Surgeries & Shoes
Last time, I talked about how I beat the odds by being born. Today, I want to share a little bit about my experience growing up – and today, I want to talk a little bit about my (many) experiences with doctors.
Every one of my extremity problems was addressed immediately by medical doctors. I had multiple castings, braces, and surgeries on my hands and foot. I had a skin graft taken from my left hip, so the doctors could separate my webbed hand into individual fingers. (When I say I had the best hand surgeon in the world, I did. This guy was President Clinton's on-call hand surgeon in the 90's.)
I wore white, leather orthotic shoes on my feet 24/7. At night, the shoes screwed into a metal bar to correct my right foot from twisting inward. I regularly shredded my bed sheets from the pain of being attached to that bar. When my parents would read bedtime stories, my brother would be jumping on and off the bed playing; I sat there, dangling my Forrest Gump braces off the edge of the bed. I was 2 1/2 when I learned how to walk.
I had 2 major foot operations that required hospital stays at ages 5 and 7. I spent so much time in leg casts, I remember thinking that I had upgraded to first-class casts when I finally got to pick my cast color. Goodbye business-class white plaster, hello first-class bright pink leg coming through!
Later, I upgraded again. This time, I went from a cast that kept my leg completely immobile at a 90-degree angle, to a walking cast. I could get around without using a walker all the time! I got a sandal that would fit over my cast to help me walk. I was so excited that I had some independence, I thought I'd won the clubfoot lottery. I vividly remember my first pair of shoes that came from a store and weren't prescribed by a physician. They were pink and white LA Gear sneakers, and it was the first time I remember feeling like a kid instead of a patient.
During this same time, I was also at school and in the world of “kids” – so next week, I want to talk about what that was like, and my growing interest in superheroes.