Thursday, December 15, 2005

remember when you were young?

Bonus points to whomever knows the song and artist from whence came the above title. Wow. That was a LOT of proper-ass English! LOL

What are your first memories?

When I cast my mind back, the earliest cohesive memories I have are from about age 3. I have some flickers of memories from when I was 2-1/2, but none of them very pleasant.

When I was that age, I fell down at a beach. Had pain in my extremities and wouldn't eat. I don't remember any of that — it's what my mom's told me — you know something is wrong with one of the George boys when he won't eat — and what I've read in my medical records, which, unfortunately, aren't totally complete.

7SEP1971: Stomach ache x 3 days. 2-1/2 y.o. has complained of intermittent abd. pain over the weekend. Pain last short periods of time perhaps 3/day. ..... T cult. clear liquids. observe & ret.
- - - - - - - - - -

13SEP1971: Fall approx. 2 weeks ago. complaining of back pain. ... prob. back spasms
- - - - - - - - - -

18SEP1971: Still has back pain. walks w/ shuffling gait. .. child has been @ bed rest ... walk legs hurt. will get xray auth.
- - - - - - - - - -

20SEP1971: (patient) can't walk
- - - - - - - - - -

What I remember from this time is being in the hospital. It was a Naval Hospital here on Guam that was used to treat military personnel who suffered head and/or spinal wounds in Vietnam, so I was lucky in that there were top-flight surgeons there to operate on me. Even then I was giving a 50-50 chance of never walking again.

It was a traumatic time for me. I was the only kid there and was put in a ward all by myself — like 20 or 30 beds with just me there in a quiet hospital. My parents visited when they could, for the hours they could, but I ended up being alone and scared a lot.

I believe this is why I have a hard time eating certain foods. OK, I CAN’T eat certain foods — peas, lima beans, mixed vegetables, stew, beans … it was all stuff served up regularly by the hospital’s chow hall. So I mentally tie that food to the painful, lonely memories of a dark hospital. It’s not as bad now as it once was, when I would vomit at the taste — and sometimes even just the smell — of these dishes.
- - - - - - - - - -

29SEP1971: The patient was placed on the standard operating table in the prone position and the mid thoracic area was prepared by shaving it and scrubbing it with tincture of Betadine. It was draped in the usual sterile manner. The incision was made from T8 down to T11 in the midline and carried down through the subcutaneous tissue. The skin edges were maintained in a retracted position by means of Weitlaner retractors. The paravertebral muscles were dissected off the spinous processes of T8 down to T11 on both sides. These muscles were maintained in the retracted position by means of Weitlaner retractors. The interspinous ligament was cut. The spinous procees of T8 down to T11 was removed. Using sharp and blunt dissection, the lamina of T8-T11 was removed. At this point it was noted that there was vascular necrotic tissue at the area of T10 which was enveloping the dura. The tumor was limited outside the dura and it was occupying the vertebral canal. The capsule of this tumor had completely strangulated the dura at this level.
- - - - - - - - - -

That’s where the surgery records get cut off. I guess they were misplaced during one of the many moves the Air Force put us through over the years.

Basically, they cut out a tumor. Luckily, it turned out not to be malignant.
- - - - - - - - - -

7OCT71: three year old with 2 weeks history of progressive weakness in both lower extremities and back pain. X-Rays show vertebra plana; myelogram showed complete block at T-10. Biopsy compatible with eosinophilic ganuloma enveloping cord.

From 30 Sept to 7 Oct the patient received 6 x-ray treatments over a period of 8 days. the daily dose was 200 r.

50% reduction in size of mass, no reaction, no complication. Will follow with neurosurgery service.

- - - - - - - - - -

(from a letter written by the commander of the Orthopaedic Department at the Naval Hospital in Oakland)

25SEP1973: Postoperatively his neurologic symptoms were corrected and he has done well; he was held in a brace for an undisclosed period of time. Apparently the brace has either broken or the patient has outgrown it.

On admission to this facility the patient was a well-developed, well-nourished 4-1/2 year old who was in no distress. There was a well-healed 6” midline scar over the mid-lower thoracic spine. There was no clinical kyphosis nor palpable defect underlying the scar. Neurologic examination was normal with no evidence of long tract signs. Deep tendon reflexes and sensation were intact, sphincter tone was normal. NO muscle wasting was evident, no pathological reflexes were noted. There was no marked increase in lordosis nor was any pelvic tilting evident on standing.

The rest of the letter is about putting me in a body jacket made of Orthoplast to prevent spine curvature, and how they had to send it from Oakland to Guam because my father and I had to return to Guam prematurely because of a death in the family (my grandmother, my dad’s mom).

On the previous brace, my mom has told me that I was a holy terror in that thing. I was supposed to be restricted in movement and not go overboard … so of course I ran around all the time and climbed trees and what not. My mom broke a toe on the brace once when she tried to give me a little swiping ass kick to make me slow down. Heh.

