Friday, March 1, 2013
Kathy, 40 yo woman 6 weeks postop from her scoliosis surgery sends me a letter this afternoon...
Today was a good day. I left your office after we met again for my six-week post-op appointment and commenced on the two-hour trek back home to Jacksonville. My husband and I talked about what a blessing you have been to our family during the entire trip, all the while gazing up at the Carolina blue sky and just being thankful.
A bit over six weeks ago, you spent four hours straightening my S-curved spine – four hours doing something another orthopedic surgeon told me would be too difficult to undertake anytime soon. I understood from him a couple years ago that the parts of my vertebrae where the screws would be placed were too small for the typical posterior approach, that his anterior approach would be complicated and difficult. I was advised to consider physical therapy, to take lots of vitamin D and keep my weight down, and when I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, to come back and he would do the surgery. Quite the hopeless feeling, indeed.
And then, we were introduced to you. You see, God placed another former patient of yours in our path who would share his story with us and encourage us to seek you. At my very first meeting with you, I was given something that no doctor had offered me before in respect to my scoliosis – and that was hope. Even as an adolescent being recommended for a brace, I recall the doctors saying that it “may help” prevent the curves from progressing. Then as an adult seeking help from chiropractors (“You’re too old for surgery”) to physical therapists (“This is a band-aid on an arterial bleed”) to finally a surgeon (“Come back when you can’t stand the pain anymore”), the hope was scarce to say the least.
From the very first meeting, you said, “We can fix this, we can get you straight!” I remember the feeling of peace that overcame me in your office that December afternoon. I left the facility, almost bouncing up the parking deck stairs with excitement, knowing God led me to that very location on that day to find relief from what was becoming a debilitating daily pain.
On the morning of surgery, you held our hands and offered a prayer before undertaking the task of doing something so many other people said couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be done. To know that this brilliant and gifted surgeon is such a humble man of God has, since then, given both me and my husband an almost indescribable powerful sense of calmness and strength. After surgery had ended, you can’t know what it meant to my husband when you talked with him personally, cheerfully sharing the “after” x-rays. And again, a closing prayer of thanksgiving was a welcomed, necessary, and so deeply appreciated gift.
Not even a week later, when my post-operative pain took on a different characteristic that raised concern, my husband took a “shot in the dark” and called your cell phone that morning for guidance. The most amazing thing happened – you answered! “I’m getting ready to go into surgery, but what’s going on?” I could hear over the speaker. Thank you, Dr. Hey, for your unprecedented level of care to all of your patients.
So here I am, wanting to let you know how thankful my family and I are to have found you. And most importantly, I needed to put these thoughts into words to offer to you –
My daily 45-minute walk this afternoon was nothing short of a catharsis for me – one that had significant and profound meanings in multiple ways. You see, looking back at the series of events that led me to you, I see God’s work. But not only that, but something very amazing has also happened – this six-week period of quiet mornings and cozy afternoons has given me pause to refocus on the things that are truly important in life. Yes, the recovery period definitely has had its share of muscle spasms, pain, sleepless nights, and medication fog, but it also offered the absence of work’s hustle-bustle, the excruciating commute, and daily missed lunch breaks. It offered time to cuddle up with an inspirational book, time to have heart-to-heart chats with my husband (something we had missed for too long), and time to just simply be thankful that everything happens for a reason. And you, happened, for more than one reason, Dr. Hey.
I knew that this surgery would realign my spine. I knew that this surgery would give me more stamina to romp with my daughter in the fall leaves. I knew that this surgery would allow me to stand for more 15 minutes at a time without having back or leg pain. I knew that this surgery would virtually eliminate the growing ugly rib hump in my back that embarrassed me so.
But there are also the things that I didn’t know this surgery would do for me – that have changed my life in their own momentous ways.
God bless you, your family, and your staff, Dr. Hey. Thank you for being what I needed. In so many ways.