Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Let me get this straight.....
Websters definition: free from bends, curves, angles or irregularities.
My definition: Miracle.
When you've lived for over 2 years fighting Infantile Scoliosis, there are certain words you come to despise: wait and see. water. sand. vomit. casts. surgery. numbers. anesthesia. x-ray...the list does go on. There are other words, if you're a treatment patient of Chicago, you just as equally come to favor: Shriners. Gwen. Linda. Tom. Ruby. Hammerberg. Lucky Cast Club. Hope. Brace.
But there is a word you don't expect. A word so sacred and special, coveted and desired, you just don't speak of it. You don't whisper or even say it to yourself in the quiet spaces of prayer or solitude. You long for it and hope for it and pray for it, but you don't really know if it's ever a word that will become once again, a part of your every day vernacular.
And in the company of your beloved family of friends also fighting; also longing for their day in the sun, it's actually painful to say out loud or in their presence when you finally reach the day the word is spoken.
shhhhhh....did you hear that? That was my gasp. That was my heart. That was my soul lifting in disbelief.
Today, 36 days after Jackson received his brace, we returned to Shriners Hospital in Chicago to find out how well his spine is holding without the protective armor of his cast. We had little anxiety or trepidation because, honestly, we've been pleased with the way he has looked each and every time he gets his "break". I'm always petrified to look each time, but I can't stop myself, and what I see always gives me relief.
Yet there is always that chance. You know the one. It taunts you and looms behind you in creepy dark corners and steals your thunder? Pops your balloon. Kills your buzz? Yes. That one. It tapped me on my shoulder today as I drove us to the hospital this morning but I managed to push it back and bid it farewell once we walked into the hospital.
Jackson was a champ...as always, and in typical Shriners fashion, the warm, loving welcoming of our friends and the spoils of toys, books, games, crayons and smiles made us feel at home. We visited Jackson's friend Tom who takes his pictures and got a sneak peek before we'd return to have our clinic consult with Dr. H.
I am glad I was solo today (Daddy couldn't be with us). I would have probably squeezed his arm or hand so tightly and drained it of its blood supply if he had been. I had to contain my disbelief and giddiness as to protect myself from maybe a twist of reality or mis-read on my part. But I know what I saw. And it was beautiful, but yet that was all I was willing to say to myself. Remember...shhhhhhh, the word we don't speak of.
And then Dr. H met up with us back in our room. He strode in like a gallant knight... with his sword of protection and mighty steed---Oh wait. That was just my thought after the news. He pulled up the x-ray, zeroed in on the picture and proceeded to compare it to the x-ray taken on November 4, 2009. There they were. Side by side. Ever so clearly and candidly facing us. With confidence and what appeared to be surprise, he said it. He said IT.
"It looks straight!"
He proceeded to have Jackson remove his gown and bend over so that he and his observant and loyal interns looking on could also see for themselves as he traced his finger down my son's spine. And he said it....AGAIN! Let me get this straight...you're uttering that which we don't speak of TWICE?!
"It's looking really straight..." I have no real recollection of what was said after that. He lost me at straight.
With solid and excellent news of minimal rotation, aligned vertebrae and not needing to return for an x-ray for another 4 months, I glided out the doors of that hospital. I am not certain my feet touched the ground. I am certain that my superhero himself, held me close, lifted me up, and gallantly threw out his cape behind us. We then flew together with the wind of change and the gratitude to God carrying us home.