Random Guam Fact Of The Day:
• The construction of the current Naval Hospital on Guam began in 1953 and opened in 1954. In September 1965, the hospital began receiving casualties from Vietnam via medevack flights. Within three months, the average patient load increased from about 100 to more than 300, and in 1968 and 1969 often exceeded 700.


gigi said...


Yeah, I'm nekkid!

DZER said...

woohoo!! hard to beat nekkid hugs! :)

Chrissie said...

a terror?? you?
gee thats so.. difficult to believe.

grainne said...

PUPPY??? ~sigh~ would you hurry your ass up and go get another puppy?? You are making me bonkers here !! I am starting to think you are nothing but a canine tease.

Poor momma....broken toes really hurt...not to mention all the fretting and worrying she had to do over you while in the hospital.

Poor kid, all alone in the big frightening hospital...I can't imagine how unpleasant that would have been ~HUG~

sassinak said...

damm dzer


i got nothin' except wow... that must have sucked. what did they do with those facets that they removed? like is your spine fused there?

sassinak said...

also the song is crocodile rock... don't care who the artist is

Everything Nice said...

Me and Suzie had so much fun
holding hands and skimming stones..

Had an old gold Chevy and a place of my own.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin.


Dozr, I so want to hug that afraid and hurting little boy inside of you.

murphy said...

I have no recollection from like the age of 6 back.. seriously... so bright side of it all, at least you have the memorys!

terry said...

it makes me so sad to think of little dzer all alone in a big scary hospital.

ell said...

poor baby! what a traumatic experience you went through.


DZER said...

chrissie: gee … thanks.

grainne: you’re never gonna give up on that, are ya? LOL … and thanks hon.

sass: not sure what they did, but the spine wasn’t fused. The scar was a bitch every year at scoliosis test time though.

and sorry, but you’re wrong on the song. “Crocodile Rock” was: “I remember when rock was young” … but good try.

naughty one: I’m surprised you fell for the Elton John trap! LOL

oh … and hug away … the little boy inside me would have his face right at your tits … ;)

murphy: I never really thought of myself as an early rememberer, but I guess I am. What freaks me out are those people who are like, “Yeah, it was chilly when they pulled me out of my mom’s vagina, and then the doc spanked me WAY too hard!”

terry: thanks, sweetie.

ell: we all have trauma at one point or another … thanks, darlin’.

Suze said...

Dezr, read your email. LOL.

Suze said...

Whoops, who's pissed. Dzer. Uhm...

DZER said...

suze: got it! LOL

and I don't know ... who's pissed? are you pissed? LOL

castufari said...

We all have pissed moments from childhood. Myself I'd like to pimp smack mom and dad. Mom for, well, being a screaming bitch and dad for not putting the smackdown on her when she needed it.

AlwaysArousedGirl said...

I first read your title as "remember when we were young" which is from a Pink Floyd song.

I was all ready to think that you were EVEN COOLER than I already think you are, liking Pink Floyd and all.

Don't worry, you're still pretty damn cool in my book.

Kisses. Smooches. And move to Huge City any time you'd like, k?

DZER said...

catufari: I have no complaints of mom or dad; I was lucky to have great parents :)

alwaysarousedgirl: Yay!! someone got it right! And damn right I'm cool, probably even cooler than you think (chilly most). look out, Huge City!! *smooches*

grainne said...

Remember when you were young?
How the hero was never hung
Always got away
Remember how the man
Used to leave you empty handed?
Always, always let you down
If you ever change your mind
About leaving it all behind
Remember, remember, today

John Lennon has been running thru my warped little mind all day after reading that title...I think you are too young for that to be the title reference.

SignGurl said...

I'm sad thinking of little Dzer all alone at the hospital. That would suck.

I spent a lot of time in the hospital as a child but it was usually made enjoyable by the staff. They let me do things that other kids didn't get to do like going to the playroom late at night and having all the toys to myself.

The last picture of you is absolutely adorable. Look at that little Dzer face. *pinches cheeks*

Bill Jones, Jr said...

Dzer, that was a sad story about your childhood, glad you pulled through. I'm so sorry that it ended up stunting your growth though. :)

Shay said...

Aww poor little Dzer!! :(

surgery always sounds more awful when it's done on a little kid.

DZER said...

grainne: umm .. a little young. LOL I was referring to the Pink Floyd song, Shine On (You Crazy Diamond). :)

jenn: alone in hospitals always sucks ... and careful with them cheek pinches! LOL

sabledawn: No shit! I coulda been Andre the Giant! LOL

shay: thanks hon ... wanna play nurse? ;)

Grace said...

Dzer... what an adorable little boy you were. That story was really sad. I can't even imagine myself in your situation as a kid... alone, in a hospital, going through surgeries and constant pain. You're such a strong person. God bless ya Deeze.

sugarpunk said...

crockadile rock... elton john?

and NO i didnt read anyone elses comments first...