Back Braces, Childrens Hospitals, disabilities, disabled, hospitals, Kyphosis, medical, Physical Disabilities, Scoliosis, Shriners Hospitals, Shriners Hospitals for Children

Scoliosis Journey: Becoming a Shriners Patient, back braces, and possible child abuse?

It was on a trip to New Orleans Children’s Hospital for an orthopedic doctor appointment we were stopped by state police for speeding. Never before in dad’s life has he ever gotten off with just a warning. The officer was a Shriner. He gave his business card to my parents and told them about the wonderful work of the Shrine Club, which is free to families. After a few more visits to New Orleans doctor, they decided to get a 2nd opinion. My parents wanted a 2nd opinion because the private physician kept changing his mind about when surgery should be performed. I was starting to pull up. He bounced back & forth as to waiting until after I started to walk or before. They didn’t feel he was confident about what would be best for me. Mom called the local Shrine club; 2 very nice gentlemen came out the following day with paperwork and took pictures of me. Shortly thereafter I became a Shriners Hospital for Children-Shreveport patient. Shrine doctor decided it would be better before I started walking. Why wait? It had to be done anyway. Mom and I went to Shriner’s Hospital in Shreveport, LA a few days before surgery. Surgery was done at Christus Shumpert. I had to stay on my back in ICU for a few days. My parents had a room in the hospital with the freedom to come into ICU anytime to see me. The 1st night after surgery, I rolled onto my stomach and got up in crawl position just as mom walked into the room to check on me. I was being monitored in the nurse station. My nurse came running into the room to put me on my back; Even back then, I was such a little rascal and terrifying the nurses! LOL. After a brief time in the hospital, I was discharged with a cast around the torso area. The cast had a hole in the stomach area around the belly button. I complained about itching inside the cast. Dad would vacuum inside the cast using the long nozzle.

Shreveport is about a 3-hour drive from my home. I remember those trips to Shriners Dr. appointments so well because they were so memorable. During these trips, we had a tradition of going to the mall down the road afterward for Lunch at Piccadilly and then shopping; I especially loved going near Christmas time or Valentine, because I could get holiday shopping done.

Since it was a 3-hour drive, we often left my house extremely early; sometimes when I was much smaller: I’d pack a bag the night before and my parents would just load me up while I was still asleep in the morning. I was so small, I could slink down out of sight and change in the backseat of the vehicle. We’d often stop at McDonald’s to get breakfast; which mom and I often split the “Big Breakfast” and if there was time, she’d let me play in the playground for a tiny bit. Upon getting to Shriners Hospital, Mom and I would go sign in, and then I’d run off to go play in the waiting area and, of course, make new friends with other children. As I got into the preteen years, I no longer wanted to play with the pretend kitchen set, and would watch the movie they had on or go on the computer to get on Myspace or whatever; sometimes while waiting, I’d go to the cafeteria area and get popcorn or a cookie or a soda.

Once they called me to the back, we’d go straight to “weighing” and then to X-ray. I remember when I’d get weighed, they would often tease/joke with me because I hadn’t gained much in 6 months and they’d jokingly ask “does your mother feed you?!” To which I would laugh and say “yes, I eat like a horse; it just doesn’t stick to these boney hips!” (I also had really bad stomach problems so everything would pretty much go right through me.) In X-ray, I knew the routine of how they wanted me to stand: Back facing them, arms wrapped around something a metal box thing, feet slightly apart. I always got stickers and a stuffed animal/toy if I behaved in X-ray right away, instead of sometimes being mischievous and acting like I didn’t know the routine. After X-ray, it was to go bring my X-rays to the nurse/doctor meeting lounge area and then go sit up front and wait to be called back to be put in a clinic exam room to see my Dr.; Dr. Richard McCall.

Upon getting placed in a room, there wasn’t much to do in the room and sometimes he would take forever, so I’d go in the hallway and peek into the nurse/doctor lounge and giggle, spying on them while they looked at patients’ x rays, playing peek-a-boo: hiding when they’d look my way; Sometimes, I got caught by the nurses/doctors eyesight, but half the time, they’d just play along. I could always tell which X-ray was mine and I would sometimes go right up behind Dr. McCall while he was looking mine over and I’d point out “that’s mine!” and would trace the curve outline with my finger: He was so patient with me and my fascination; he’d sometimes sit me on his computer chair, and show me where the Scoliosis started and his ideas for future surgery “Once you go through puberty, “ yadda yadda yadda, a plan that never went to full fruition during my Shreveport checkups because my body had waited so long to “go through puberty” and the risk of paralyzing me was too great according to him when they discharged me at 17.5 years of age.

