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Peter Rutt

 

I was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA in December, 1965 with the Myelomeningocele form of Spina Bifida. I know of one other person born in the same neighborhood a couple of years earlier. Doctors'
understandings of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus were minimal. My parents were told that I would "never see 'ten days'". My spine was left exposed because of the "then" common practice of "euthanasia" where babies born with physical defects were just left in cribs to die.

It was on that tenth day of my life that my completely exposed spine at the third lumbar vertebrae was closed. A "couple of weeks" later at a point where my head had swelled quite a lot due to Hydrocephalus. That was when my first Ventricular-Atrial (VA) shunt was implanted.

We moved to the suburb where I have lived ever since the special needs school which was quite far away in the "inner city" where many of the buildings were extremely rundown and where my father dealt with industrial ventilation and saw "so much" of the area's buildings were run down and when my father learned of future plans to build an elementary school with "an elevator" that my parents moved us to the suburban township where I have lived ever since.

As I came to the "relative" age of learning to walk with aluminum-and-leather braces up to my waist, then lowered to hip-level a couple everything went relatively well until I fell and hit my head "directly" at the point of the Hydrocephalus valve. Staph infection developed and worsened for the entire ten months that I was an in-patient. That neurosurgeon said everything was at best as he had ever seen.

Shortly after, as I was being examined by my orthopedic surgeon that "he", along with my parents insisted that I was not up to my original physical and mental state and he contacted another neurosurgeon. The original Children's Hospital of Michigan (located in a different area of the City than today's Detroit Medical Center). I am not sure the time span before the present Childrens Hospital. Then, most of my doctors went to the present Detroit Medical Center.

I had one neurosurgeon until he retired when I was age fifteen. Then, his "first resident" became my personal neurosurgeon. I was fifteen and figured that my case would be moved to Harper Hospital when I became eighteen years old. The buildings are side-by-side . This did not happen since "that" neurosurgeon was "the head of Neurosurgery" at Children's Hospital of Michigan. My in-patient procedures continued at Children's (the doctor) saying I was "a teacher" and they thought I was the "very first" child born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in greater-Detroit).

I never told her of the other person born in the same neighborhood as I. It was at the point of time when that Doctor said "Why didn't you ever tell me?" . The next comment was "How are we supposed to find him?" I immediately replied "There is no need to find that person--they were not the first either. I was upon that doctor's retirement that my case was moved to the Crittenton Hospital in Rochester, Michigan; where it has remained ever since. 

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June 15, 2019

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