Perfect Memory

When Mya was a little over a year old, her club foot came back. There are many mysteries associated with club foot and recurrence is one of them. Her foot had been deemed “fixed” a few months prior but when she started walking her club foot returned. The foot turned in, the muscles grew tight, yearning to revert to their state at birth. We had been told of the possibility of it returning and almost expected it, like addicts expecting a relapse, dreading it but understanding it is a horrible part of the diagnosis. Our doctor recommended casting, returning to a full leg plaster cast to be worn for several weeks then removed at which point the foot would be stretched again and another cast put on. Since Mya was no longer an infant it was recommended she be given a sedative so that she wouldn’t protest the casting. We arrived early in the morning and Mya drank her medicine. The sedative did not put her to sleep but kept her awake yet complacent. She was goofy, saying silly things, laughing. The doctors were able to stretch her foot and put the cast on with no complications. Mya fell asleep on the car ride home. As we arrived home  I lifted Mya out of her car seat and carried her inside. She slowly awoke and rested her head on my shoulder. I put her down to grab her a snack, at which point Mya tried to walk. The cast put her leg in a bending position and she couldn’t walk. She started screaming, uncontrollably. I picked her up and held her. She bit my arm, started hitting me in the face, tears streaming down her cheeks. There was nothing I could do to console her. I finally put her in her stroller and started walking around the neighbourhood. Eventually she fell asleep. I walked around till dusk, fearing if I stopped she would wake up and start screaming again. I remember walking, and crying, thinking this will break my child. All this pain, she will forever be scarred. My sweet girl will be angry for the unfairness for the rest of her life. People told me she would never remember, but at the time, I didn’t believe them. Years later, although the memory still hurts, I feel much differently about that day. Mya had to be given that medication again and experienced the same reaction, so I discovered her behaviour was actually a paradoxical reaction. A reverse reaction to a sedative that many children experience, actually common in child with Down Syndrome. Mya did learn to walk in her full leg cast, and could move faster than I could chase after her. And my most recent revelation occurred just the other day. Mya’s school has a show and share and this month’s theme is the human body. She asked if she could bring one of her old braces. As I was gathering them out of our basement, I realized I hadn’t fully explained club foot to Mya, she knows she has a club foot but the details have been kept from her, not on purpose, but I never sat down and explained things, thinking she was too young or fearing what her mind would remember. I sat Mya down in our playroom and I showed her the old braces. Tiny braces to fit a baby, a large brace when her knee needed to be bent, an old cast she had kicked off when she was 3 months old. I told her about the casting and when her Achilles’ tendon was cut, and when they operated on her foot right before her second birthday. To my amazement, Mya didn’t remember a thing. Her face looked as though I were reading her a story with little association to her. I told her how brave she is, how her foot helps her run really fast, and I sighed a deep sigh of relief. She didn’t remember a thing. Our prayers were answered. All of those horrible moments, in the beginning of Mya’s life, would merely be stories for her, a scar on her ankle but not in her heart. I suppose time can heal wounds and the resilience of children is stronger than I ever imagined. Her teacher said Mya’s show and share was wonderful. She said Mya explained the braces perfectly and all of the children thought it was amazing. I completely agree. 


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2 Responses to Perfect Memory

  1. Vicki Bartholow says:

    Are children not miraculously resilient? Mya certainly is, and a lot of the credit goes to her very wise mother. 🙂

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