Friday, November 23, 2007

Day Twenty-Three

What She Wore: Blue plaid pajama pants; white t-shirt; bare feet. I've been napping and reading all day while my dear husband watches the baby. I'm going to have to get dressed now though--we've got to find something to eat.

My mother loves people of all kinds. She relishes every detail about people that she's never met. It was with great interest that she told me about a little baby that was born right around the same time as Charlie. This little baby has spina bifida--this is a severe condition in which a baby is born without a complete spinal cord. The baby is often paralyzed and most have hydrocephalus. My mother didn't actually know the couple who had the baby--she heard about it all from her hairdresser. Still, she was very interested in this little boy.

This past week my mother got to meet the little baby's grandmother, who gets her hair cut at the same place as mom. They talked about their grandbabies, their shunts, their surgeries. Then, the other grandmother relayed a story to my mother that just horrified me.

Spina bifida is usually diagnosed in utero, so the couple knew before he was born that their child would have a lot of issues. They were interviewing pediatricians trying to find someone who could help them with their child. Upon calling one doctor and asking if she handled any children with spina bifida the doctor replied, "No, I don't have any of those. Everyone I know who had a child like that had an abortion."

Can you believe that? A write-off and a moral judgement in just two sentences. Any person who refers to children with disabilities as "those" should be sent to a sensitivity workshop or twelve. Children with disabilities are still children and still need medical care.

Luckily, the family found a fabulous pediatrician for their baby--one whose sister has spina bifida. In the mean time, I'm glad I'm a great believer in karma.