Monday, November 26, 2012


One thing I was always aware of was how much my parents had to go through to send me to Hungary. Every day of exercises in the world famous Peto Institute had a price, actual monetary value expressed in dollars. If I remember correctly the meals and overnight stay were charged separately.  Foreign currency was illegal to have and my parents had to find off the books jobs to get me there. I was fully aware how much my parents have put into this to make me better, an odd realization to have when you are seven, eight, nine or ten. I don't think my parents meant to put all this extra stress on me, but in my family you could sense a lot of expectation that something will happen, something that will make me better. Progress was the operative word with all the methods we have tried. Thinking of it, planning for it, talking about what will it be like when it finally happens. On my first day at the Institute my dad called me (he was in town staying at a local worker's hotel while I spent the night at the Institute). -Have you made any progress? He asked. And I remember how I replied: Dad, I've only been here a day! I remember it vividly. It was the Fall, September if I remember correctly of 1986. It's not that he demanded progress or that he was mad or disappointed if it didn't happen. But there was a lot of hope for this, that this will finally work that translated into urgency that it  needs to happen. And seeing how everybody is excited for this "progress" to take place it was putting all this extra pressure on me. Because what if it doesn't? If I'm not advancing fast enough maybe I'm doing something wrong. It's a huge weight when someone has so much invested in you. And I don't mean just the money although, let me tell you knowing forint exchange rate at the age of seven is probably an odd thing by today's standards- but time and tears and prayers. My parents would do anything to make me walk. They've had a dream of me making my first three steps and they talked about it a lot. Three steps, no braces, no sticks. There was no gadget my dad wouldn't buy me if that happened and no money he wouldn't pay to any therapist that made it possible. He said it a number of times, he'd sell his car, our apartment, just make me walk. All we needed was the darn  three steps. I guess this is one thing I didn't properly explain when I talked about my Peto routine. When I tried to explain how on one hand knowing how things will play out has  a calming effect on me, while on the other - the monotony that I've adopted into my my life takes a toll, somebody said, well- education can get boring. But in my case this point is flawed. I never rebelled against  anything that happened at the Peto Institute because to my family this was more than education. It was the solution to all our problems, it was the central point of helping me get better. The good thing about being at the Institute, sweating and working hard was that I was doing everything I was supposed to. All there was to focus on  was now. I didn't have to worry about the future. Back home I've had nightmares. Not being able to walk, being stuck in a wheelchair, that I've always envisioned as one of those big and bulky things you see at the hospitals seemed like the end of life and the end of hope. And yes, if I'm not progressing, I'm failing. Looking back, I have to say, I wish my parents had known a bit more about my disability and the Peto method to find a way to help me navigate my own emotions. Maybe take some ff the stress off. It would definitely give me less to work through as I'm going through adulthood.


  1. Thank you. Invaluable. Keep 'em coming.

    I hope that there will be some who take heed.


  2. Parents! Who'd have them?
    Best wishes Ralph.
    Norman (Sarah's Dad)
    PS And thanks for this and other posts.