Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Boy Who Carried His Own Arm.

    The other day I took my wife to an orthotic and prosthesis place to get her insoles adjusted. We had to wait quite awhile for the the glue to dry. There were all kinds of devices  in the shop. There were many leg and knee braces. There was the odd leg or foot that was used as a template to make various devices. While I was looking at these devices I thought of a student that I had.

    I was working after class with a few kids. All of a sudden somebody said, "Mr. Kline, there's and arm on the floor." Sure enough an arm was under one of the desks. We all went down to the desk to inspect the arm. I thought it was likely something from the drama dept. We picked up the arm to examine it. At that time Daryl came in the room with a sheepish grin on his face and said, "I forgot that." while pointing to the arm. Daryl left right away. I had a feeling as if I had been someplace I wasn't supposed to be for looking at a kid's arm. 

     This happened about the third week in Sept. I had not noticed that a student was missing an arm or using a prosthesis. So much for my keen observations.

     For the next three years you would see Daryl coming down the hallway with his binder and his arm. sometimes Daryl left his arm in the locker. Most of the time he just carried it. I could understand why Daryl carried his arm. It was extremely heavy. For an 11 or 12 year old it was just too uncomfortable. Daryl was born missing the part if his right arm below the elbow. There was a 3 or 4 inch stub past the elbow. The stub would move on the elbow like a regular lower arm. Daryl did not show any discomfort with his missing arm. In fact, he was a very pleasant student and was well liked by his classmates. 

    After middle school I did not see Daryl again. I did meet some of his distant relatives and they told me that Daryl was married and had two children. It was nice to hear that Daryl had for all intents and purposes lived a normal life.

     I wish that digital cameras were around in those days as I would have had more pictures from my school days. I probably would have had a picture of Daryl.