Wheelchair, walker, crutches, cane, second grade
BackstoryI was born at 29 weeks and weighed 4 lbs 6 oz. Most children born that early are around 2 lbs. I and was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy at birth, meaning I would walk with an altered gait, have weak balance, and tightness in my ligaments. In 1984, that was very lucky.
When I was six, my parents learned of a surgical procedure that could greatly improve my walking. It had to be done at that age, when the bones are still slightly malleable. My hip bones would be shaved down, repositioned, and metal plates put in to keep them in place. A year later, the plates would be removed. My gait could improve up to 80%.
I was in a hip spica (from waist to ankles) cast for 6 weeks, in a wheelchair for 6 weeks, used a walker, crutches, then a cane. Going to second grade public school in a wheelchair was a unique experience. My teacher was new and no idea how to handle a child with special needs. I was assigned a "helper" from my class every week. One time at recess some kids took turns rolling me down a hill, until an announcement was made and that stopped quite quickly.
I think the walker and the cane were the most difficult for me mentally. At six years old, I associated these things with old age. The cane itself was borrowed from my grandfather. I went through many explanations to the kids my age, most of which they couldn't grasp.
I can say it made me a stronger, more mature person at a very young age. The surgeries made an enormous difference in my gait and balance.
There's a Christmas video of me at three years old. I saw it after I'd had the surgery and was shocked. I never thought I walked that way.
I honestly don't feel a difference walking from then until now, but I know I sure fall down a lot less.