“First of all, Dad, this is not a we decision. I sincerely appreciate your bringing me here, but I’m not
“You don’t understand,” persisted the doctor, “if that bone shifts even the slightest bit, you could be
paralyzed for life!”
“Thanks, Doctor, but I’ve already been told that’s not going to happen. I have things I need to do. That’s all.”
I took my wife’s hand, then looked back at the doctor and asked, “Could you please give me a collar so I can
My response was not what my wife nor my parents wanted to hear. Unfortunately, they didn’t know what I
knew, so understanding was going to be hard for them. Yet I knew I was going to be all right, and that was good
enough for me. I signed the release forms and waited while the nurse removed the plastic wrapping from the
collar and placed it around my neck.
“Doctor, thank you so much for your help. Please don’t think I’m being disrespectful, but this is something I
need to do,” I said, reaching out to shake his hand.
“I want to see you here in one week for X-rays! We can make certain there has been no shift in that C-5,” he
“I’ll be here,” I answered and thanked him again. Outside, I thanked my parents for their help.
“Just remember, if there’s anything you need, call me!” said my father.
“I will,” I promised.
I kissed them both good-bye and then joined my wife in the car for the ride home. We didn’t talk much
because she was still pretty upset over my unwillingness to stay in the hospital. I was hoping she would
understand better when I revealed the whole story, but sadly that was not the case.
It was exactly one week later when I arrived back at the hospital for my follow-up X-rays. I got there early in
the morning and was finished with my exam within an hour. My wife joined me in the doctor’s office for his
“How’s that neck feeling?” he asked.
“It feels fine,” I replied.
“I’m not happy you chose to leave,” he said, as he placed the X-ray films on the light screen behind him. He
looked over the films for several minutes, then picked up the phone and called his assistant into his office.
“Get me the CAT Scan we did a week ago on this patient.”
The woman appeared with the scan in a matter of moments. “Here you are, Doctor.”
He placed the scans on his desk and continued to move his head back and forth between the films and the
scan. He yelled to his assistant once again, “Are you sure this is the right scan?”
The assistant came to the door. “Yes, Doctor. They haven’t left this file since they were placed here the day
he left, on the eighth of this month.”
He dismissed her with the wave of his hand and continued to look over the films. “I don’t understand this,”
he began. My wife began to look worried. Expecting the worst, she clung to my hand and waited.
The doctor placed the X-rays over the light board on the wall. “Except for this small black line on the end of
this C-5 vertebra, there’s no evidence whatsoever that you even broke your neck.”
He pointed to the scan, then back to the X-ray.
“This makes no sense at all,” he said, shaking his head back and forth. “In all my years of practicing
medicine, I’ve never seen anything like it. You’re a very lucky man. Do you see here on the scan where the
black line goes completely across this C-5?” My wife and I both leaned forward, stared at the black line, and
nodded in confirmation.
“Now look at this X-ray,” he said, pointing to the area of the break. “There should be a white line indicating
the break, but there’s nothing. There is a fraction of a centimeter here,” he said, pointing, “at the very edge of
the bone. That’s the only evidence whatsoever there was a break at all! I don’t understand, but it appears you’re
completely healed, and I can’t even tell you how it happened!”
My wife turned to me as she began to realize that what I had revealed to her on the drive home from the
hospital was the truth. There was no other explanation. She stared at me for the longest time without saying a
The doctor noticed her staring at me and asked, “Is there something you haven’t told me that I should know?
I haven’t got a clue what’s going on here.”