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Life as a Scot in California

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Posts Tagged ‘left handed’

Primary School

Posted by berkeleyscot on July 16, 2009

I started school, in the Infant Class of Buckie Primary School in August 1954. My 5th birthday was in December of that year, but I was lucky to be admitted to school early. The usual age of school entry was at 5 years old.

This was the start, not only of my life outside of the Catbow, but the start of my independent life. I now could no longer rely on Mam to do things for me, or to make cerebral palsy easier for me.

At the start of each school year, Mam came to the school and talked to my teacher about my having cerebral palsy, but she was shy, intimidated by the teachers and was not my best advocate. Some teachers didn’t understand what she was trying to tell them

At first glance, it’s certainly not obvious that I have cerebral palsy. But then, when it comes to ‘doing,’ it is. In the 1950s, being left-handed was discouraged to the point of punishment, but what could my teachers do with a pupil who had no use of her right hand and they were not trained to ‘deal with’ students who had a disability. But I still learned to write, even though the inkwell was on the wrong side of the desk and I was messy with my pen and ink.

Cerebral Palsy is messy. Some people have no facial muscle control and drool and spastic, uncontrollable spasms are a nuisance.

But, the teachers realised I was one of their brightest pupils and we had to work together for me to get the quality of education I was supposed to get. I had supportive teachers and I had stupid teachers who refused to make allowances for me. I didn’t want special treatment. I simply wanted to be treated with respect and an awareness of what I was physically unable to do.

My classmates were often unkind. That was a long time ago and I cannot and don’t care now.

I had one special friend, Mary, whom I love dearly to this day. I felt normal in her company and I never had to explain anything to her.



Posted in Buckie, Disability | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

“Do You Always Walk That Way…”

Posted by berkeleyscot on January 6, 2009

Asked the nurse who had just officially discharged me from the Surgery Center.  She was accompanying me to the waiting area where Richard was to collect me.

I’ve given lots of thought to this kind of question.

I’d like to say, “How do I walk? Show me!”

But, I was immediately post-surgery and anesthetized at that moment and just needed to go home, so I admitted that I do always ‘walk that way.’

Cerebral Palsy will complicate my physiotherapy. I will have to explain that I couldn’t make a fist with my right hand before and I won’t be able to now.

I never could write with my right hand so calligraphy is not going to happen.

A close friend said, “I’ve always thought you must be right-handed, because, although your hand-writing is legible, it’s as if you’re a right-handed person, writing with your left hand!”

It’s curious that I had planned to experiment with cerebral palsy in 2009. By that, I mean, attempting to do things that I haven’t done in a long time – getting on a bus, for example.

How much is the aging process affecting me? What is it like to age with cerebral palsy?

AND – how do people REALLY see me?

When I was in the operating theatre, and before I went under, the crew chatted to me, thusly… “How boring that you tripped on the sidewalk and did not fall on the ski slopes… You’ll be driving by the end of the month… You’ll be using your right hand again!”

I am in awe of my great surgeon and the work he did to fix my arm – but the Surgery Center isn’t Lourdes, and yes, I will always ‘walk this way…’

I’ll just be so happy to see my wee right hand again in its natural curled up cerebral palsy state.

Posted in Accidents, Disability, Living | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »