Sunday, November 16, 2008


Mornings can be tough. 
There are times when this is the nicest, most peaceful part of the day. I take the dogs out, eat some breakfast, and sip coffee while perusing current events (as evidenced by my earlier post.) Meanwhile, the ladies sleep, the sun shines in the office and Miles Davis quietly commands the room. Sounds nice, right? Are you with me? I think you are. However, it's not always right out of the Folgers commercial. 
Today would be one of those days. Ordinarily I might fret about going to the gym or getting a household project done. I mean, there's always something. Usually that something is quite manageable and can be whisked away in a matter of seconds as I hear my dad in the back of my head scoffing about what I deem important. 
But as we sit 20 days away from Emily's next orthopedist appointment, I cannot help but be consumed by the unknown. Last time we checked in with Dr. DeLuca, he was optimistic and encouraging with even a worst-case scenario that we could all live with. We didn't want to live with it, but we could. 
Right now, I bounce back and forth between playful confidence and gloomy doubt. I want to believe her leg will grow and through only brief surgical interventions, she will come out of this as a shining example of the miracles of faith and modern science. She will never know the pain or embarrassment that those with PFFD once did. It will be something we all look back on and wonder what we were so afraid of. 
That's one scenario. 
Unfortunately, I tend to spend most of my time on the other side. I don't want to. It just happens. I cannot escape the image of her trudging into the house and sadly asking why she can't keep up with the other kids. I worry about my beautiful daughter being shunned by some clique who can't think of a better reason than her limp or her prosthesis. I once had someone tell me, "Just don't think about it." Good one! I'll give that a shot. 
Then there are stories like that of Sarah Reinertsen (this is her website.) Sarah was born with PFFD and had her leg amputated above the knee at age seven. Nobody would have faulted her for shutting down and becoming a bitter woman, shaking her fist at life for cursing her with just one good leg. Instead, she trained her ass off and ran the Ironman Triathalon. And finished it. 
It's not an islolated story. ESPN the magazine published this piece on the future of prosthetics in sports. The last line of the story is "Shed a tear for the "disabled" today. Tomorrow they might pity you." Well then. 
Where does that leave me? Probably in the same spot I was when I sat down to write this. Conflicted. But hopeful that she'll be stronger than me. Hopeful that she'll see this as a challenge. And that she'll want to prove herself, pehaps by running the Ironman. As a supportive father, I would be there for my little girl. 
Have I mentioned it's in Hawaii?


AS said...

I know how trite this is but about 15 years down the'll be saying: "Oh, yeah, I was concerned about that, I remember. But now it's this kid with long hair and football cletes and Ems says she KNOWS she loves him!" Oh, Emily, you and Daddy are gonna have so much fun! Thank God he has no hair to rip out!! Meantime...we are all there with you! Love, AS

Smush said...

I Love you.
- Your Loving Wife