Friday, 6 January 2012

Up Straight

Nowadays if you announce that you've become STRAIGHT.. you won't get a straight-faced response.

Rightly or wrongly you'll get teased about your... "orientation", be it your sexuality or integrity i.e whether you're gay or crooked.

But if you previously had been curved, though not necessarily cur-VY, then the fact that you have become straight or straightER is the literal truth.

That was what happened to my niece Dini.

Looking at her here you wouldn't know that she was actually un-straight.

But if you look at this picture of her spine, you'll know what I mean.

It looked like below the neck her spine ran out of space and had to curve.

In fact it wasn't just curved from side-to-side, it was also twisted slightly frontwards, much like a reversed hunch.

This condition is known as adolescent idiopathic scoliosis meaning a crookedness (from the Greek word skoliosis) of the spine of no known causes (idiopathic).

Dini's doctor who monitored her condition over a few years noted that the angle of curvature was progressively increasing - from 20 degrees to 50 degrees.

If left uncorrected, he feared that as she grows older the spine might slowly project into her lung area and adversely affect her breathing. I wonder if this is one of the causes of adult-onset asthma.

So last school holidays Dini underwent a 5-hour surgery performed by 2 orthopaedic surgeons to correct her crookedness. Apparently one surgeon would have taken double the time.

If you imagine the spinal column being made up of spiky donut-shaped bone material (vertebrae) stacked one on top the other with the nerves traversing from the brain through the "donut holes", you will realise how delicate this kind of surgery is.

The surgeons basically restacked these "spiky donuts", which looked like they were falling off, and pinned them into place with rods and screws.

They started from the lower end all the way up where the curvature was quite acute. They left the last vertebra at the waist unpinned to enable Dini to bend forwards, otherwise she won't be able to perform solat in the usual manner.

The surgery was a success. The surgeons managed to correct more than they had expected but took slightly longer than promised, which made Dini's mama very anxious at the time.

It was relief all round when Dini came out of surgery wiggling her toes.

Thanks to the skill and judgement of the surgeons Dini made a very quick recovery and was off holidaying in Langkawi a couple of weeks later.

But she's not allowed any robust or athletic activity for a whole year to allow new bone material to form round the pins.

And because Dini's spine has been corrected, she can now tell people that she has gained a couple of inches or so ...overnight.

And keep a straight face.


Oldstock said...

Alaa... kita dah terkomen kat FB note la Kak Zen...

Zendra-Maria said...

Oh thanks Fadhil, I mean... Oldstock

but yes, decades of being involved in data-processing have me absolutely swearing by the values of having redundancies in place. So I have one entry on Facebook and an identical one in Blogger :)

But that's only for data mind you *winks*

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Zen,
Wow! The marvels of modern science. All the best for Dini. purrr....meow!

hobbit1964 said...

A full life may she have.

Al-Manar said...

This is truly amazing, the first case I have ever heard of.

pakmat said...

..alhamdullillah..not only she is straight, gained few inches..she's pretty to boot...may she be always blessed...