I Can Dance, Part II

5 Jul

20130705_205746

 

I have finally finished the Limberjack Cow that I started making, as I mentioned at the end of my June 9th post, “I Can Dance!” She was truly a challenge, too. I felt like an orthopedic surgeon, with all the issues I faced making her. Legs fell off, knees got stuck, and she also suffered a broken knee from vigorous dancing. She had a genetic disorder, though…there was a weird little knot or something in part of the wood of that particular area of one of her lower legs. I repaired it, with wood glue, CA glue and a paper splint. So far, so good. Too bad repairs on human knees aren’t that easy! Medacow paid for it…ha!

I’ve been inspired to name her “Dolly” because of her signature song, “Buffalo Gals,” an American folk song that is over 100 years old!

I danced with a dolly with a hole in her stocking, and her feet kept a-rocking and her knees kept a-knocking

Oh I danced with a dolly with a hole in her stocking and we danced by the light of the moon.

So, Dolly the Limberjack Cow, now shares the spotlight with Charlie (short for Charlotte) the Limberjack Chicken and Corky the Limberjack Dog. She’s a little imperfect and though her maker (me) intended for her to be perfect, the materials used were imperfect, so, I got a cow with a few physical challenges. Her dancing is not very good, either. We have a strong connection, Dolly and I.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQldFJezVag

It brings to mind a quote that I saw someone share on Facebook last week.

Everything you do is based on choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period [sic]

First of all, I thought it was funny that the quote had “Period” at the end of it, but no period after the word “Period.” Yes, I am the grammar police.

Second, it sent me into a mini-rant. I’m small, so everything I do is mini-sized. Professorgrrl wisely told me that I take these kinds of posts and quotes way too seriously. She said that most people on FB don’t consider who is “in the room” when they make broad generalizations in their posts. In person, this person might have thought more carefully about what she was saying if she saw that there was a physically disabled person in the room, or a mentally challenged person in the room, i.e., people who had no choices in things they were born with that do influence everything they do, and every choice they make if they do have any choices at all. And had she said it with me actually in the room, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my mouth shut and would have probably said some things that I regret. But since she posted it on FB, I was able to contain myself and not make any comments. So far, anyway.

I am certainly not suggesting that most people have no choices in their lives. But the quote insinuates that we have many choices, and it’s up to us to make the right decision based on our array of choices. It’s a very America-centric view of decision-making. Here in the U.S.A. we have almost too many choices about many things. If you don’t believe me, go to WalMart to buy an apple or look up directions to anywhere on Google Maps. (I always get three routes to choose from.) However, I have been to countries where people were born into abject poverty and have no choices about most things, even survival. Are they “responsible for every decision and choice” they make? In a situation like that, making a decision or choice might be either an impossibility or a luxury. The same goes with mentally challenged people or many physically challenged or disabled people. If a person gets rheumatoid arthritis, did they choose to become disabled? Or collect disability payments IF they’re available? And the person with a genetic disorder, like XLH…what choices does that person or the parents of that child have? Pretty limited, if you ask me. In the real world, there are many people who do not have a wide selection of choices from which to make the “right” decision.

I had an interesting conversation with my father yesterday, as a matter of fact, regarding choices. As he has gotten older, he asks me more and more questions like, “How are your legs? How are your knees? How are your hips?” He’s worried about me, and I think worried about my future. Yesterday, he said he wondered if he and my mother had done enough for me when I was diagnosed as a one-year-old child. My mother has told me that the orthopedist told her to exercise my legs everyday and she did, she says. I wore leg braces when I was four and wore them for about a year. I took a high dosage of Vitamin D (50,000 I.U.’s daily) until puberty. My father, in our conversation yesterday, said he has often wondered if they could have chosen another doctor who possibly could have done more. He was even tearful when he said this to me. I reassured him that they did the best they could do, and from what I can tell, that was the standard treatment in the early 1960’s. That is definitely not the treatment today, because we now have discovered so much more about this genetic disorder. But in the early ’60’s, my parents had two choices…get the only treatment for me that was currently available or do nothing. And, to be good parents, they really had one and only one choice, and one doctor in town who even knew anything about this disorder. So, they chose to follow that doctor’s orders. In a lighter moment in the conversation, he said that it was so very hard for him to see me in those leg braces, but that I had quickly learned how “to fly” in those things and he was amazed by that. I had no choice as a child but to follow my parents’ orders…wear the braces. Eventually, I also chose to not let them inhibit me from running, too. (His statement reminded me of that moment in the move Forest Gump, where he runs right out of his leg braces…that was my favorite part of the whole movie!)

Yes, sometimes our choices are limited, and for some people, there might not even be the luxury of any choice. We are not all dealt the same hand, that’s for sure. Even in the XLH community, there are some who have very debilitating and extremely painful manifestations of the disorder and others, like me, who can still get around unaided and get by with less meds. My heart goes out to those whose choices are so limited or even non-existent and I think of them when I read those inane posts on FB. Sometimes I just want to say to those FB friends, “Look around and consider who else is in the room when you say that.” It may be a limberjack cow like me with a bad knee who can’t dance very well, or worse, someone who can’t dance at all.

So, who is “in my room”? I’d like to honor some people who have had few, if any, choices about their circumstances in life and who have made the best decisions for themselves that they could, given the limited choices they have had. A young friend of mine with cognitive disabilities comes to mind. She’s made some terrible decisions in her life and I am not sure she has been able to understand that she could have made different decisions that would have made her life easier. I do not hold her completely responsible for her bad decisions, either, given her inability to carefully think through things before she made these poor decisions. My dear uncle, whose body is racked with pain from arthritis and gout and several other medical problems, has shrunk from 5’10” down to 5’2″. Whenever the doctors or nurses have asked him, “Do you drink?” he has answered wryly, “Not yet.” The “choice” to suffer was not made by him, but passed down through his genetic code. His current choices are extremely limited–try to live or not. I would not judge him for whatever decision he made regarding his quality of life. He certainly didn’t ask for this circumstance. There are other people “in my room.” I honor and admire and respect them for doing the best they could with their lot in life and the limited choices they have had. I certainly honor both my parents for making the only choice available to them in regards to my treatment. There was only one decision to make–to be a good parent. No other choices were possible for good, loving parents. And, as it turned out, administering 50,000 I.U.’s of Vitamin D a day until puberty was NOT the correct treatment and some have even suggested it was a really bad idea. But it was the early ’60’s and there were no other “standard” treatments at that time. Are my parents “responsible” for making that decision? I certainly don’t think so!

Who is in your room?

Copyright S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017

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2 Responses to “I Can Dance, Part II”

  1. drdeacondog July 5, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    This is my favorite entry. Excellent insights.

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