1. "Whoa. What are you doing about this?" -Masseuse
  2. "About what?" -Me, 14
  3. "We need to cut you open and zip you up top to bottom." -Doctor #1
  4. "Terrible bedside manner! We're getting a second opinion." -Mom
  5. "Wear this brace 20 hours a day." -Doctor #2
  6. "Cool! Can I try it on?!" (then) "Ow, this sucks. I feel so bad for you! Can I have some of your Sunflowers perfume and then we can go get froyo?" -Girls
  7. "Dude it looks like that Madonna bra or, like, a medieval torture device. So, like, if I punch you in the stomach you can't feel it? Can I punch you?" -Boys
  8. "You're done growing and it's still progressing. You'll need surgery." -Doctor #3
  9. "I'm sorry, did you just say 'done growing?' I'm only 5'2"!" -Me, 16
  10. MONTAGE: College. Summer break. EKG. Vitals. X-Rays. Learns what "enema" means. Shaves back with Bic razor. Gets doused in iodine. Removes cartilage earring (later realizes the hole closed; is pissed). Counts backwards. Falls asleep.
  11. "This is better than pot." -Me, 19, on a morphine drip, kickin' it hardcore in the ICU.
  12. "Shh! Mom and Dad are sitting right here." -Brother
  13. MONTAGE: Lung inflated by tube in wall. Screams of other patients. Family's averted eyes. Lifetime movies. Old 90210. Carson Daly's TRL. Sleepless nights. Vasovagal fainting spell upon seeing scar. Mom kneeling on shower floor, holding me up, shaving my legs. Atrophied muscles. Finally my legs look the way I always wanted them to! It doesn't last.
  14. TAKEAWAY: If you go into the hospital & walk out, you're one of the lucky ones. Your body is more resilient than you think. Modern medicine is miraculous. Breathing is the only thing that will carry you through excruciating pain. If necessary, you can escape your body with your mind. Stories & entertainers are a lifeline to those trapped & alone.
  15. "I don't think about this much, and that's a luxury. I've seen enough of the world now to feel somewhat trite & self-indulgent even recounting this." -Me, 34
  16. "The inability to flow with the support of Life. Fear and trying to hold on to old ideas. Not trusting life. Lack of integrity. No courage of conviction." -Louise Hay on the spiritual roots of spinal curvature in her book, YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE