Friday, 1 October 2010

Milwaukee Brace

You may not have seen one of these before, and if not, you are lucky, and if you have then hopefully it was when you saw the film Romy & Michelle's Highschool Reunion, which is really funny, and coming from someone who wore this contraption, I know!

I noticed that the post I did "The wonder of woman", seemed to be a popular choice for people to look up.  Then I realised, it seemed to be popular because people were looking up Milwaukee Brace because clearly they had been diagnosed with curvature of the spine, just like I was!

So I decided to do a blog post all about it, because I also remember when my son Dexter was in hospital 2 years ago at the Sick Kids in Edinburgh, there was a girl in the room opposite who it turned out had just gone through the operation that I too went through (way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth!).  I remember going into see her (her Mum was so happy to find out that I knew all about it and could give her words of advice which I was so happy to do, as I knew only to well how she must have been feeling, I had been there).

Anyway, the first thing I did was say, "hello, I know you are wondering who the hell am I, your Mum asked me to come into see you because I went through what you are going through years ago and she thought it might cheer you up!", to this poor young woman in her teens who was clearly uncomfortable having just gone through surgery).  You know what, it did cheer her up.  The first thing after, my opening hello that I did was say, "look", and I pulled off my top, turned around and showed her the approx 40 inch scar I have which runs down my spine!  I said that she would be ok, I know it hurt a lot, but she would be fine, look here was me many years later, having found a handsome husband, had a beautiful son and lived a great life free from the taunts which I got when I wore the above contraption from the age of 10 until I was operated on at 13!

She was excited to hear this, and kept saying "oh, wow" (anaesthetic making this I am sure a much more exciting tale, but hey, maybe it will do the same for some other poor person going through what I did).  I told her that having the Harrington rod would not stop her having kids, she might not be able to do a crab in gymnastics, but hey, unless she wanted a life in the circus not such a great loss!  She laughed at that!

So, if you have Scoliosis whilst it is awful, and I know you feel like you are the only one, but remember  you are not, others have been there and understand and can say that there is definitely a wonderful bright sun at the end of the tunnel waiting for you, you'll see.


  1. What a gift you gave that girl by sharing your experience.

  2. You'll probably never know how much your visit might have meant to her. Your words have probably ran through her mind hundreds of times and they probably really helped as she healed.

    Awesome story.