I remember one time, I think it was coming back from a checkup appointment, I for some reason stuck my head under mom’s driver seat of our Ford truck; she had to pull over because I got my head stuck. Why was I such an odd child?

I had to wear a body brace due to my Scoliosis. For those who do not know, bracing is sometimes a treatment for Scoliosis patients. I had to wear my brace from 2 years of age, until 8 years of age, when the doctors decided the bracing wasn’t helping; it might’ve been because I’d “pull a Houdini” and escape out of it. I despised that brace: it was hot, itchy, and so uncomfortable; when I’d take it off, I would scratch my itchy body for like 15 minutes straight. The undershirts for the brace, that were supposed to help, didn’t help that much. The only reason I liked my brace was that I had protection if someone hit me in the stomach area and because I had a place to put all my stickers. The worst part of the brace beside the itchy hotness of it was being molded for a new one. Being molded for a new brace was the worst because they use plaster of Paris or something like that to make them, and when they mold your spine, it gets hot and burns: I only remember being molded for a new one, once; I cried and screamed, throwing a tantrum, saying I hated them, until afterward when I got a toy to cheer me up; I named the doll “Cynthia,” because I was obsessed with Rugrats at the time, and it looked like Angelica’s Cynthia doll.

It didn’t do much good for me, so I was able to discontinue the brace after age 8. I had lots of memories of my brace.

There was a “game” I liked to play with my mom. I called it “Suitcase game” where mom would hold me by the straps of my brace and swing me in the air like I was a suitcase. How anyone never called child protective services, I will never know. Another memory was one of my mom’s favorite memories of me in my brace. They had Velcro straps on the back of it and Mom thought it was out of my reach. This memory shows another factor in my determination. We happened to be going somewhere and I was asleep in my car seat. Mom says I sat up in my car seat, eyes still closed. She says I reached behind myself, undid the Velcro straps, then proceeded to stick my arms into the brace, and push it away from my body; Escaping out of it. She says, before that happened, she would not know how I’d escape out of it because I would be put to bed in it, and when she’d come in the next morning to wake me up, I was out of it. Now she knew; somehow she always discovered any of my secret tricks! I eventually always got busted! HAHA!

I didn’t like my brace because when it was very hot outside, I would sweat and it’d start to itch, but other than that it didn’t bug me that much, except after eating because I always had stomach aches after eating. I did however like it whenever my body would get put in dangerous situations: my brace would’ve protect me: When I fell and knocked out my front teeth, I didn’t hurt my back because I was in my brace; When I had a girl that thought I was a baby doll and would carry me around, she dropped me one day, the only thing that got hurt, was my butt because my back was protected by my brace. Even though I hated it as a child if I had it on maybe I wouldn’t be so achy all the time now. I don’t know, just kind of wish I didn’t have the aches I am having now—Old Age Sucks!    

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Road to Mobility: Beignet training session #2

Today we did some more training with the retrieval of the coke bottle, basic commands, and started “clean up” for her toys so I don’t have to bend down to pick them up.

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Road to Mobility: Beignet Training session #1

Originally I had been training Beignet to be a service dog and eventually with all my pain from broken rods and then surgery recovery, It kind of fell by the way-side, however, I am getting back into it. Today We started training to try to get her to retrieve coke plastic bottle for me (in case I dropped it or something).

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new business adventure; Becoming an Avon rep.

As someone with a disability, the future is always uncertain and scary. I have always had doubts and questions about what I could do as a job or career because anytime I get sick or have a pain day and end up in bed, the worry and doubt come in; “How will I work? No one will want to hire if I can never go into work!, How will I function at work with pain if my pain meds knock me on my butt and make me tired?” On and on, the worries come in and circle in my head until I am an emotional, anxious mess. 

That is the beauty of at-home businesses; you can be your boss, control when you work, your work can be done from a mobile device or computer, etc. 

Avon is technically not new to me; my Mom used to sell it when I was in High school and I did help her by promoting them at school. I enjoyed it and I am very social when not in pain, plus I know how to use my social media outlets to my advantage. 

Hopefully, I will have luck with it 🙂 Anyway, if interested in ordering with me here is my website https://www.youravon.com/jcormier

Wish me luck! ❤

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Beignet: Crooked Tails and adorable sleeping positions!

