I have fallen a lot in my life.
Luckily, I can say it was never brought on by alcohol though I probably would not remember if it was. As a young boy of four I ran on high octane. Seriously. My memory is gray these days but I can still remember the excitement I felt after the surgery. Oh, the surgery……..
I was born a severe club foot in both legs and extremely knock- kneed. It was, I am told, to a degree, that walking was difficult and running absolutely impossible.” Its o.k. son, don’t wander off now. and stay close” my mother would say whenever in public. Try explaining that to a four year old.
I credit my mother for many things. She worked her entire life in factories. First for G.E. then Admiral, packing televisions and finally a hardware factory for thirty years where she ended up driving a forklift on the loading dock. When she left she was making $9.34. I give her credit because she worked hard. I never heard her complain. Never felt anything less than love from her arms or affection in her voice. She raised my brothers and I on that meager income and still, for whatever reason, felt it important enough to seek medical help for my condition rather than take the easy way out and let me adapt to my physical shortcomings. So at the age of four I found myself in Rockford Memorial Hospital being wheeled down a long, cold corridor with my mother beside me, headed for surgery.
In medical terms it was described as a “Tibial Radial Osteotomy in the lower legs with a bi-lateral wedge in both ankles (Fusion). Basically both legs were cut open then the tibia broke diagonally then rotated outwards which would pull my knees straight. Then a small piece of bone (wedge) was put in the outer side of the ankle after some cartilage was removed thus creating a fusion after it healed.
Pros: I could now walk and run normally. More specifically I discovered when as I got older, I would NEVER sprain an ankle!
Cons: Braces and corrective shoes post-surgery. Scars. BIG ones and unfortunately I would never be fast.
I remember many times pulling myself to the dinner table. Scooting across the floor with only my arms. I remember the day the casts were removed and how I thought the “saw” would not only cut the cast off but also my legs. I remember being handed little slippers and being told I may not be able to stand initially. Yeah sure. I had places to go and friends to play with and I was just like them now, or so I thought. The slippers slid on my tiny feet, the doctor placed me on the floor and to my dismay, my legs buckled and I crumbled to the floor like a wet, rag doll.
That would be the first of many falls.
The first obstacle.