It was January 12th. The Girl had gone 5 whole months without a transfusion, and The Parents and Alfred finally had an answer to that one question that had been on their minds since The Girl was born. The answer was Hereditary Spherocytosis.
What is Hereditary Spherocytosis (HS)? Hereditary Spherocytosis is a rare blood disorder that presents itself in people that are so beautiful that their blood cells are perfectly round little spheres instead of doughnuts or flattened discs, or sickles, for that matter.
What causes HS? Let’s talk about what doesn’t cause HS. Hereditary Spherocytosis is not caused by low iron counts. Eating processed, disgusting rice cereal filled with man-made iron that isn’t highly bioavailable doesn’t magically convert spheres into doughnuts. Anemia, for that matter, is a symptom of a bigger problem, not the problem itself.
Many things can be a result of HS, such as chronic fatigue and weakness, but The Girl was a fighter, and truly showed no signs of lethargy since her last transfusion. She looked and acted like a normal baby who was her chronological age, progressing far past those of her adjusted age. Most days, The Parents completely forgot that she was born 6 weeks early, but they never forgot or discounted all that she overcame.
Another new thing that The Girl was actually fond of was baths in the tub. Much to The Mother’s surprise, she wasn’t scared when the water was running, or draining. Once she learned the joys of splashing, nothing else really mattered.
One thing The Girl didn’t understand is why Alfred couldn’t take a bath with her.
“You’re an octopus. You like water.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
The Girl left it at that. She had known Alfred enough to realize he was an octopus enshrouded in mystery, and he liked it that way.
“It’s almost the new year,” Alfred said, “what’s your new year’s resolution?”
“To be awesome,” The Girl paused, for effect, “and to try new things.”
The Girl began early by trying some avocado. Being the generous girl that she was, she made sure that her shirt tried some, too, and the floor, and she tried to get Alfred to have a taste, but he was not interested, or close enough, for that matter.
It seemed as though The Girl liked the avocado at first, but…
Evidence would suggest otherwise.
The Girl and Alfred fell asleep soon after the picture was placed. When they awoke, they saw that Santa did indeed arrive.
The Girl got some new toys and new clothes and new books.
Alfred got an oyster with tickets to that thing he loves, and Old Spice, of all things.
Dressed in their Christmas best, Alfred and The Girl waited patiently for Santa for all of five minutes. They began to pace the living room, wondering if he had gotten lost.
“He’s the first stop here, he couldn’t have gotten lost,” Alfred reasoned.
“Of course he didn’t. He skipped over us because YOU WERE NAUGHTY.” The Girl said, accusingly.
“So, anyway,” Alfred began.
“So anyway, nothing, I’m tired. I’m going to bother The Mother until she feeds me, and then I am going to bed,” The Girl spat.
“Wait, you were good this year,” Alfred squeaked. “Maybe we should leave a picture of you looking innocent by some milk and cookies.”
After the picture was placed, Alfred took a good look at it.
“You … You don’t look innocent at all.”
“That’s the point. It’s a warning.”
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring… except for Alfred.
The stockings were slung by the nightstand and chair,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
Despite his best efforts, The Girl’s first word was NOT Alfred.