Bone to be Wild

If you’re new, please start here – The Lottery of Birth

Previously on Chronicles of an Amputee: Two bones, one boy, and no connection at all…

The doctors were now about to try something new after a previous bone transplant failed. What would they try after the first one failed? Another one of course! What challenges lie ahead? Stay tuned to find out in today’s episode of Chronicles of an Amputee.

At this point of my life I was either spending time at home or at the hospital. Is this what my life was meant to be? Turning 8, I had so many questions racing in my head but no answers at all. How was all of this supposed to end? Was there even an ending? Will Captain Haddock ever drink water? Still haven’t found answers to these questions.

Since the previous hip bone transplant failed because my hips did lie indeed, I was faced with the next bone transplant. The doctors were now planning to take another bone called the fibula, from the same leg, and place it between the two bones that weren’t joining.

Fibulas are like the Kardashians of bones, pretty much useless but are there to offer curves. But their existence keeps you grounded in reality.

I found something cool from the past which was an email thread between Dr. Rex and another orthopaedic specialist from the UK with whom he consulted before going ahead with the fibula transplant.

Email thread

Email thread before the transplant

Dr. Rex:Can man dem try da rings ting again, innit? Advice my G
Dr. UK:Dat shits tough, Cuz. Man’s gonna say, do the ring ting innit!
Dr. Rex:Raaah fam, his family gonna be shattered, blud. Dey ain’t gonna go wit ring ting fo sho. Fibula transplant then?
Dr. UK:Allow it fam. Tell em that shit crazy innit. Kid’s leg might be cut off.
Dr. Rex:Man’s got you ma G. Lil man be slippin’. He don’t suspect a ting, bruv.

Well Spoiler alert. Before the very first surgery, the doctor had a conversation with my parents suggesting that it could lead to an amputation. But they had to try anyway. And so was this surgery number 4, number 5, or 6? I had lost count.

For years I held a grudge against those doctors, feeling like I’d been used as an experiment of sorts. I mean why didn’t they just get straight to the chop-chop? I could have avoided all those years of slow torture. 

But in the end, time, philosophical insight and a sprinkle of the Internet does wonders for you as I slowly started to understand things a little better and gained a new perspective.

I’ve found that putting yourself in other people’s shoes, even if they don’t fit, can work wonders to immediately give you a better overview of the situation.

If I were Dr. Rex, what would I have done?

  • Advise the parents about all the possibilities – 
  • Read through literature and perform surgeries that make the most sense – 
  • Try every surgery available in the book to give the parents hope and also maybe for some capitalistic gain – 
  • Consult other doctors and come to a consensus – 

In this way, I realised he did what he had to do. The world would be a better place if people stopped to think before hurling allegations and shitting on someone else’s opinion. But it’s not too late and even the actions of a few can make a whole world of difference.

So the next time someone tweets that they think Apples are better than Oranges, don’t immediately comment, “What about Oranges then? Orange rights matter too!” Instead, take a deep breath, put yourself in their shoes and consider all the possibilities. 

  • They’ve probably only ever eaten an Apple and never even seen an Orange.
  • They may be colour blind and can’t tell Apples from Oranges.
  • From a young age they may have been easily fooled by the charisma and marketing skills of Steve Jobs, thus carrying over their Apple fanboyism to their nutritional choices.

And now you can carefully respond by not responding at all and saving yourself a few precious moments. Thus, just by taking a moment to put yourself in someone else’s shoes you’ve made the world a less toxic place to be in.

The older versions of these posts were written with a hint of resentment towards the doctors that only tried to help me. Realising they are human like us doing a noble profession, putting their reputations and sometimes lives at stake, brings a whole new perspective to their efforts.

It was around October 2002 that I had the fibula transplanted between the two bones. The whole hospital routine was starting to get really familiar. I was back with the callipers soon enough and learnt to walk without support over the next few months. My left leg had pretty much stopped growing while I was beginning to have a growth spurt.

It was the summer of 2003 and schools were starting to reopen again. So after two and a half years of being homeschooled, with rekindled spirits and a large sole, it was finally time to get back to school.

Dressed handsomely in the age-old uniform of a khaki shirt and shorts, with hair parted sideways, I walked towards the classroom, trying to avoid the not-so-subtle glances at the new disabled kid. 

As I neared my class, the sound of my beating heart was drowned out by the incessant chatter of an army of 9 year olds. The weight of the heavy bag on my back was balanced out only with the swarm of butterflies that were eager to burst out of my stomach. A new chapter was about to begin.

Sad kid

Back to school duckface

Was I as smart as a 5th grader? It was time to find out.