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Lesson Learned the Hard Way – #HAWMC Day 17

Posted Apr 17 2012 2:15am

Today’s Prompt: Learned the Hard Way. What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Write about it for 15 today.

When I read this prompt I knew exactly what I’d write about, but not exactly sure the story I’d tell.

photo from http://www.terrygivens.com

I think with my health, the Greatest Lesson I Learned the Hard Way was that Doctors Do NOT always know, they CAN’T always fix you, and they WILL lie.

At 10 I broke my arm, it was a silly way to break a bone, so no one really thought it was broken, until the next day.  My shoulder, and my arm down to my elbow was black and blue.   Amazing. My mother felt such guilt because couldn’t believe it could be hurt that bad.  You see, I was climbing up the side of a hill, not a big hill, I grabbed a root that was sticking out to help pull me up, and it let go.  I fell back.  My feet were only inches from the ground.  I fell on my left arm.  It was my RIGHT arm that was hurting.  No one could understand.  No one but me, you see, I heard the bone snap.

We got to the Navy clinic, and they performed x-rays of my arm.  It caused quite a stir.  At one point, I counted 8 doctors in the room trying to get a glimpse of my x-rays.  They were confused.  Was my collar-bone broken too?  What was all those lines?  We better send her to a specialist.  So my whole side was immobilized, and we were sent to the big Navy Hospital, downtown Charleston, SC.  My mother hates to drive in traffic.  She didn’t get her license until after I was born.  But my father was at sea, she had to be brave, and be the only parent.  I remember being in much more pain during and after the x-rays.  Could they not be a little more gentle with a 10-year-old child?  and maybe give her something for pain?

So we arrived at the big Hospital, to this little girl, it was the biggest building I’d ever seen.  Again, there were many doctors looking at my x-rays.  Many having no idea what they were looking at.  Finally, saying this is very rare in such a young child.  And then taking my mother out in the hall.

That should have been my FIRST lesson – Doctor’s KEEP SECRETS.

When they returned my mother looked a bit confused, stunned, and scared.  I was told I had broken my arm.  But I also had a bone cyst.  A fibrous mass in my bone instead of a solid bone.  It was “NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT”.  However, we needed to keep an eye on it, and I’d have to have a special cast.  I couldn’t have a whole cast, just a partial cast, because the cyst “needs to breathe” – I will never forget that phrase, I was only 10, but I thought, so I have some foreign thing living in me that has to breathe on its on?  What really was happening, was the tumor would make my arm swell and go down and swell and go down…ect….so a regular cast would not work.  And this was in 1973, so those fancy hard velcroed on casts weren’t around yet.  (actually, the very first one of those was a prototype made for me! after my surgery, isn’t that cool?)

So I broke my arm 5 times.  They kept saying they were watching it, and I wasn’t supposed to be doing anything strenuous because I could break it.  Um, Someone opened a door into me while I had a cast on (was days from getting it off) and broke my arm.  I don’t think I was being strenuous!  I never learned how to play any sports, I wasn’t allowed, I am so uncoordinated and so dumb about any sport activity.  I’ll be asked to play soft ball, I’m so embarrassed, I’ve tried to play, and volley ball…ect.  I can’t do it.  I simply have no eye hand coordination and I’m like a 2 year old learning to play a game.  But I digress.

Finally, I was almost 16, I had stopped growing, it was time to operate.  The bone in my right arm had not grown at all in the past 6 years!  They took some bone from my left hip, shaved it off from around the tip of the pelvic girdle.  (I know what you are thinking, she has chronic pelvic pain, I don’t think it’s from this, most of my pain if on the other side.)  They opened the upper right humerus of my right arm and scraped out the mass, and packed it full of the hip bone pieces.  So they had to fuse together.  (yes, my father says I can literally say, I carry my ass on my shoulder!)

So then the lies start to come together.  While I’m in the hospital I started to hear things.  Like the tumor that was removed.  And the malignancy.  I was given medication via IV, that had a little radiation symbol on it.  I got very sick.  And I was in the hospital for over a month.  I was never told the whole truth.  You know I’m not even sure my mother was told the whole truth.  I do think my father was.  It was that kind of times.  Tell the father, let him decide what to tell the family.  But from the things I got a hold of in the hospital, and the questions people answered before they thought about it….it sounds like, I had a tumor.  Yes, this I do know, I did hear the doctors say that…well, over hear.   I also over heard from the nurses when they thought I was sleeping.   It was mostly benign, but had some malignant cells.  I handled the chemo and radiation treatment well.  “It’s a good thing they got it when they d

That quote still haunts me.  They waited 6 years for my bone to grow.  If they had operated earlier, I probably would have had NO CANCER.  I would not have lost so much of my childhood.  I would have had a solid bone, yes it would have been shorter, so what!  It still is!!!  And I still have pain from it!  They still didn’t fix it.

And remember I was never told this.  I heard it all second-hand.  Not long ago, I tried to get my records from the Navy Hospital.  They said I needed my father’s authorization since he’s still alive.  If he was dead, it could even be harder from what I’ve heard.  I asked him to get them for me.  “For what, you don’t need that.”  I tried to explain, I’m having a lot of medical problems now and any information from my past might help my doctors now.  “I don’t believe that, it’s too much trouble.  I don’t know why you’re always wanting to bring up the past.”  Okay??  Where did that come from?  but I guess no medical records.

So my Lesson I Learned the Hard Way…Doctors do not know everything!  Doctors can’t always fix everything. and Doctors will Lie, or in this instance, at least keep things from you.

However, I have had them lie to me at different times….that was a Lesson Revisit.


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