Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

I Will Sing Life: Voices from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

I Will Sing Life: Voices from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp

Article excerpt

Voices From the Hole in the Wail Gang Camp by Larry Berger, Dahlia Lithwick, and Seven Campers, (C)1992. Published by Little, Brown and Company, Boston. To order: Exceptional Parent Marketing, P.O. Box 889, Boston, MA 02134, (800) 742-4403, $22.95 + $3.50 shipping and handling (hard cover only).

The following excerpt from Adam Jed has been reprinted with permission from the publisher.

I had to stay in the burn unit for three months. The visiting hours there were horrendous! Just a few hours during the day. I can understand keeping visitors out when they had to change bandages, but the rest of the time I would just sit there. My hands and legs were too bandaged up to do anything. That's when my dad taught me to play chess. My parents also hooked up a speaker phone in my hospital room and one in their room at home. They left them on all day and all night so that whenever I wanted to talk to them I could. I remember how I really wanted to go home, just to lie in my own bed for a while. I was forgetting what my house looked like, so my dad made a videotape of the whole house. Then later the doctors finally let me

I go home long enough to lie in my own bed for a couple of minutes, but then I had to go back.

I didn't really believe that I'd be able to walk again. I mean, I did not believe anybody. I basically stopped trusting anyone who had an M.D. after his name or anyone who had a white suit. I hadn't walked for so many months that even if I had my legs back, they would have been floppy as spaghetti. Then they fitted me for prosthetic legs.

When I saw them, I figured it would be just like attaching the legs and I would walk great, but when I put them on and tried to walk -- oh God! So first I did weight-lifting, then I went on parallel bars with the prosthetics, just strengthening my legs and working on my balance. Then I used a walker, then two canes, then one cane, then nothing. There were many times when it was so hard I wanted to give up, but different therapists and my parents got me to keep trying.

My first steps were fun, but it still seemed very hard. I'd say it was about eight or nine months from the amputations to when I first started to walk. Then it was another two weeks before I could walk up and down stairs, then it was about a year before I learned to run. Now I don't even have to think about it. Now, I jump, I leap, I gallop. I've never tried the special swimming prosthetics because I don't know how to swim. I want to get water legs so I can just walk in the water.

I go to a fitness club twice a week where I use the rowing machine, the bikes, and do a little weight-lifting and arm-wrestling with the therapist there. I can't beat most of the other kids at school with my left arm in arm-wrestling because the front part of my arm is really my back (they took muscle and skin and fat from my back to cover a hole in my arm in a ten-hour surgery), but I can still beat my sister Allison, even when she's using two hands and a chin.

Here's a story I made up about my prosthetics:

A Leg with an Ego

One day I stay at home because I am feeling sick, but my prosthetic legs decide to go to school alone, without me. Wearing black leather shoes and tannish pants, they walk through my school, go to my desk, sit down, and try to hold a pen with their feet. …

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