Aug. 11, 2015


Near the end of my fourth grade year I began having pain and swelling in my joints. I began summer vacation at the doctor’s office where an examination and tests revealed that I had something called, Osgood Schlatter’s Disease. I has the appearance of rheumatoid arthritis, but it is not arthritis.

The bones in the knees in the growth plate are somehow affected and I was ordered to keep my legs straight for the entire summer. The doctor warned me he would put my legs in casts if I couldn’t obey his rules. It was excessively hot in the middle of the summer in Kansas. In those days, all we had was a swamp cooler in the dining room, quite a ways from my bedroom. I would obey.

This came on suddenly and because of the pain and swelling, I missed the last two weeks of fourth grade. Now, that was the first miracle because I was behind in my math book and now I had time at home to catch up.

The days wore on. I read one Nancy Drew after another. I painted my nails a pale blue one week and then the next week a deep ruby Revlon red. I splashed on Evening in Paris cologne and started a paint- by- numbers oil painting. Between the oil paint, the nail polish and the cologne it is a wonder I didn’t asphyxiate myself. After a few weeks of that, I was becoming a little bored with the same rituals.

The next thing that happened was a miracle. The people in the town who were friends and knew of my condition and convalescence banded together and brought me gifts in a Sunshine Box. I can still see the box in my memory. It was a 12” square box covered in a bright orange, white and golden colored paper filled with gifts for me to open one per day. There were games and books and thing that could be enjoyed in bed. If that wasn’t enough, they chipped in and bought me my own television. Our family didn’t have a TV and so everyone ended up in my room to watch the latest programs.

When the Fourth of July came, family and friends lifted my mattress out of the window with me on it like a queen and put me in the center of our backyard where we celebrated the fourth together with our fireworks.

Loving family and friends are such a miracle. I have so much for which to be grateful.

These days the protocol for my disease has changed and kids suffering from it are no longer consigned to stay in bed.

September arrived and the doctor gave me the green light to get up and go to school. I was thankful to be out of bed walking around and healthy once more.