Growing Up As An Only Child With Etch A Sketch

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I came to the realization that I am making up for things I did not have as a kid. For instance, my parents never allowed me to have a dog or TV. They were the type of parents who did not want me glued to the TV all day or playing video games. In fact, I got my first TV when I was about 23. I am still working on getting my own dog (I plan to rescue one), but that will be soon.

Because I am an only child, many people automatically assume that I always got everything I wanted. Wrong. My parents taught me the value of a dollar and the value of hard work. However, as an adult, I am doing things and wanting things that I could not do as a kid. Many of those “things” involve going traveling with my friends, attending concerts, owning a TV and lots of music, and last but not least, getting a dog. Have you ever made up for something as an adult that you could not have as a kid? I am not saying my parents were “mean” to me, not at all. They were strict and raised me right. Unlike the majority of the newer generation out there, it seems many of the kids are glued to all of the technology easily accessible to them. Everywhere I go, I usually come across a toddler, not even walking yet, playing on a phone or tablet. The closest ting I had to that was an Etch A Sketch. Remember those? The classic red plastic frame with a white board and two knobs at the bottom to create your own sketch from your pure imagination. There was no touch screen or cute characters all over the screen singing songs. We used our imagination. A $20 Etch A Sketch has now been replaced with a $600 phone or $300 tablet. I cannot even imagine what my life would have been like had the iPhone been invented a decade earlier.

Society has evolved since the iPhone came out. I was raised to walk up straight with my head facing ahead so I could see what is in front of me at all times. Now, many people walk with their heads down looking at their phones and their children are mirroring their moves. As I said earlier, I did no get everything I wanted. Even when I wanted a smart phone I had to wait until I could afford one on my own. I begged my parents for one to be like my friends, but they just gave me a simple flip phone. Thinking about it, I am glad that they did that because I know the differences between what I want and what I need.

Even as an adult, I struggle with the things I want versus the things I need. I remind myself that my hard earned money should be spent on necessities to live on rather than something that will distract me from living my life to the fullest.  I know a dog is not a necessity to my parents. However, because I never got a dog as a kid, I am going to make up for it by rescuing one and making it part of my family. I do not know what type of dog it will be or where I will find him/her, but when the day comes, I will remember that I waited long for this day to come and I will be helping an animal in need of a home.

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28 years and many struggles later

The following is a guest post written by Danny Knoblock. He was born with Spina Bifida and chose to share his life experience with us here.

This is the story of my experiences in hospitals the past 28 years. With the approximately 30+ surgeries and a ton IV pokes, blood works and medicine injections. The hospital is not the greatest place in the world but I’ve been there to live.

I’ve never liked hospitals, they usually end up with me having surgery. My experience starts off at the emergency room registration and then getting triage with a nurse. While the nurse asks me why I arrived and other questions which seem to be rhetorical because the answers are all on the computer. After the long dreadful questions, I get sent back to the lobby and wait till another nurse calls me into a room. While in the patient room I feel clustered because my wheelchair doesn’t fit in as much. I always go to the hospital with someone, it’s usually my mom since she knows my medical history quite well. My hospital experience began at birth and my first surgery was at 12 hours of birth to place a shunt in my head through my neck to my stomach; while in the hospital I had a stroke as an infant.

As a child, I never liked needles and injections.  That included IV when the nurse would tell me they would have to start an IV on me and I would freak out. During my childhood, I would go back and forth to the hospital because of the shunt breaking and causing me to have the worst headaches ever, and the only way to cure those headaches was to open me up and replace the shunt. During my time at the hospital as a child doctors would post “Latex Allergy” all over my room to inform others of my allergies but nurses and doctors never paid attention and still grabbed the latex gloves. While in the hospital, to pass the time I would request for video games and they would let me, my favorite game was “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or other video games. In the hospital my least favorite food was their green beans, on the other hand, I love requesting ginger ale or sprite to drink. Those were the things I do in my hospital room as a child.

When it came to going to have tests done, the hallways were always long and icy cold. I would shiver and cover up with at least two blankets. While in route I’d stay quiet and observe the halls until I got to the destination. When it came to having an X-ray done or an MRI I needed a soft padded pillow for my back because I have a bump on my lower back, and if I don’t have a soft pad my bump can open and have an open sore. After I arrive to my room from a test, a skin and wound specialist would be there waiting for me. I would feel weird, but the majority of the time I mostly had back problem was after surgery because of the hard table.

The most recent experiences in the hospital that involved surgery was a few years ago. They were both hernia related, but the first one included a gallbladder removed. I had a mesh that had a rough material which still today bothers me and causes me to have abdominal pain. During my stay in the hospital, there were was a rude nurse, whom I had not only asking for pain medication but I told her if I could I’d beg her for it, the nurse was rude and insulting me by calling me “a human science experiment” and she just left until her shift ended. The last surgery was a brief hernia repair. I went home the same day but was sore for a whole month. This time the mesh was made with a softer material.

This past month I was in the emergency room four times due to abdominal pain and they find anything wrong. The hospital here in Nogales, Arizona makes me feel like they think I’m faking or I just want attention even though I’m in constant pain.