He almost died several times in his first few months. Gran made Dad put his finger in that tiny palm, and that tiny hand clung on, and that tiny hand's owner clung on too. And they took him home.
Several more times, convulsions, extreme emetic episodes drained him and took him to hospitals and almost took him away.
When he was around eight, a cardiologist refused to operate on his heart, a surgery that would have given him better health. He's a vegetable, he said; he won't live into his teens; put him in an institution and forget about him; have more children. Mum and Dad were horrified. He was a smiling, laughing little boy who would always stay a little boy in his head, always need to be taken care of like a little boy, but also always stay smiling and laughing. It was unthinkable that he would be anywhere else than with them.
It's true that he almost died several more times in the years to come. Those occasional convulsions, that rare vomiting episode, the possible ulcerated colon, the curved spine that caused internal problems, that hip that dislocated and disintegrated without anyone noticing. He's had several stints in hospitals. He loves the damn things. All the attention from all the staff! His perpetual smile and easy laugh are magnets.
Mum and Dad never planned for a life for him after they were gone, because he was so fragile it would be silly to expect a normal lifespan for him. It worried Mum no end in her later years.
The little boy turned 51 today.
Why do I want to tell his story? There are many reasons. For now, just one. He's here. he defied the odds. He's still smiling.
Maybe I'll write later about the anger that boils up in me when I hear the suffix '-tard' as an insult. And how that makes me never want to talk to you again.
Maybe I'll write about how little this world, this country, this city, does for those whose bodies aren't 'normal,' whose minds will stay, always, childlike.
But here, there's this. An attempt to let you look into his world. Some years old now, and neglected. But here.