Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Brace

A lot of people, when they're trying for a baby, hope for a perfect, healthy little bundle of joy. As a parent-to-be, I get that, I really do.

As a person born with birth defects, I practically hurt myself trying not to snicker and roll my eyes at people who talk about wanting a perfect, healthy baby. Because you don't always get that. And that's OK.

One of my ankles was rotated inwards, so when I started to learn to walk, I kept tripping over myself. My mother had to go to several doctors until she found one (an orthopedist*) that didn't insist I'd grow out of it.

So the orthopedist gave me a brace that would force my ankle to rotate properly. As you can see, it was 2 circa 1971 baby shoes screwed to a piece of wood. Comfy, no?

I was supposed to wear it as I slept. Only I wasn't having any of it. My parents would put me to bed and then hear, rattle, rattle, rattle, BANG, as I bumped into the sides of my crib while untying the shoelaces and throwing the thing onto the floor.

They tried tying the laces behind my ankles. I still untied them. I couldn't walk, and probably couldn't talk all that much, but goshdarnit, I had the manual dexterity to undo any double-knot/double-bow combo they threw at me.

Finally, my mother put the brace on me during the day and didn't turn her back on me for one second, lest I start taking the damn thing off. There exists only one photo of me from that time that I've never even seen. Because no one could stop watching me long enough to get the camera.

My poor mother wanted a perfect, healthy baby and instead she got a slightly bent child with the determination of Baby Stewie. People make plans, and God laughs his ass off.

(*If your insurance allows, go straight to a specialist when you can. A few years ago, I fell in the street, exacerbating a knee injury I got when I was 12. It was very painful. My primary care doctor told me that all women my age have bad knees and I needed to lose some weight. The orthopedist I went to after that sent me for an x-ray to make sure nothing was broken and as soon as he felt my knees, said with loads of sympathy, "Walking on stairs must be killing you." After 2 rounds of physical therapy, I still have bursitis in both knees, so that first doctor needs to go fuck himself.)

1 comment:

  1. I had to wear the brace, too, and like you there exists only one photo of me wearing it...and of course I'm bawling like the baby I was! I remember always having knee issues in elementary school. Boy I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and hear what was told to my parents about my condition. They don't seem to know much (what else is new?)

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