I imagine there will be stories that will far outweigh the woes of our story. For those who have been through much, much tougher times, my heart goes out to you.
In the big scheme of things, my son's brachial plexus injury is minor. He can walk, talk, function as a completely normal kid, but his left arm just doesn't work right. From day 1, we were grateful that he was alive. The delivery was horrible. Something I'll never forget, nor will my son's father. I've already written about that in a previous post titled "The Birth of my Son - A Best Day/Worst Day Story". So there's no need to go into the why's and how's here.
That birth was almost 14 years ago now, and now I'm a veteran at this. But at the time of his birth we didn't have a clue what it really meant to have a BPI (brachial plexus injury). We knew that his arm was flaccid at birth, and were told it might "go away", or it might not. But we didn't know what his recovery would be. No one could tell us. We began to think of all the ways that he might be impacted with this injury. We couldn't conceive of them all at first, but as he grew, it seemed every day there was a reminder of his injury.
As he lay on his baby "gym" on the floor and batted one-handed at the toys above, we understood. As he began to try to roll over and couldn't get that left arm out from underneath him, we understood. As he struggled to crawl with a flaccid hand, we understood. And as he learned to feed himself, and dress himself and just be a little boy, we understood more and more.
I remember the day when it occured to me that it would be impossible for him to change a tire on his car. Or push a mower. Or sweep with a broom, climb a rope, open a jar, put legos together, dry his hair....drive a car. And where would he put his wedding ring? How could he carry his bride over the threshold?
With many surgeries and lots of therapy, his arm has improved above the elbow. He actually has a pretty nice bicep. But below the elbow, he has very little muscle mass. And while he has very weak movement of his fingers, it doesn't translate to anything functional.
I've seen him struggle with all these bits and pieces of life. At first, we taught him different ways to get things done. Some things were just impossible and we learned to live with it without a lot of angst. As he grew, he developed his own ways of doing things. It was pretty awesome to see him figure something out.
Yes, he's "disabled". But don't tell him that. And he's never been treated as disabled. He's very matter of fact about his arm, so are his friends, and so are we. Well, at least I am on the outside. It's a constant awareness with me. But I'm really not worried about his future. He's smart enough and talented enough to figure this all out. His family provides the support, the encouragement he needs. He knows we're here for him. And he's going to be just fine.