Whitebear: Walking the Path
This is a new blog, which will tell the story of my life. It will be a multipart series and it may not always follow chronological order. This story, based on factual circumstances, tells the tale of my journey to survive.
This is how it all began. It was an improbably snowy day in May; the year was 1960. A change was coming for a small city in the Midwest called Rockford, IL.
Time forged a new reality. Plummeting through the chaos and forced through an entryway, like a small person at a festival seating venue, I arrived a little bit early and I was exhausted, out of breath.
Almost immediately, strangers dressed all in white shuffled me off and locked me inside a glass chamber. These strangers would take me out of the cell I was in, touch, measure, and do tests on my bodily fluids. This was a very alien world. Later in life, my Mom would often tell me the story of how I was born like the John F. and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s youngest child, with an underdeveloped lung.
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born by emergency caesarean section five and a half weeks early at the Otis Air Force Base Hospital in Bourne, Massachusetts. His birth weight was 4 pounds 10 1/2 ounces (2.11 kg). Shortly after birth he developed symptoms of Hyaline Membrane Disease, also called Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome (IRDS). He was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital where he died two days later, following treatment in a hyperbaric chamber. His obituary in The New York Times stated that, at that time, all that could be done for a baby with Hyaline Membrane Disease was to “monitor the infant’s blood chemistry and to try to keep it near normal levels.”
After a few days passed, they returned me to the familiar environment from which I came. However, this time it was very different. The voices were the same and familiar, but I was now on the outside. The tears that fell that day were not only mine.
Note: This Chapter 1 is dedicated to my Mother who died after a lengthy battle with Cancer. I love you, Mom.