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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 29

All Things Good and Beautiful

Rodney and I before had laughed over the chit-chat the ladies were having back and forth over Henry when I formerly had told him about the goings on around the man.

"Did you find a partner for the dance?" He asked me this morning as he was getting ready for work.

"Well yes," I answered. "You will never guess with whom I tripped the light fantastic."

"No, who was it?" Rodney was curious.

"Henry!" I laughed.

"What? You mean the infamous Henry?" Rod was interested.

"Yes, and would you believe he is nothing like he has been painted. His manners, gentlemanly ways and respectful treatment of me was nice. I enjoyed visiting with him and he was anxious to meet you, too. You two have something in common. He is an electronics engineer. I told him where you work and he may drop in on you."

"Well, okay." Rodney seemed pleased with the prospect.

All good things always seem to be short lived and again suddenly we were in a state of a decidedly unhappy situation with Rhondaís therapy.

Again I was like that dog circling around and around on a bed trying to find the most comfortable place to rest. Rhonda had suddenly become dissatisfied with wearing her braces.

Every morning it was a battle to get her to put them on her legs. She would literally fight to keep from being laced up into the heavy steel bars. The velcro straps with her one able hand she grabbed and jerk, jerk and jerked again until they were undone. By the time the struggle was over and she was off and gone on the bus I was exhausted. This went on until I decided it was time to go to the school, Carroll, she attended so I could understand why she had suddenly become so difficult and was fighting against the braces.

"I heard you drive up, Mrs. Flood." Rhonda and one other child, who was blind, were in the therapy room.

"Now just how did you know?" I was puzzled.

"You drive a Ford," the little girl told me.

"Okay," I laughed. This child was undaunted in her quest to live. She was a beautiful little girl with long dark curling hair. Her mother was a happy person in spite of the crushing weight of her little oneís disability.

The therapist wasnít all too friendly as I tried to engage her in conversation. Finally she was honest with me, "She doesnít want to wear her braces," the woman spoke outright.

I had no answer. I better than she knew Rhonda did not want to wear the braces. Every time I tried to put the braces on her it was the same old battle. Rhonda was sick and tired of the pain, discomfort, and hopelessness of them ever working for her.

"Can you see how these braces are throwing her whole body out of a natural alignment. The heavy belt around her lower back is causing her torso to bend back and that causes her to have to pull her head and neck forward. As a result she is getting this tongue thrusting. The hard won speech therapy is just being thrown out the window. She canít talk with her mouth all filled with her tongue being pushed forward." I kept trying to find someone who could help me with this dilemma.

Everyone who might have advised me didnít seem to know how to answer my questions. In the meantime, Rhonda was still fighting me daily. She absolutely refused to put the braces on her legs even though I would take them off the minute she came in off the bus.

"Oh my! Just look these cruel things have rubbed a blister on your hip." I was so upset when I called the doctor I was practically crying.

You are going to have blisters or sores. It isnít that much of a problem." He told me.

"No, it isnít a problem for him," I thought. Heís not the one with pain.

I hung up the phone and was determined to do some research on what? I didnít know where to go. As I spoke to a kind librarian she was all too ready to find me whatever I wanted. She especially recommended the book called "Karen." It was a story about a mother who had fought with the braces for years only to trash the whole effort. The author said it was such a joy to see her daughter pleasantly going about her life from the ease of her wheelchair and not to have to be struggling along on tortuous heavy, steel braces.

At the same time Readers Digest came out with an article on the work of Doman and Delacatto. It was a different kind of therapy and they claimed it was working much better than anything else for paralysis.

Probably, since the doctors believed in those braces, I would have been still with them other than I couldnít stand the thought of torture in the way of the sores and then there was all the time put into speech therapy that was simply being lost.

Again, I walked away from a potentially productive lifestyle, or maybe not. To follow my heart and desire to see we did all we could for our disabled daughter was my single and only goal. Nothing wily of destructive, of insidious little devilish schemes stood in my way in regards to that.

"You donít miss having a household helper in your home?" A friend asked me. She knew I had given up our Dallas easy life of all things good and beautiful.

My mind went to the beloved girl, Ruby, who worked hard for me and was so dedicated to our familyís well being but, as in all things, unlike Lotís wife, I never looked back.

"We are the adults with the charge of our children put upon us. Not the sweet, comfortable life style of Dallas or anything else will keep us from that duty.

Little did I know there were times I wondered if I would be able to live up to the words I so glibly spoke.

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