child abuse

“Looking Up” Excerpt: Caged? Child Abuse?

Parents of children with Osteogenesis Imperfecta are often charged with child abuse, simply because their kids always turn up with broken bones. My muscles can break my bones when they contract, making it seem like my bones break at random. You can see where, especially if a child has a lower severity of OI, parents are blamed when the child shows up hurt at school and can’t say how they hurt themselves.

Well, my parents have also been charged with child abuse, though for a slightly different reason…

My parents are veterinarians, and when I was little, I used to go with them to work on Saturdays. If you’ve never been in a vet’s office before, let me tell you, it’s a very busy place. My parents would put me in a cage where I could see what was going on and still be safe. I know that sounds bad, but I actually loved it. My parents always made sure I had lunch and stuff to play with, and I was completely content.

One day, this lady came in with a cat as an emergency, which died later that day. While the cat was in the office, however, the lady had to walk past the cages where I was hanging out.

After the lady left, the police showed up at the office. They started questioning the staff, my mom, and the clients about me being in the cage. They said that they received an anonymous phone call that a little girl with Brittle Bone Disease was being kept in a cage at a local veterinary office.

What aggravated us the most is that this lady didn’t even try to talk to me. She claimed that I could have “stuck my arms through the bars of the cage and break them.” I was eight years old. I’m pretty sure by that point I knew better.

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