Saturday, April 2, 2011

This young lady HAD scoliosis? ... And this past busy week in review.

Wherever I go, I seem to bump into one of our guests from Hey Clinic!  In the past I’ve shared meeting up with one of my former adolescent idopathic scoliosis young lady guests down at Sanitary Fish Market in Morehead City, NC.  Well tonight I met another one who was one of the greeters at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse!  She gave me a big “hello”, and it was great to see her!!!   We got a picture together here at the front desk with a painting of “Ruth” in the background.  This young lady is in college now, and I seriously could not see even a hint of scoliosis!  She gave me permission to share this picture of the two of us taken this evening with all with you, so you can see her good posture!

While we were seated at our table, we were also greeted by a sister of one of my adult scoliosis patients who was kind enough to come over to say “hi” --- she actually helped mentor my daughter this summer in a book publishing company in Chapel Hill.  Really appreciated her help.  Her sister Kate is doing great, who lives up in Connecticut with her husband and small children.  Kate had a severe untreated adolescent idiopathic scoliosis that we fixed when she was in her upper 40’s.

Ryan Kelly, from Duke Basketball team also walked in while we were there --- too bad he was not at the Final 4 as planned!  He sure is tall.

This past week was a real whirlwind.  We did seven surgeries, including three anterior / posterior reconstructions and 2 pedicle subtraction osteotomies for flatback syndrome and severe scoliosis.  Art, our patient from Detroit flew home on Monday morning, after giving me a big hug to thank me for getting rid of his 82 degree kyphosis.  He’s going to be starting a whole new chapter in his life now.  I saw another 9 month old with scoliosis this week, who was a twin, tightly packed into one small corner of the uterus while his other twin hogged up most of the space!  No wonder his spine is twisted!  

Saw a very nice 30 yo woman in clinic on Friday with a HUGE C56 disc herniation which is just making her miserable.  I can relate.  I had the same problem at C67 years ago, and eventually had it fixed surgically.  What a relief that was!  This young lady just moved to Raleigh, is starting a new job, getting a new apartment, and now really can’t use one of her arms, and can’t sleep.  It has been going on for over 5 weeks, and hasn’t gotten any better with conservative therapy.  Tracy in my office helped to rearrange my schedule so we can get that nasty disc off of her C6 nerve root by doing an ACDF anterior cervical discectomy and fusion --- then she can get back to life!  We’ll do a really tiny anterior microsurgery incision for her, with a special plastic surgery closure so that the incision will become virtually invisible on her beautiful neck!  While our clinic is known for doing the “big” scoliosis and kyphosis surgeries, we also enjoy caring for people with the smaller simpler problems as well, knowing what a HUGE difference even a small surgery can make in quality of life.  When I got my C67 disc herniation removed, I will never forget the relief I felt afterward, when that “ice pick” that was in my scapula for a year, and pain going down my left arm was GONE!  Halleluiah!  That experience as a patient, on top of my previous experience as a trauma patient definitely has helped me to put myself in the shoes of my many patients who suffer with symptoms like this in their arms or legs.  

Saw a whole bunch of happy postop patients on Friday, including Bill, who had a T5 fracture with kyphosis and severe myelopathy --- initially could not move his legs at all.  He came back for his one year follow-up yesterday, now able to walk and no significant pain, standing up straight and tall!  What a joy to get a picture together with Bill at the end of an amazing journey.  

Saw a bunch of my teenage scoliosis postop patients doing well, one of whom spent some extra time with Jimmy, our software database engineer, since he is considering being a computer programmer.  Perhaps this high schooler will come back this summer as one of our summer interns.  What a journey.  What a joyful day.

One of my postop flatback correction patients who was 6 months out from surgery told my PA Rachel and I her story how the flatback surgery has totally changed her life.  Her story was so moving that it literally blew me away to the point of tears.  She did a short video clip of her story which I left on my camera at the office this weekend, but she said I could share with our Hey Clinic Blog community....

Rachel has been a huge help with our research projects under way, with abstract submissions in high gear right now on several clinical research projects.  We are also continuing our biomechanical research at NC State with the Mechanical Engineering Department, studying hardware construct modeling in scoliosis surgery --- seeking to come up with ways of preventing hardware failure / breakage.

By Friday evening at 7:30 pm as I headed out to my car after rounding at the hospital, I was “whoop tired”, but thankful for such a great week.

Today I recovered by sleeping a bit late, taking a long walk through the woods with the dogs playing in the streams, and enjoying some time with family and even some “honey do” chores!

Hope you are all doing well...Spring is definitely coming here in NC!

Dr. Lloyd Hey
Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery

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