Are you deformed? I am! Both inside and out. Now I’m going to tell you about it.
*warning* If you are the type of person who gets all squeamish when a blogger talks about things like “cysts” and “polyps” and “cataracts” and “feces-ridden bed sores” now would be a good time to bail, ’cause I’m about to get all kinds of real on you, minus the bed sores thing which, if you’re actually interested in, you can find here and here and here.
Let’s start discussion on this fun topic with a story.
When I was spewed forth from the (pretty?) loins of my mother, all seemed to be in order. I had the expected number of fingers and toes. I was not retarded.* I had no visible deformities. And, let’s face it, I was already incredibly handsome.
However, my parents noticed something wrong about one day in. My eyes had something weird going on. One of them seemed cloudy. They called over the nurse. “Nurse,” they said. “It seems like there might be something wrong with his eye.”
The nurse looked me over cursorily and said, “Oh, you sweet, young, innocently naive parents. There is nothing wrong with this child. All babies have a strange cloudiness in their left eye. It’s called being a newborn.”
Though comforted by these kind, dismissive words, my parents wisely continued to bring up the issue. The cloudiness did not recede. Finally, they found a doctor who actually examined me. He looked at my eye more carefully and said, “your son’s eye is screwed.”
It was really messed up, that eye of mine. Some disease I can’t remember, plus a cataract, plus a lack of formation of some of the nerves or some junk. (I’m hazy on the details. I was a day old.)
As it turns out, groundbreaking research had just been conducted (this is research in 1980, by the way, which from today’s vantage point looks a little bit like when a child brings you a drawing and says “it’s a picture of a house!” and you say “oh, that’s great! I can see the… lines you drew haphazardly…”) which permitted doctors to operate on my face. At the ripe old age of two weeks, a surgeon cut a big hole in my pupil, removed the lens from my eye, and I was left forever maimed. But, my eye didn’t die like it would have had I been born any earlier, and now if some brutal thing happens and I get a javelin through the right side of my face or whatever, I’ll have my left eye. That’s right, though I’ll never be able to read, see a computer screen, drive, or recognize a human face, I’ll still be able to see a bunch of blobs of color and walk around without hitting walls. Which in all honesty I’m thankful for.
There’s more to this story, but this is getting long. So, this will be a multi-post series about body deformities! Yay!
Stay tuned for a discussion of how my legally blind lazy eye makes me look vaguely like a serial killer.
Update: you can now find said discussion on Part II of the series which can be seen here.
*Lest you think me an insensitive beast, I feel I must mention that contrary to the thrust of popular culture which suggests otherwise, retarded is the technical term. Mentally retarded, to be more exact. (See pp. 41-49 of the DSM-IV)