Ever since adopting Beignet, she has always had a distinct feature: her crooked little tail.

At first, seeing it broke my heart, because it’s like “aww she has a disability too!” and I also thought maybe she got it caught in something/ it got infected and had to be removed/ or some heartless monster just decided to cut her tail, but I actually later found out (once I joined some dog groups- especially rescue dogs and foxhounds- which most people think Beignet is) that there is a gene mutation that can cause “Natural bobtail”- an animal’s tail which due to a mutated gene grows unusually short or is missing completely. Finding that out, made me come to appreciate her little special tail so much now.

One thing she does that is so cute and adorable is that when she tries to wag that little nub, her hips wiggle too, and hence why I sometimes call her “wiggle butt,” or “wiggles mcwiggleton.”

She also has the most cutest and adorable sleeping positions!

and Lastly, today, I was in a foxhound group on facebook- asking about if all foxhounds “shed like there is no tomorrow” because Beignet sheds so much that I swifter once a day and by the end of the week, I swear I have enough dog hairs to make a small sweater! it is ridiculous how much she sheds but she also has really bad skin allergies and itching. Poor thing, I have her on a daily antihistamine, special poultry free dog food because we have a suspicion she is allergic to chicken, fish oil on her dog food and just currently started doing coconut oils as well, I brush/comb her once a day(sometimes more if she is really itchy), and we bathe her every 2 weeks (sometimes earlier if again, she is really itchy); and the poor girl still scratches and licks herself, has welts under her fur, has dandruff flakes, and sheds a lot. Anyway, in the group, I asked about shedding badly, and the following screenshot has to be the funniest and best reply ever!

apparently she isn’t shedding dog hair at all, she is losing her powdered sugar! LMAO.
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Making my own fun!!!

My fiance and I had made plans to originally go to another parade this weekend, however upon waking up, my body decided to ruin that: sinus allergies, major migraines, back pain, and spasms; However, I found a way to not let it keep me down.

Sure, we didn’t go to the parade, but instead of moping and letting it ruin my day, I found a fun way to entertain myself; and all I needed was some mardi gras beads and my dog.

“How can that possibly be more fun than going out and socializing at a parade?” Well, as much fun as a parade is with the socializing and being with people, I wouldn’t have really enjoyed it because I was feeling so miserable with my health; but here at home in the warmth, I can have my own parade. Just me and my dog, who probably thought her mom had completely lost her mind. haha! 

I took some beads and put on my pandora music and started dancing (yes I was hurting, but just swaying side to side and side-stepping, isn’t much to hurt), and took some beads and started throwing them around- once they landed on the floor, Beignet, would go over and sniff at them. 

After throwing a few beads, I then took some and put them on Beignet like she had caught them. However, I think her favorite was when I brought out a light-up rubber boomerang I had gotten at the Rio Parade last weekend; In Hinds sight, I should’ve known she would love this item because she LOVES her frisbees! As soon as I pulled out the boomerang, that little nub of her crooked tail started wagging and her butt then began its “wiggle”. I tossed it to the couch a few times, but I didn’t wanna risk breaking stuff in the house, so we went into the backyard for a couple of tosses until I got too cold and was like “Okay B, Time to go in. We can play with the boomerang more tomorrow when the sun is out and hopefully warmer.”

As soon as we came in, I put the boomerang out of reach so that she wouldn’t destroy it (Power Chewer problems Lol) and she just sat near where I had put it out of reach and whined and whined until she realized I was not gonna relent and she went lay down and is now fast asleep.

Sure, I could’ve had some fun at the parade maybe, but I had a lot of fun here- just me, my fiance (who after helping me do some housework and he did yard work, is now enjoying his free time playing his video games), the cats outside in their warm (lighted) cat box/makeshift house, and Beignet- whose “mom” uses her for her own entertainment-but she knows I love her. ❤ 

Anyway, hope everyone else has a great rest of their weekend and remember: Don’t let life keep you down. Find a little fun in anything at all, smile, and that can turn everything around! 

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Cashapp or Paypal: Be a pal and help me!

Back in Sept or October, I accidently dropped my laptop and since then it has been on the fritz not turning on unless plugged into a TV screen via HDMI cable (until recently when that even stopped working) and I am currently using Ipad tablet, mobile phone, and mom’s laptop to take care of things I need to do online; However, I like to blog and do Youtube. I cannot do these things without proper equipment. I have a tripod, I have a 10 year old camcorder (Toshiba HD camio I think—could use a newer more updated one), a 4 year old digital camera that has video capabilities (Olympus TG-4); I also have several different web-cams.

