Alice in Wonderland ~ Scoliosis

Alice walked through the small wooden double doors into what appeared a dark and gloomy forest. The floor was littered with crisp leaves and the moonlight strolling through was dim. Afraid and unsure of whether to continue the quest, she turned around but the door behind her had vanished. In its place, she was surrounded by a dying forest. As she started to make her way through the quiet and lifeless forest she noticed a small clearing ahead barely visible between the slithering trees, suddenly she found herself hastening her speed eventually breaking into a run in anticipation of leaving this frightening forest.

As she edged closer and closer more of the clearing came into her view. When finally she was stood in plain sight of the most magnificent view of an enormous violet manor. But it too like its surroundings appeared like it was life-less; the vines had no green leaves or lilies to adorn it as it creeped its way round the house. The house appeared to Alice as if it was unused and left to rot in this forest. Whilst staring at the manor, there was a loud CRASH BANG from somewhere ahead. Alice, startled ran towards the back of the house to see what the cause for commotion was.

What Alice envisioned surprised her to the core, but intrigued her even more. It was a long table covered with a white cloth, adorned with cakes, biscuits and pots of teas all in different colours and sizes. However it was the people at this table that fascinated her even more than the oddity of a tea party in a gloomy forest. There was the white rabbit she had been chasing wearing his red waistcoat peering into a cup of tea with a spectacle perched on his nose. Opposite him was a dark grey hare whose head was adorned with a huge teapot like hat. Running over the table length were three little mice, which ran all the way the figure at the head of the table. Alice took a step closer and saw an eccentric looking man staring right back at her with an expressionless grimace plastered to his face and a cup of tea in his hand. He had pale white skin like snow and fiery red hair springing in various directions underneath a tall Victorian like purple hat. His eyes were greener than the purest emeralds. Alice unsure of what to do and whether to turn back stood still on the spot, like a frozen figurine. Before she knew it he spoke to her in a high pitched friendly voice, which had taken her aback:

“Hello, I am the Mad Hatter and this is my tea party! Who may I ask are you?”

“I…I am Alice. I was wondering if I could have some of the food? You see I’ve been travelling for awful long time without a bite to eat, and I am famished! Would you be able to share something?” Alice replied.

The Mad Hatter looked at Alice and beckoned her towards a seat towards the end of the table. Alice walked over and took a seat. The mice ran across the table carrying a mug filled with steaming hot tea between them. They came to halt in-front of Alice and smiled up at her. Alice took the tea and drank a sip, it was delicious and warmed her up. She looked at the Mad Hatter and gestured to the surrounding gloominess and asked:

“Mad Hatter, if you don’t mind me asking but what happened here?”

The Mad Hatter looked hesitant to answer but slowly began to talk in an electric manner. He sprang up from his seat and paced back and forth and that was when Alice noticed the slight curvature of his back that caused him to sway to one side and his shoulder to fall slightly lower than the other. His clothes hung from his body but he still appeared to Alice as rather beautiful.

“You see Alice….. when I was younger I was told I had a condition known as scoliosis. I did nothing about it because I didn’t know what it was, but The Red Queen found out that I had this condition and she wanted my land. On day she came to take it and succeeded and this is all that remains,” said the Mad Hatter.

Alice had heard of scoliosis as she loved to read all the medical books in her library back home.

“I know what that is Mad hatter. Scoliosis is where the curve of the spine is moved laterally so bent away from the midline. This could be due to the bones making up the spine known as the vertebral bodies rotating. However there are other causes associated with scoliosis such as problems from birth or conditions including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, neurofibromatosis, or Marfans syndrome. However it is more commonly seen in early childhood probably younger than five years or has a later occurrence. Additionally it is more common for girls but can occur in boys too. You are not alone Mad Hatter, just remember that.”

“Thanks Alice, it helps to know I am not the only one with this condition. And that there are people who too understand what I am going through but I don’t know where to go for help or what to do?” exclaimed the Mad Hatter, exasperated at his condition.

“Firstly Mad Hatter don’t worry, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum mentioned that there is the White Queen who may be able to help those who are in need of assistance. She is the sister of the Red Queen but is kind-hearted and possesses magical powers that will help heal those who are injured. She will definitely be able to inspect your back and examine you thoroughly and do an X-ray test to have a look at what is happening to the spine bones inside. However your scoliosis is mild, so you have nothing to worry about as she should be able to set your posture to one that will help you move easily and even,“ replied Alice.

Alice continued, “Normally most younger children don’t need anything as their spine will improve on its own as they grow. However if the curvature is progressing then a brace can be given to stop the spine curving any more. This may be useful for you Mad Hatter since yours is very mild. In certain cases surgery can be done to straighten the spine using metal devices and it all helps stop the back pain and allows you to be able to fully enjoy all your activities.”

The Mad Hatter looked really pleased that he finally had a solution in the form of the White Queen. He was a step closer to claiming his land back from the evil Queen of Hearts. He leaped towards Alice and for the first time in a long time he smiled a smile that’s tips touched his eyes for he was truly ecstatic and the prospect of returning life to the manor and its forest.

“Alice I must journey to meet the White Queen at once! Would you like to join me?”

Alice eager to see more of this world that she had landed herself into from a rabbit hole, nodded and couldn’t wait to be part of the Mad Hatter’s journey to fix his scoliosis and claim his land.

Shreena Patel

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