Born with Scoliosis

Living On O2 for Life

Christine's Scoliosis X-ray

Since reading the post: Why I Use Oxygen, you know that I have scoliosis. I was born with it and it was very obvious to the doctors that I have scoliosis. Some people may have been born with it but it was so slight that it isn’t detected until later in life.

I was born with a 71 degree curvature according to the measurements taken March 9, 1973, measuring from T1 to T10. My scoliosis was so severe that wearing just a Milwaukee Back brace would not improve my spine significantly enough without surgery to fuse vertabras. However, before I could be cleared to have any surgery, I had to be consulted by a cardiac specialist. Not only was I born with Scoliosis, I had major cardiac problems. The walls that separate the Atrial and Ventricle chambers had holes in them. Oxygenated blood was being flooded with un-oxygenated blood because of those holes.

After being cleared for surgery by my cardiologist, I had my first spinal fusion. I woke up in Halo Traction at the young age of 3 years old. And yes, I remember it.

Now that you just read a little bit about my childhood, know that I completely understand that life can be difficult at times. Believe me. I truly know. Below is an x-ray of my scoliosis. I’d like to close this post with this advice: When life is hard, don’t forget how to smile. Find something: a person, a memory, a place or a silly joke that makes you smile. When someone sees you smile, you are giving them a gift that can be returned. 

How I keep from getting the flu…

Living on oxygen for life

How I keep myself from getting the flu has to do with a lot of luck and a bunch of smart thinking. I battle the flu season by getting a flu shot every year. The flu shot doesn’t actually work to keep you from getting sick but it does help the body prepare for the strain of flu virus that may begin to attack the body this year. It’s a good defense towards keeping your body from becoming sicker than what you would have without the flu shot. The flu shot helps build up some antibodies designed to keep the nastier side of the flu away.

This year I was surprised by getting sick early. I started having signs of something potentially bad on my birthday in September. I was out of town and when I got back home, I developed Bronchitis which scared me and my husband a lot. With bronchitis, I was coughing quite a bit. I had to have an x-ray to be sure it didn’t make it into my lungs. But all is good now. I am well now! YEA!

I think everyone gets a little sick every now and then. There are things that I do besides getting that flu shot that helps me to stay healthy during the worst part of flu season.

  1. Wash my hands!  It is so important to wash your hands with either soap and water or antibacterial soap and water. If it’s available to you, use antibacterial soap to wash your hands during the flu season.
  2. Stay home:  Because of my breathing and heart problems, I try NOT to go out much, unless I need to, during the wintertime.
  3. Stay away from sick people:  Even if you think it may be rude, if you are invited to a party or a gathering, ask if anyone else invited is sick. This is very important to know. I will either not attend or stay very far from the sick person.
  4. If in public, do NOT touch your hands to your mouth or face: Your hands touch a LOT of surfaces. Your phone, railings on stairs, countertops, pens that others use, ATM machines and shopping carts. Germs travel. Carry antibacterial gel and use it while in public, especially before eating at a restaurant. When you finally arrive home, the first thing you should do is wash your hands!
  5. Change toothbrush often: I change my toothbrush every 3 months. I’ve been known to run my toothbrush through the dishwasher if I can’t get to the store for a new one. You can buy them in a multi-pack to keep your medicine cabinet stocked and ready!
  6. Get the flu shot: I try to get my flu shot sometime in late October.
  7. Get plenty of REST! This is so important. Though many of us feel like they have so much to do that they don’t have time to squeeze in a brief nap when they feel tired. When you don’t get enough sleep, it begins to affect the bodies ability to maintain a healthy immune system. I make sure I get at least 8 hours of sleep a day which is what my body tells me that I need at night. I do nap during the day because I tire easily. So, getting enough sleep is a priority to staying healthy.

Stay well everyone! Sign up to follow my blog! By signing up, you will be notified by email when I post to my blog. Check at the top of the right column to sign up.