Sunday, December 25, 2011

My 1977 Christmas Story with Legg Perthes Disease

I'll start the previous winter, in Saginaw, Michigan. I awoke one winter morning to find that I was unable to walk. I had gone to bed the night before a happy young kid, with mischief on my mind and little else. Not sure why I was in agony, my Mom and Dad wrapped me up and took me to the doctor. He was unsure and I came home in a wheelchair. This was obviously, a big change for my parents and me.

As the answers eluded my mom, a native Clevelander, deciding to move back to South Euclid, with my Gram, was the right choice. She must have felt like Tom Cruise in Rainman explaining the word Autistic. "What hun he's artistic?" She figured the Cleveland Clinic could help me. Now, as an adult I can appreciate the gravity of this difficult choice for them, especially my Dad. He was a proud man who did everything in his power to provide us a good, stable, and loving home. I was very happy since my Gram was one of the best friends I have ever had in this world. She seemed to get me and my ummmm.... unconventional behavior. I was a smarty pants kid. I miss her very much.

My parents, made this huge sacrifice to try and get me better. The room they slept in had two twin beds. My Dad, in his wisdom, used some twine to tie both bed frames together. I thought that was so cool since the bed was huge. Now that you have the background I can tell the real story.

Christmas that year was filled with hope. For me hope I got some really cool gifts. For them, hoping I would be able to walk again. I vividly recall waking up at 2:00 AM. I was so excited to go downstairs and see if Santa had been there yet. I was offered instead sleeping in bed with them in this huge cool bed. I tucked in with them and fell right back to sleep. I remember being woken up in the morning. I had slept with such peace that night. When I got downstairs my Gram had made this huge breakfast, my Mom was in a good mood and Dad seemed to be at peace too.

It is surely worth mentioning that this must have had an impact on my sister. She had to make lots of adjustments for me. Thank You Beth! I love you. I cannot tell you what I got that morning under the tree. What I got around the tree was love and family. This image will be with me for the rest of my life. Thank you Mom, Dad, Gram, and Beth. I love you all so much.

Mom was right, The Cleveland Clinic did help me. They discovered I had Info on Legg Perthes Disease . I had to wear Forrest Gump type braces for a year. It was a hard time for me but it shaped me into the man I am today. I left the doctor on Christmas Eve two years later walking on my own. I walked into my Grampa's to the shock of everyone there. Santa did give my parents their wish in his own time.

This year many people might not be able to give the gift they wanted, but they can give memories of family and home that will surely impact their loved ones for decades to come. Merry Christmas everyone.

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