I almost dodged cerebral palsy – almost. Hundreds of babies were to be delivered smoothly the day I was born. The odds were in my favour, but I rolled even. Well, I didn’t roll at all; my doctor rolled for me and messed up.
Yes, my disability is somebody’s fault. The doctor overslept that morning and I was left with an incompetent nurse or two (what were the odds?) I didn’t want to budge from the womb and the nurses decided to do a dance as they waited for the doctor to stroll in – he didn’t.
I know, all that positivity from last week is now being dashed against a wall. But I’m sure the doctor didn’t neglect me on purpose. He can’t be that evil, but I used to imagine he was. I’ve never seen his face but to me he was the ultimate Disney villain, chomping down scab-flakes for breakfast and boiling children’s dreams for lunch.
I died for two minutes that day. Two minutes! I’m a zombie. I’m a talking resurrection. Where are my special powers? I was such a dramatic baby, unafraid to rip at the hearts of my audience. An Oscar-worthy performance, no doubt, if Hollywood saw past its prejudice against babies. A lack of oxygen to my brain for an extended period of time meant that upon emerging out of the great mysterious abyss I found a new lifelong friend in cerebral palsy.
Some days I drift into philosophical meanderings. It hits me how close I was to having a ‘normal’ life. I was entering a superbly scientific world, where the hospital equipment came tested and such things as witch-burning events were dead in the past (or at least in the UK). If one man just did his job properly as he had countless times before and after, I would now be walking, skipping, maybe fighting, maybe doing handstands, who knows.
So close. But it could’ve been worse, I could’ve died. Well I did die but, you know. I could’ve died-died. So I am grateful that somebody at some point saved me. Besides, cerebral palsy isn’t that bad.
Every day people are born with or develop punishing, life-threatening illnesses and disabilities with only faulty genetics and bad luck to blame. Me, I have to live with little old cerebral palsy, a disability which sounds merciless but is really just a house cat wearing a tiger outfit. All of my issues so far have been annoying yet temporary, like a bottle fly thumping itself against an out-of-reach window. My version of cerebral palsy (there are many variations) represents the perfect medium between appreciating what you have and yearning for more. I can’t draw delicate pencil art but I can type and therefore write. I can’t blast a football into a net but I can drain my hours away on the iPad instead. I have the same life expectancy as the average person, a strong immune system and thus far have experienced minimal pain in relation to my disability.
Not bad. You see, the doctor didn’t ruin my life after all, he was simply a part of it.