April 27th, 2005


Thoughts on My Own Mortality

[crossposted to my Twilight Universe blog]

Recently, as part of my work, I've been getting to know the ins and outs of a local special school.

This is a school that works with children that have extreme learning difficulties. When I say extreme this means the children may go from moderate autistic, to being only able to communicate with a finger and eye moment, barely able to move, and certainly unable to walk.

The specialist equipment they have really boggles the mind, and its the subtleties that really stick -- like having two sets of door handles - one at child height, one at the top - so children can't slip out of class when the teachers attention is distracted.

One girl I saw on my tour around the facility was extremely clever, and good at IT, but was completely unable to communicate in conventional terms. She couldn't walk, was permantly in a strange bed/wheelchair combination, and had some servere physical deformaties and disabilites to boot. "It's very sad sometimes," the teacher said, "she was born over two months premature you see..."

Oh. Thought I, because you see -- I was born nearly three months premature.

So premature that the doctors actually thought my mother was hysterical when she was convinced she was having me. So premature that I weighed approximately 3 pounds, not much more than a bag of sugar.

Kind of puts things in perspective doesn't it? Here I am at 25 years old, 6'3" of looming englishness, pottering around on the net... and there's that girl, making every second count. The people who work there are saints, and are changing the world for every child there.

But, and I feel so glad I can say this but guilty at the same time, they are not doing it for me: At least not in the same way. For this I am thankful, scared, and awestruck all at the same time.

Sometimes its amazing what you find in this world without even looking for it.
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