Roland Dürre
Monday June 6th, 2016

My Morbus Scheuermann

The Rich and the Poor. How Life Treats You.

Äskulapstab, gemeinfrei

Aesculapian Staff. free for all

I mentioned it a short time ago, so maybe now I should write a little more about it: my Morbus Scheuermann.

Disagreeable experiences

I made with general practitioners and specialists.
When I was a child and an adolescent, my experiences with doctors were mostly (well: always) negative. First there was our general practitioner. Whenever I had to see him, I had to spend a long time sitting in the waiting room. The short time with the doctor was never really conducive. Except that you got a recipe and a few pills.

The “house visits” that occasionally took place if you had a high fever also reminded me more of being visited by the pastor than by a man of medicine. And they, too, only resulted in a recipe for the medicine you would have to take. And the cold or whatever it was you suffered from did not go away any faster for it. In fact, the “household remedies” were always much more help, at least when it came to no longer having to suffer under the symptoms.

ENT doctors, too, want to live – and they want to live well

My experiences with the experts – also known as medical specialists – were by no means any more agreeable. One of my worst experiences was when, at the age of almost ten, my tonsils were removed during the most beautiful spring although nothing was wrong with me at all. The motivation both on the side of my parents and the doctor was that I was going to grammar school in the autumn and they wanted me to be more robust than I had been during my primary school days.

Ever since then, I have suffered from chronic problems in the throat. I already wrote about how I suffered under this ENT doctor in this article.

The cast given me by the orthopaedic specialist

The older you get, the more taboos you break. Today, I will out myself by telling you one of the things I never talked about because I found it embarrassing. For a few years, I had to spend every single night in a corset of plaster. It was probably during and until shortly after puberty.

The reason was my Morbus Scheuermann, along with an orthopaedic specialist who wanted to become even richer. Once, during one of the many serial examinations (also with x-ray) that, in the 1950ies and 1960ies every growing person had to subject himself to (why?), a resourceful medical practitioner found out (rather by chance) that my spine was not totally straight. Instead of running properly, it had a slight bend to the side, a little like the letter “S” curving to the left and to the right. Well, it was the famous illness as diagnosed by Mister Scheuermann.

So what is normal?

I myself did not notice anything about it, neither did I feel handicapped. Even then, it seemed a little absurd to me that everything had to be straight and symmetrical about the human body. Consequently, I never regarded the Morbus Scheuermann as an illness. To me, it was more like an anomaly. But even then, I had the suspicion that a totally straight spine is an anomaly. Perhaps such a thing as a straight spine does not exist. All you have to do is increase the measuring precision.

By the judgment of my parents, I often had a bad posture and they thought my body was never upright enough. However, for my parents, an upright (physical) posture was extremely important. “Boy, you must not stand around so sloppily”, or “lift your chin and show your chest” – this it what I had to listen to all the time. Even today, I remember it very well, and I am truly fed up with all these permanent admonishments.

Consequently, the Morbus Scheuermann was something that fit perfectly for explaining it in the eyes of my parents. And we had to go and see the orthopaedic specialists.

Today, I think an “upright spine” is far more important than a straight one. And an “upright attitude” is more important than how you carry your body. But, as opposed to the slightly crooked spine, the “not exactly upright” one is not an illness. Consequently, there is no therapy for gaining an upright spine and attitude …

As soon as you discover an illness, you need to cure it

So as soon as you have discovered an “illness” you have to “cure” it, although I do not know why. They measured my body – and in particular my spine – and then designed a cast in the size of my torso. At its sides, it had inserts. You can imagine them like small building blocks. These blocks pressed the body into an “S-“ shape that ran contrary to the wrong “S”. A long time later, I found them in the basement and had mixed feelings when throwing them away.

From then on, I had to squeeze my torso into this cast from neck to hips and sleep in this position. Since I was rather in control and at the time still rather obedient, this is exactly what I did. After all, in those days I was still ready to listen to reason. But – naturally?! – it helped nothing. My spine is still bent the wrong way today…

Perhaps it will help to make me “unfit for military service”

When I was 18 and had to go to the military medical examination, I thought that my Morbus Scheuermann might help me to avoid military service for medical reasons. Would that not have been a fair trade for my anomaly? But that hope, too, ended in disappointment.

