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June 2004, Volume 34 Number 6 , p 55 - 55





  • Small world

  • A parting wish


  • Figure. No caption a...

    “TINY” IS THE WORD that came to mind the first time I saw Caitlyn lying in her hospital bed. Although 35 years old, she was only 3 feet tall. Abnormal calcifications had drawn her head backward, fixing it at an awkward angle to the rest of her body. A prisoner in her own body, she no longer could stand and required a ventilator to breathe.

    Initially I was intimidated by Caitlyn and her overwhelming physical problems—but not for long. Her intelligent eyes and bright smile drew me in.

    I learned that she'd been adopted at an early age, before anyone knew of her rare genetic disorder. Despite her physical problems, she actively participated in family life. Reaching adulthood, she became independent and moved into an apartment. Crawling on her arms and buttocks, she'd cook and entertain guests from her vantage ...

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