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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happiness within Fragility

I came across a website recently ( which reminded me what a darn lucky life I've had so far.. (personal stuff-ups aside).
I didn't want to use the word 'blessed' because I still have a few issues to sort out with the big guy and the rationale behind an apparent warped sense of humour this whole God thing has.

I was born with OI Osteo Genesis Imperfecta or a condition more commonly known as 'Brittle Bones.'
Now you might think poor bastard.. but you'd be dead wrong. It has its upsides.... being known as one of the original X Men is kinda cool .. having a mutated gene gives one a unique point of difference amongst a populace of uniformly normal individuals. Be wary, we are among you living and waiting for our day.

To my parents eternal credit, they picked up stix and emigrated from the UK to New Zealand thinking that the climate and lifestyle here would be better for my two fellow sisterly mutants. (I came along a bit later) ...They were right.

We led a fantastic life running around the countryside and beaches of provincial New Zealand in Dads assorted company cars ... (go the HQ holden).
In saying that we also developed an intimate relationship with the various A&E departments of the cities we frequented as invariably one of us would bust a leg or arm jumping off cliff faces or speeding down driveways on our home built go karts.
It always amazed me, the calm response my Mother maintained when one of her kids was lying in a heap with limbs at angles they weren't designed to be. "Go ring your Father and tell him he needs to come home" was normally the first thing uttered to the uninjured siblings whilst splints and slings were arranged accordingly for the injured party.
We were then bundled into Dads car for the bouncy and painful trip to Hospital to wait 6 hours for some bright spark Doctor to tell Mum, "I think he's broken a bone"
I always wondered if my Mum coined the phrase "No Shit!" as it was frequently used in front of Tauranga's medical professionals.

I once worked out that I've spent a solid 4 years of my 40 years in a plaster cast of some form and had so many X-rays my aura has a half-life of ten thousand years.

When you're born with something, you don't know any different so our fragility was just an accepted thing. A few rules were established for our benefit like no rugby, no ice skating, no horse riding and no skiing.
Over the years, my sisters and I have accomplished all of our banned activities with the exception of rugby... (Jo and Ange just didn't take to it) with the odd mishap here and there.

One such mishap of mine unfortunately happened whilst I was skiing with a friend of mine who was a cameraman for one of the National News Channels.
The nasty wee man filmed a nice little news segment of me arriving at the field hospital on a rescue sled after breaking my leg jumping off a 'small' ledge. Unfortunately it was the channel my parents watched every night and my attempt to have a 'quiet wee break' was undone.

Having OI takes on a completely different face when you have children as there is a 50% chance that any of your offspring will inherit the condition. When we had Ella, I knew fairly early that she had it.
She's made it to almost 4 years old now and only had 3 fractures, she knows she's got 'glass' bones as she calls it and it worries the life out of me when I see her climbing trees and running around with her brothers knowing at any time she could do what I did so many times.

As a father you naturally want to keep your kids safe from pain and suffering and its such a temptation to wrap them up in cotton wool and protect them from danger, but I'm reminded about what I learnt from the pain, the process and the people along the way.....

Make the most of every day, your situation is better than you think, and life MUST be enjoyed even if some of it is covered in plaster of paris.