Because the determining report for the second examination I had demanded was written in the hospital of the famous professor Guiliano (or some such). He was a very famous orthopaedic specialist and had his own hospital in Göggingen. Which means he was even richer than the other orthopaedic specialists. My memory of his name is somewhat vague, which means it might be wrong. In his hospital, you got your appointment together with thousands of other patients, so the reports were written as a collection.

The doors were opened and closed

So there I sat on a long bench in the hospital of the famous professor. On the same bench, waiting to be called before and after me, sat comrades in arms. They, too, had a Morbus Scheuermann and they, too, did not want to serve in the army. There were two doors. Whenever one person exited, the next was permitted to enter.

It stroke me that those of my comrades in arms whose term it was before mine exited from the left-side door with much happier faces than those who exited from the right-side door. However, when I realized what that meant, it was already too late.

The right door opened and I was called. And a nice young doctor told me that a Morbus Scheuermann, especially such an unobtrusive one as I had it, was no reason not to do your military service. After all, everything else about my body was quite fine. He said he was sorry, but I was fit to serve. And then, my face, too, no longer looked happy.

John can do it and Little John has to pay the price

Later, I heard that the boss of the hospital sat behind the left door. The doctor working behind the right door was his assistant. And since the boss was an active pacifist, he wrote in his report that all the young men he had examined were unfit to serve. In order to arrive at the right quota, his assistant had to write that all the young men he examined were fit to serve. Well, this was a typical example fofwhat it meant to be an assistant and also a good example for job-sharing. …

Consequently, my Morbus Scheuermann and my year in the cast were no help at all. Since I was also extremely clumsy when it came to conscientious objection, I had to serve in the army. And I served for 18 months – which, however, I considered more like a mixture between forced service and forced labour.

Of course, the assistant doctor was absolutely correct. A Morbus Scheuermann will not make a difference during a battle. And when there is war, you probably have no time to even think of it. Your ability to yell extremely loudly and make persons march up and down the road is not at all restricted by it. You can also easily teach the battalion and instruct freshmen how to use their weapons. And when it gets serious, I am sure it will not be a hindrance when you shoot other persons who have straight or crooked spines.

It is now more than fifty years …

Four persons wearing white shirts influenced me most when I was young. One of them was a general practitioner who liked prescribing expensive medicine and handing me on to experts. The ENT doctor performed the operation and stole my tonsils. The orthopaedic specialist is responsible for me having to spend many nights in a cast. The only one who actually sometimes took away great pain was the dentist.

In my perception, all these four were the richest persons I knew in the big city. They all oozed money, drove big cars and lived in great mansions. At the walls of their houses, you saw pictures showing foreign countries they had brought home from travelling those countries. That was something absolutely unattainable for me and my parents.

How life plays out

In my horizon, the only persons who were even richer than the doctors was the family who owned the meat processing company in Thannhausen where my two aunts worked. Said aunts had both not been trained in any profession, because they had been brought up to take over their father’s restaurant and farm. Except that destiny played havoc with their plans.

Because my mother’s family was expulsed from “their paradise” in the Sudetenland. As opposed to her sisters, my mother had had to leave her small paradise earlier, because there was no heritage left for her. Instead, she had to go to boarding school in the city and study at the university.

This is how she could work as a teacher after the expulsion and have a far better life than her two sisters. Strangely, though, she never understood how lucky she had been. As long as she lived, she always complained about how she had suffered under being sent away from home as a young girl.…

Money is not all in life

As I saw it, the Zimmermann family of Thannhausen deserved its wealth. After all, they produced delicious sausages and meat, all of which I rather liked. Their products were driven to Dinkelscherben in short freight trains and then made their way into the entire world. It was an excellent example for our economic miracle
I found all of this rather attractive. But what impressed me even more was that the meat producers had their own airplane and, behind the villa and the company building, their own tarmac.
😉 Well, I guess it was the business plane.
Those were the days.

Regardless of the doctors having seemed such rich people to me, I never wanted to be a doctor. The job looked just too amoral to me. It sounded slightly better to be an entrepreneur. Eventually, however, it was more or less by accident that I became an entrepreneur.
Such is life.

(Translated by EG)

2 Kommentare zu “My Morbus Scheuermann”

  1. oli (Monday June 6th, 2016)

    In der Stadt gab’s damals schon Internet ;-)?

    “.. und sie stattdessen in die Stadt in ein Internet gehen und studieren musste.”

  2. rd (Monday June 6th, 2016)

    Sollte Internat heißen, schon korrigiert, Danke für den Hinweis.

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