Special Sarah

Lew Goddard

© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard

Photo by Marjorie Bertrand on Unsplash
                     Photo by Marjorie Bertrand on Unsplash

Thirty-two years ago, we were expecting our second grandchild. There isn’t much in this world that is so spellbinding to grand parents than the birth of a grand child. She was the first child our older daughter bore. She is Sarah.

However, through the wonder of the medical field and the attendant technology we learned that the child, a girl, had a condition known as Hydrocephalus. Ironically, we did have first hand information about this and we were appalled. My spouse’s niece was inflicted with this brain malfunction and like other such debilitating deformations it is hereditary. In the niece’s sad situation, she was bedridden or placed in a custom-made chair to support her head. All other bodily functions were virtually normal.

Hydocephalus is simply described as a condition of imbalance associated with brain and body drainage.

Very fortunately a medical device had been developed some years earlier in United States by a Doctor whose son was born with Hydrocephalus.

We heartily thanked that Doctor knowing that our grandchild would be a recipient of said device, a shunt that would enable the brain to drain in an almost natural manner.

Five hours after Sarah was born, she underwent the surgery of installing the shunt. It extended and still extends from near the base of her brain under the skin by her neck and into the rib cage and ultimately drains into her small intestine.

It certainly opened our eyes to the extensive medical help available in our world. Beyond that we knew we would inherit a child that we could bless with our love and hopefully she will lead a normal life.

We barely had time to sigh before being advised that Sarah also had Spina Bifida. This condition is also a hereditary gene. It is simply described as a neural tube defect usually developing early in the fetal development stages. In Sarah’s case the lesion was located high between her shoulder blades and outside the neural tube protection along with open nerves and vessels. Within hours of birth she sustained one of many surgeries in attempts to cure the problem.

Despite what we were told and the prognosis offered by medical experts Sarah proved them all wrong. While she has some physical difficulty walking because her ankles did not fully develop the musculature that is considered normal. Sarah can walk without mechanical help. Shoes have to be carefully fitted so that she has ankle support but she can walk considerable distances.Her mental capacity is somewhat impacted but she has the usual common sense you expect from any adult. Understanding certain situations causes her some apprehension but it is minor.

She resides in a single detached house, pays the rent and utilities and is capable of most of the maintenance. The government provides her with income.

The most heart-rending episode was at the age of about three when she had just learned to walk. During this time family helped transport her to and from Day Care. It was my turn to be chauffeur and I carried her to the street and set her down on her feet.

She looked up at me with her big eyes and said, “Let’s race Grandpa.”

I saw her win that race through my tears.

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