Why Would I Look that Gift Horse in the Mouth?

I was ten months old when I was diagnosed. After my second round in traction for femur fractures, the doctor advised my parents to take me home but try not to get too attached.

A person with brittle bones disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, OI, can look like every other person or they can present as extremely small, distorted and very disabled. It really has no rhyme or reason. It is a collagen disorder and can appear in a family seemingly at random.

OI in all of its extreme presentations has a cluster of symptoms. Besides un-earned and unexplained fractures, a person with OI can have shallow, loose joints, blue scelera (whites of our eyes), spinal curvatures, compression fractures, sweating at rest, and a general blessing of being good with words. Okay, that last part is not on the list. We can also have short stature.

I had over ninety fractures before high school. I spent a lot of time in body casts, arm and leg casts and a few rounds of traction.

I began to walk when I was ten years old, I never got really good at it and when I insist on walking during family outings my darling husband and children spend much of their time waiting for me to catch up. This is where a wheelchair is the best option.

Recently, I found myself injury free. Nothing out of the ordinary background pain was bothering me. I started a new trend of going to the gym on every week-day. On the treadmill I enjoy the freedom of clinging to the hand grips, cane lying along the side, service dog, Havan, on a down stay below the deck and most of all the ground is even and I don’t limp.

I had done 38 week-days in a row and was becoming rather full of myself.

On the morning of my 39th day, two weeks ago Thursday, I shrugged off a feather blanket in just the right way to cause my humorous, (upper arm bone) to come out of its rather shallow home. I have only a few ligaments attached on that part of my arm. OI brings wear and tear. A pop and a mournful curse word and two weeks later I am feeling just about ready to start a new goal.

Breaks, sprains, pulls, they all come to people with OI at the silliest and most inconvenient times. Just when we start to feel all of the world is normal some slight unexplainable injury happens and we feel betrayed by our bodies.

Would I trade this in for anything? Would I like to be taller than three feet even? Would life have been easier without a visible disadvantage?

I can say yes to all of those questions, I have spent my lifetime working hard to achieve what an average person has. I’ve actually done most of it.

I’ve gone to college, have a husband, family, mortgage, dental bills, just like most but I do feel I could have done much much more with a more reliable body.

As disabilities go, though, I am okay with the inconvenience of OI, for me, that’s life. Life is what you do with your time, how you see the world, how you interact and react. Life is and why would I look that gift horse in the mouth?

For more information on Osteogenesis Imperfecta or Canine Companions for Independence click those links. 

Thanks for listening to me as I go a little stir crazy.  Here’s me hoping to get back to that gym.  Feel free to comment, see you next post.

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About Sally

Sally Franklin Christie has spent her life achieving incredibly average goals. Her challenges and choices have led to into the world of organizing for social change, civil rights and helping people navigate in a world filled with physical barriers and attitudes. She photographs and paints landscapes, when she isn’t at the computer researching, networking and writing. Special interests include Missing Children and Adults, Astronomy, Character Traits and Criminal Thinking.
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4 Responses to Why Would I Look that Gift Horse in the Mouth?

  1. Maria (from Writer's Chatroom) says:

    Sally, you seem way more upbeat than I can normally manage when my body decides to turn on me. My problems stem from extensive back surgeries to repair congenital scoliosis and not OI; however, since then, my body does commit mutiny on a regular basis. It’s frustrating to not be able to promise anybody anything on how I feel today, because tomorrow or the next day, it’ll be vastly different. Guess even after almost seven years, I still can’t come to terms with it.

    That’s why I am trying to settle down into writing these days. It’s the one thing I’m decent at and I can do when I’m able. For this and for meeting new and interesting friends thru writing groups, I am eternally grateful.

  2. Kara says:

    Excellent post. I, too, feel like OI has given me a number of gifts for which I’m extremely thankful. I understand it’s hard for people to believe and understand but it’s equally hard for me to imagine my life as rewarding in a different body. Love your site design too. Working on my own now…It’s slow going!

  3. Susan Krug says:

    Your Gift horse in the mouth is right on track. It was as if you took my experiences and thought out of my head. My favorite comment of yours in the story was

    “Breaks, sprains, pulls, they all come to people with OI at the silliest and most inconvenient times. Just when we start to feel all of the world is normal some slight unexplainable injury happens and we feel betrayed by our bodies.”

    You should submit that blog to OIF.org for their newletter breaktrhough, I think you have total captured adult life with OI.

    I’m just getting over a shoulder dislocation doing what I do every morning getting dress, heard the same pop and probably said the same curse words you did! dug out my old sling and put my crutches away and hopped into the wheelchair for the next 4 weeks. It is so true that just as you think your normal and on your way to getting stronger something silly happen to some joint or bone doing the most common thing that you have done hundreds of times. Its always 2 steps forward on step back with OI.

    Keep up the inspirational writing.

  4. Sally, I admire you. Sometimes I’m amazed at how you can stay so upbeat and happy most of the time.

    When I’m down, you always cheer me up. You don’t know how grateful I am to have met you. :)

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