometimes stressful life, but it is very, very real, and very powerful, and very moving. I'm so thankful to have opportunity to serve in this way, and to be involved in this web of relationships that really matter every day.

Her surgery went great, with an awesome correction, very little blood loss, and about 3 hour surgical time.
I used a couple new techniques that I have been perfecting for better screw placement and better correction using some special "pursuader" techniques with simultaneous rod insertion and derotation. These new techniques are really bringing some better corrections. Very Cool. I love to learn and innovate and improve these techniques.

After surgery, I came out to see Ann's mom and dad, and both sets of her grandparents were there as well.
I held up the X-rays shown below, with the before and after so that mom and dad could see them.
I could actually see both of their faces through the X-ray, and I could see that they both began to weep.
Weeping not for concern for their daughter going into surgery, but weeping for joy and relief.

Tears of loving concern.
Tears of joy and relief.

This evening, after my second surgery, I went up and saw Ann and her mom in her room. She's doing great, and gave me a HUGE smile, knowing that her wish had indeed come true: she was indeed "as straight as possible."

Her bear, "Lloyd", was next to her, wearing a surgical mask, and keeping a close eye on her recovery.

Dr. Lloyd Hey
Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery
http://www.heyclinic.com
Check out Scoliosis Research Society (SRS.org) website.

2 comments:

GrowBD said...

Dear Dr Hey,
(can't quite bring myself to call you Lloyd! :)

Ann's Mom is my best friend. That means I get, among numerous other benefits, a special view of Ann's triumphs and tragedies, it means I have a love for her that she probably has no idea about.

I have heard great things about you leading up to today's surgery, but hearing C's voice on the phone after you showed her the x-rays, and reading your blog and seeing the x-rays myself just now shows me that we couldn't have asked for a more loving and skilled surgeon to care for this precious child. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

I don't want to get too maudlin so I'll leave it at that, hoping you can read the sincerity with which I'm writing.

Warmly,
Deb

Julianne Walther said...

I'm Ann's 5th (or possibly 6th!) cousin, and I've been thinking about her. Your beautiful writing and your obvious concern lets me know that they got the perfect doctor for her! Thanks for caring for my family, however "distant" they may be!

Julianne