Handicapped, or disabled?

Handicapped, disabled, differently-abled, physically challenged.  What a range of opinions there are about those terms. Losing a leg, as one of my friends did in an auto accident, means he is legally disabled, definitely handicapped.  He changed from a physical profession to a desk career.  So, he’s definitely handicapped, and by legal definition, he’s disabled.  It’s difficult to do even [...]

August 29th, 2018|

I can or I can’t

Maybe having polio also caused me to in some ways be more compassionate, yet in some ways more objective or maybe even less forgiving about what people say they cannot do.  I have a harder time believing that statement, “I can’t do it, I could never do it,” having found that I could do far more than I ever thought [...]

August 9th, 2018|

A young girl’s pain

There was a day in sixth grade when my polio leg ached so much that I could not stand, and it was terrifying for me.  This was the first time I had had pain in that leg since the initial onset ten years before.  I began to cry, right in class; my teacher, Mrs. Hyatt, asked me what was wrong [...]

August 2nd, 2018|

Point your toe straight

My mother always told me “Point your toe straight” because I tended to throw my polio foot out to the side.  This unconscious gait, along with my rolled-in ankle prior to the operation I had at age thirteen, was creating a bad habit for my leg, training it to operate in a way, with the knee also slightly pointed outward, [...]

July 22nd, 2018|

Who’s (not) staring at me?

Around age ten to twelve, I was visiting my older sister, whom I looked up to as a fascinating role model auntie.  (Different dad; she was nearly nineteen when I was born.)  I was allowed to take the three-hour Greyhound Bus ride to San Francisco and stay with her and her family.  We were shopping one day, in the very [...]

July 5th, 2018|

How does it look when I walk?

Certainly all of my life, at least from grammar school through today, I have had moments when I turned to see a child trying to imitate my walk.  It was always disconcerting, and of late, just a little surprising, as when you realize toilet paper is stuck to your shoe and trailing along behind.  When I matured, I could finally [...]

June 25th, 2018|

Who Is that Poster Girl?

One of the first misconceptions that confronted me as a handicapped child was that people -- children, adults, everyone – would often say, “I saw your picture on the March of Dimes poster!!”  The March of Dimes was a campaign initiated to pay for polio vaccinations and patient care.  Most of the patients were small children, who were the most [...]

June 8th, 2018|

Learning to Walk Again (for the Third Time!)

After the surgery to partially correct my weak, paralyzed polio ankle when I was thirteen, it was back to school, on crutches.  Slippery floors, scary moments, and a good angora sweater pilling under the arms.  Aching hands, shoulders and armpit muscles.  Armpit rash on my sensitive skin, newly de-fuzzed with Nair depilatory – Mother was nearly hairless and shaved nothing, [...]

May 21st, 2018|