In November 1980, I was admitted to the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen, Shropshire. With the Boston Brace failing to correct the scoliosis in my spine, it was decided that the best way forward was major surgery to insert a Harrington Rod, which would bring my vertebrae into line. It was to sit from my lower neck to L3 and was, at the time, a new and groundbreaking operation. Afterwards, I spent a month lying flat and a further nine months in a full body plaster cast, which was extremely limiting but completely necessary.
The surgery wasn't without its complications, however, and despite staples creating a neat scar, the surgeon had taken bone from my hip to help fuse the site. Having used stitches in this area, they were not all removed correctly and months of painful infection followed, with my skin having to be burned daily with a mercury stick. Despite the pain, the insertion of the rod was a great success and within twelve months I was fighting fit. Sadly, the pins broke five years later and had to be removed, although I was relatively pain free and no further surgery was advised.