Hi!  My name is Kathryn and I have a brother named Mike. He's eight years old and I'm two years older. Mike has this problem called osteoporosis. It makes his bones break very easily.  I thought you might like to know what his medical problem has been like for me. 

Well, once I accidently broke his arm.  Mike was on top of me on my Mom's bed.  We were just playing, and I couldn't breathe because he had a pillow over my face.  I pushed him off the bed and kaboom, crack, his arm broke!  I felt like it was my fault, particularly because we didn't know that he had a bone disease yet.  He had broken three bones by that time and was scheduled to visit Shriner's Hospital to see if he had a problem.  Then I broke his arm four days before he went to Shriner's for the first time. I felt awful!

Mike gets more attention than I do, even though Mom and Dad try to make extra time to spend with me. Mom tells me that Mike has to do more things than I did when I was his age.  Like all the chores that we have, for instance.  We have to feed the cats, clean our rooms, clean the playroom, and we have to do an extra chore every weekday.  On weekends we don't have an extra chore to do. Most of the time, Mike's pretty funny. We make up jokes about our health problems...it's a good way to deal with them...sort of makes us in charge.

When Mike goes to the hospital I often get lonely at home.  Mom usually spends nights at the hospital with him, but this year she is going to stay home with me and we will go to see him during the day.  It takes about an hour to get to Shriner's Hospital from our house. It is worth it...you should just see the miracles Shriner's does with kids who have bone problems.

I get upset when Mike has broken bones.  It upsets me because he can't do things that I can do.  Even when he doesn't have broken bones he can't do all the things that I can do, like go down slides or ride roller coasters.  Once we were going to the zoo and Mike couldn't get on the pretend monkey habitat. He had to go on the spider web instead. He didn't seem to mind too much though, but I think I had more fun on the monkey habitat.  He liked the spider web.

We are going to Florida, but at Disney World he won't be able to ride all of the rides.  It makes me feel sorry for him.  He might even have to spend most of his time in a wheelchair because his legs break easily when he walks on them too much.  This makes me jealous, I want to ride too.  Mom said that I can ride some of the time when Mike's rear-end is tired and my feet are tired.

I have a problem with my hearing caused by something called otosclerosis. It makes it hard for me to hear just what people are saying. When I feel bad about it, I think about Mike. I know that he is going through a lot of stress and sometimes has a lot of pain.  At least my ears don't hurt.

Thanks for visiting! I hope that you'll hop on over to the story of me, Kathryn

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

Last uodated: November 30, 2006