My daughter is studying to become a midwife. Babies are miracles, endlessly beautiful and most times, they are perfect. Sometimes, though, there are real problems that are horrific. Deformities, tumours, obtusions, oh the list can go on, do happen, and each parent is hopeful that their child will be perfect and grow to be a contributing member of society one day. We all want to be normal, and have normal children. Elephants want to live normal lives doing what elephants do. Sometimes man is so cruel, keeping captive such an intelligent beautiful creature for what reason?
But how normal do we have to be to fit that description? As a farmer, I see little ones born and hatched that do not quite fit the description of perfect. Are they to be let die on their own, or to be quietly dispatched, killed or as some term it, put down? When it comes to human children, when do we make that decision? If a baby is born so different that it has no chance for a normal life, what do the parents do? Hope for a cure or a treatment or a miracle?
As it happens at this moment, I am so grateful that I appear normal, or relatively so, to others. I am not though. I have deformed spine, very crooked, in an S shape, called a scoliosis. It causes me constant pain and is worsening as the forces of gravity pull down on it and the aging body can no longer fight the compression. Although the deformity is not terribly obvious, in certain positions, it is clearly so. Over the years I have learned not to be in those positions, not to let others see the mistake of nature and certainly not to succumb to the pain and suffering it causes. I try to be normal. What does living in chronic pain do to a person though?
Well, I guess it is like everything else. One can wallow in self pity, use the problem as an excuse not to function at one's optimal level, or resort to drugs and alcohol or a combination of both to relieve pain and drown sorrows. Or, one can grasp the reality that it is what it is, it cannot be changed and in order to get through life, one must do the best one can in all respects. Physical limitations aside, one must try to compete with those who are more perfect and complete and whole and be as normal and 'well' as can be. So I do. And I have. And I plan to continue to do so too.
If you see me, if you ever meet me, I am trusting that you would never guess I am broken, that my body has defied me, that my pain is a companion I can never be without and that I would be at least 3 if not 5 inches taller if I was OK. I want to be that person that looks and acts normal. I want to be whole and happy, just as we all do. The elephant in chains wants to communicate to his keeper in his own language because he can and because the keeper makes no effort to speak elephant, but the elephant needs companionship and acceptance for whom he is. We all do.
So, the Fat Ewe Farmer has a secret, or had. I am currently 62 and take no medications at all, not even aspirin for a head ache, 99% of the time. There are those times when I cannot function and must be konked out with narcotics because the pain makes being alive and normal impossible, but fortunately, that only happens once in a year or two. Keeping physically active, taxing my body with the exertion of farming, eating what I grow and produce, and staying healthy will serve me in good stead. Hopefully I can grow old and keep my mind and body in decent shape so I am not a burden to anyone at all. When I hear folks say they cannot do something because, I want to tell them they can, and not to give in or give up. Keep going, one foot in front of the other, two steps forward and one backwards sometimes, but keep going. So says the farmer from the Fat Ewe. And that is as normal as I am going to be, but at least I am remaining positive and happy. That counts too. How about you?