In addition to equipment, I also need money to implement some of my content ideas: Shopping hauls, bark box for Beignet, Pet store trips with Beignet and buying whatever she “touches,” As Seen On tv product testings, doing stuff with my fiance’ niece, Serenity, in addition to other things that would be fun content. however, it all requires money and due to having been in a $700 apartment+ $222.00 in internet/cable at Cox+ $20.00 water bill+$60-$100 (varies) Electricity bill and only receiving $783.00 in SSI a month and my fiance’ currently out of work and despite putting in multiple applications and resumes in various places, he is having a hard time finding a job.
Thankfully Feb. is our last month of rent, we don’t have any internet/cable with cox this month, we do have the water and electricity that equals about $50.00-ish, but then we also have a few bills here at my parents house- they let us move in while they truck drive: No rent, we handle: cat food, water bill, internet, and electricity- but for this month we just have the water bill for mom’s house and thats about $30.00 ish.

I know after this month, things won’t be as stressful money wise. so even if its just a few dollars, it will greatly be appreciated and with your help, you can help build a better channel/blog with better content from me! So thank you in advance!

Much Love,

– Jamie

(Paypal info- email address is: Jamie.cormier@gmail.com)

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New youtube Video- Facebook Live video

I did a Facebook live at 4 this morning, having not had much sleep due to massive pain and spasms from the cold, wet weather here in Louisiana.

It is very random and silly, I was sleep-deprived (I did have a few hours, not many), on pain meds and melatonin that had the opposite result of what they normally do- normally knock me on my ass and make me sleep but no luck this time.

It is rather hard to sleep through what feels like every muscle in your back/spine tightening, twisting, pinching, jumping, and twitching. It feels very weird and can also make the nerves in your insides itch a lot!

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Beignet: The sweetest Rescue pup in all of Louisiana

For those of you who may not be aware, I adopted a rescued dog from Acadiana Animal Aid. The papers claimed she was “beagle mix,” but people in public suggested “German shepherd, American Foxhound, a bit of Rottweiler, Tree Walking Coon,” as well as others have said she does look somewhat like a beagle. She was originally from St John the Baptist Parish Animal shelter, (an employee there gave her the name “Beignet,” and being from Louisiana and how sweet her personality is, I kept it because it fits her well.) However, when Louisiana went through that bad flood back in Aug. 2016, she was one of the rescues that were brought to Lafayette area by a no-kill shelter; Acadiana Animal Aid in Carencro.
I adopted her on August 25th, 2016 ( a few mere months – May 1, 2016, after losing my last dog- a beagle Mya-Bella, 4 days before my birthday- she got out and hit on the road and I was devastated.) I had told my parents that I wanted a new dog as a Christmas present, but when I saw Beignet on the shelter website, I instantly fell in love.
Fast-forward 4 years later and I still love her as if I have just gotten her. She is one of, if not the best, best dogs I ever owned. She has so much personality and makes me laugh. She loves to play(something my last dog didn’t do); she isn’t much of a snuggler except when it’s nasty outside- cold, wet/rainy, or if I am not feeling well- (its almost as if she has a sixth sense and can sense when I am hurting with my disabilities pains). She follows me everywhere like my shadow. She loves to go everywhere with me like my little sidekick. She is loyal and protective; Whenever I am roughhousing or play fighting with my family or my fiance- she will bark at them and sometimes she will get between us, trying to block them from me,) Whereas she barks nonstop at people walking in our yard/mail people or if we are in public and people are walking near our vehicle: On occasion when walking her in public places, she will growl at strangers protectively and I have to correct her, it is okay to be protective but she cannot be aggressive if she will be with me in public- as I am trying to get her trained to by my service dog.

Tonight, it is a brutally cold, wet night, and she must sense it because she climbed up next to the couch with me and had her head on my lap: as usual, I start scratching her behind her ears, but this time she sits up and leaned her head into my arm as I scratch her ears, and then leans her head against my shoulder/down onto my chest area. it was the most cutest thing ever!!! I love her so much and she makes me so happy.
when I am depressed or sad, nothing can perk me up more than just snuggling my best fur friend or playing a nice game of fetch with her.

Her name fits her well, she is as sweet as a Louisiana beignet with tons of powdered sugar. ❤