Sinéad Gleeson in Granta on juvenile arthritis

“The arthrodesis happens, and after 10 weeks encased in hip spica – I’m my own alabaster statue – a doctor attempts to remove it with a cast saw. Blade meets skin, and I try not to imagine what’s happening beneath the plaster. The pain feels like a scald, of heat spreading. I explain this to the orthopaedic doctor, this man I’ve never met, and he does that thing I’m used to male doctors doing: he tells me I’m over-reacting. A rotating blade is slicing into my flesh, but I need to calm down. When my mother starts to cry he demands that she leave the room. Fifteen minutes later I plead with him to stop, and he finally gives up, annoyed.”

So writes Sinéad Gleeson, about her experience of juvenile arthritis and the orthopaedic interventions and emotional trials she had to go through.


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