My name is Kathryn and I am ten years old. I want to tell you about me and about my brother Mike and what it's like to be his sister. First I think I'll tell you about me since I know so much about that. Then on another page, I'll tell you what I think about having Mike for a brother. He's got this condition called idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis, and his story's on another page, so you've got a lot of choices!

OK, here goes. I learned that I have a hearing problem called otosclerosis.  Otosclerosis is sort of like arthritis, but it happens in the bones inside your ear. Bet you didn't know you even HAD bones in your ear, right? What happens is that a very spongy type of extra bone grows in the ear and it crowds around the other little bones so that they have a hard time making sense of sound. This problem keeps me from hearing everything other people hear.  Luckily I can still hear most things. Want to know what it's like? Try rubbing your hands lightly on  your ears when someone is talking to you and you'll get the idea.

Kids at school sometimes tease me about my problem, mostly because I have to take speech class.  I have trouble saying some sounds because I can't hear them correctly.  Sometimes the kids tease me because when I don't hear their questions correctly, I answer them with something that doesn't always make sense. I guess my answer must sound silly to them, but for me, it's really frustrating. To make things worse, I often can't figure out what they're laughing about. 

There are many things about my life that are fun. Having cats is one of them, even though they can be a lot of work. We have four cats that we have to take care of.  Their names are Sarah, Chester, Socks and Bama.  Socks killed my hamster. The funny part is that you're not supposed to take a hamster to the vet, but we took him anyway. He was still alive when we took him, but the vet had to put him to sleep. I guess it wasn't so funny for the hamster. Mike and I make up funny jokes sometimes. For instance, when Socks hurt the hamster, we said that he must have wanted a hamsterburger.

Thanks for reading my story....I wanted to talk more about my cats but Mom wouldn't let me.

About being Mike's sister

More about the ear

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 30, 2006