The raw end of the deal

When I was young, I made a deal with my parents.

Here’s the story of how the deal went bad.

Sometime after my last major surgery, which was the summer before I went into eighth grade, I started physical therapy.

Mr. Maddox, my physical, therapist, made house calls.

He stretched me, and we did exercises aimed to help me balance better when I learned to walk again.

Since Cerebral Palsy affects people in different ways, I don’t know if there’s a set process to teach someone who has it how to walk a second time.

I remember I had to learn to trust my legs to work and carry me after surgery.

They worked and felt different before.

Another memory I have of those days is when I learned to shift my weight again.

It was a hard thing to learn — to put all of my weight on one leg, take a step with the other one, put it down, shift all of my weight to it and repeat the process.

It happens unconsciously now, but when I learned to walk for the second time I had to will myself to do it.

I remember the day it clicked in my head, the day the light bulb came on and all it took to take a step started to become second nature again.

I don’t remember the date, but the moment burned itself into my brain like a brand.

After the moment happened, or maybe a little before, Mr. Maddox had me walk with a walker, down a hall and back, for practice and endurance.

It’s at this point in the story my parents and I made the deal.

It was more like a bribe, but the terms were when I walked a certain amount of laps in the hall I could have a hamster.

Please don’t ask me why I wanted a hamster.

I don’t know. I probably could have chosen from a lot of rewards, but for some reason I chose a hamster.

Anyway, the day came when I walked the necessary laps.

My parents held up their end of our bargain and we picked up a hamster.

I don’t remember if it happened to be a boy or a girl, and I don’t remember what we named it, but we also picked up a red ball to put it inside so it could run around.

I watched it run around the house a lot.

It was fun.

It turned out to be the only fun about having a hamster.

The rest involved feeding it and watering it, which wasn’t bad.

What happened to its cage as a result of the food and water was terrible.

The hamster peed and pooped more than one would think possible for such a small animal.

The drudgery of cleaning its cage and ridding my room of unholy odors outweighed the fun of it running through the house in a red, plastic ball.

It didn’t take long for my parents and I to reach a mutual agreement to part ways with my prize pet, because we’d all gotten the raw end of the deal.


This post is a response to Sue’s prompt, which is, “deal.”

4 Comments

  1. I’ve never cared much for hamsters or gerbils myself, but a lot of kids enjoy them as pets.

    I can relate somewhat to learning how to walk again given my recent surgery. Who knew that something that I did for forty-some years, would be so difficult to re-learn, but it was! Thank God also for my physiotherapist who knew just the right amount of push and sympathy to give.

    1. It is not as easy as you think, until it becomes as easy as you think. It’s not automatically second nature, which was the weirdest part about it for me.

  2. Casey: A beautiful post. I don’t know if my first post went through as I hit the wrong key. So I am not going to rewrite it. God bless you for hanging in there and accomplishing what you have through the years. Hats off to you my brother. Keep on posting. P.S. No hamsters I am a dog and cat person. Dogs and cats do not get along with hamsters to my best knowledge. (HaHa)

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