Contributor: Douglas Polk

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November 3, 1989 was the day I was born. My Dad had three car wrecks that same day, all with the same pimply faced kid. The day was a Friday, and the next day, the Nebraska Cornhuskers lost to the Colorado Buffaloes 27-21 at Boulder, for only the second time in 22 years. That is the way my Dad remembers my birth was a Friday, because his beloved Huskers lost a football game the next day. It was the only loss of the regular college season for the Cornhuskers. Colorado was the ranked second in the polls and Nebraska was ranked third before losing to the Buffaloes. The Huskers later lost in the Fiesta Bowl to Florida State 41-17 to finish the season 10-2.

My birth was an emergency c-section and I went right from the delivery room to the intensive care nursery. After nine days I was finally able to come home. The next day my Mom went back into the hospital for a week with a dangerous infection. It wasn’t until almost three weeks after I was born before my family was able to be home together. My Mom seemed to take this to be some kind of omen.

A toy is directly in front of me. Red and white and looks like a clown but is a rattle. Stretching I reach with my left hand and try to grab it, but my Dad stops me. He grabs the rattle and places on my right side. Leaning to the right, I once again reach with my left hand, but again my Dad stops me. He places the rattle next to my body, on my right side, but has tied my left arm to my side. Looking at the toy, I begin to rock until I tumble onto my right side. I roll myself around until my face is next to the toy, then I grab it in my mouth. My Dad and Mom clap and tell me what a smart boy I am. My Dad unties my arm and then waves my hand in front of my face, then he waves another hand in front of my face. A hand so similar to my own, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was my own.

My parents realize within the first three months of my life, that my development is different than other babies. My Dad was the second youngest of seven children, and had babysat for most of his 19 nieces and nephews, one time or another, before I was born. Taking me to the doctors and questioning my development, it was decided my development was being affected by “new born stress”. Since my birth was an emergency and was so difficult for both I and my Mom , it became the justification for me not wanting to use my right hand. No one at the time realized, I didn’t even know I had a right hand.

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