Life is an Ocean: It’s Either We Sink or Swim

I have a case of what is called congenital bilateral hip dislocation.

To explain my case in layman’s terms, this means that both my hip legs are not attached at their normal locations relative to my pelvic bone. Hence, my upper body is not stable whenever I walk.

There was a time in my childhood when an orthopedic doctor saw me and had a particular interest in my condition. I was probably around 5 or 6 years old at that time. Mark, one of my cousins, got hit by a tricycle and had to buy cratches from this doctor’s clinic. As it is so common with Filipino culture (a barangay can accompany you to the airport on your departure abroad) , we were a group when we went to the store.

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As I was playing around our parked vehicle outside the store, the doctor saw me and spoke to my mother. He was interested in my condition and offered his services for me to undergo a surgical operation. It was a Saturday then and I can still remember that he told us to back the following Monday.

Monday came and when I woke up, Mommy was at my bed and I said, “Mommy, Lunes na ngayon ah. Hindi pa ba tayo babalik doon sa doktor? (Mommy, it’s already Monday. Aren’t we returning to the doctor yet?)”. Mommy responded saying that Daddy does not approve of my operation. I don’t remember asking why.

Daddy did not approve of my operation out of fear that things may get worse. As I grew up, I came to understand why. Even with my condition, I was able to run around and play just as normal children did. Technology during those days may not have been enough to convince my father that my condition will be better after I undergo surgery.

When I was still a child, this condition of mine has led some children of my age to ostracize me. I remember running after children who tease me just to get even. There was even a case during my elementary days when I went up to a schoolmate’s school bus and engaged in a fistfight. Some classmates would ridicule my condition as if it were my fault. One thing I realized though: you cannot run after them all. And to run after them all is an exercise in futility. I will only end up tired and bitter for not being able to “catch them all”.

Growing up, my condition has led me to experience lower back pains. I must be extra careful with my posture when carrying things. I must be able to sit comfortably but never prolonged. There were days of extreme pain and difficulty in walking.

The good thing about my life is that I am surrounded by people who love me. With a loving family and the support of true friends, I can be what I would like to be. As I was growing up, I realized that instead of dwelling on my weaknesses, I should focus my attention on developing my skills and ultimately my character. I have gifts and talents which I can share.

I never resented my father’s decision. It is a decision that was made out of love.

I accepted my weaknesses. But true enough, I focused on my strengths: I am not afraid to speak in public, I have the skills to write down my thoughts clearly, and I have many other God-given talents that can be put to good use.

Now, I have a family of my own. I know that the time will come when my children would ask me why I walk this way. And when that day comes, I know just how I would respond.

All of us, in one way or another, have experienced how it is to be bullied. We cannot expect people to accept us every time. But life is more than just pleasing people. It is more about our character: realizing our worth and sharing our giftedness to so many others in need would also be blessed.

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Choose to swim in an ocean that is filled with challenges. The decision is on your hands.

Be blessed and be a blessing.

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