I spent most of the next year in Hot Springs , South Dakota in the hospital. At that time, Sister Kenny’s program of hot baths , swimming, massaging and daily exercises was all that they knew. They had not yet determined just when the infectious stage was over, besides there was no possible care at home. Nowadays, many experts would think my life was blighted because of the separation, for I was not allowed to even see my Mother for almost four months. Dad owned a Hardware Store that was open six days a week and was open until 9:00 on Saturday nights. He could not often get away and since he didn’t drive he had to catch a ride the 220 miles up to see me. But he did write often, I have many of his letters still. In the meantime, my brother John was born and he was fine. I was so glad about that, even though I couldn’t see him, I felt joy that our family had increased and everyone was okay. What fun it would be to have a baby brother! They named him John Loren Osborn.
At the hospital I was caught up in the friendships and feuds of our smaller world there in the Children’s Ward. My second grade class mates from home sent packages and letters from time to time, and there were some very caring nurses, life was okay. Though I did want to go home as soon as they would let me ,my psyche suffered no permanent damage that I noticed….
In the late spring of that year, I was released. I had a wheel chair and some very small crutches, that I could use more or less adeptly. Also they had put primitive half leg braces on me, later they would realize they were inadequate for my degree of disability, but at the time, I was equipped thus. I liked the wheel chair much better than struggling with crutches, but I’d been used to wide halls at the Hospital and getting around as I chose. Going home was to be very different.
The first day I got out of the car, Mom brought the wheel chair for me to get into. We were parked on the hillside where our house was. My Mom offered to help me get in, but very smugly I assured her that I could do it myself. I got into the chair fine, but when I had to push it up the hill and turn into the sidewalk that led to the front door, the chair tipped and I fell out. Mom rushed over to help, but Dad wouldn’t let her. “She said she could do it herself Dorothy, let her, or let her not be so quick to refuse help in the future.” It was a wise word, and I learned from it how things would be in my life from then on.
I have found out now as a Chrisitian, that God deals with me in that way also. I can have His help at anytime, but if I am too proud to ask, or if I refuse the offer of His solution (as it is written in His word), then I am on my own. He’s there, ready to guide or help, but I must humble myself to ask and then I must heed His directions. If I am quick to refuse His help, He will not insist! I can go where the path is easy and straight with His support, or I can struggle along on my own, but His offer to help is always there. Well, it didn’t take long in a small crowded house to see that crutches would be much more useful than a wheel chair, so I set about mastering them. When we sat down to eat and Dad and I leaned our crutches against the wall, it was amusing to see the big and little crutches side by side. I’m sure that having a crippled father helped me adjust more easily to the situations.