On April 1st, a baby with three arms was born in Shanghai, China. His right arm works just fine, but neither of his two left arms seem to be fully functional. The baby boy, named Jie-jie, cries when either of his left arms is touched, but smiles and responds normally to other stimuli. The baby is set to have surgery, but the doctors are not sure which left arm was more developed. The baby also has only one kidney, and may have problems that could lead to curvature of the spine. This poor, poor child. Even after surgery, this boy will have a difficult life.
My wife and I have been very lucky. We have three healthy children. However, I was born with with an extra thumb. I had two thumbs on my left hand. One left thumb was about the size of a pinky and the doctors removed it when I was about six years old. I also have a deformity on my right hand as well. My right thumb looks more like a big toe than a thumb. Growing up, kids would ask me what happened to my thumb. Did it get smashed? No, but if you give me a hammer we can be thumb brothers. Growing up, I felt like a mutant who’s super power was the ability to be easily embarrassed. Stop, evil one, or my face will turn red.
I still have a scar on my left thumb. When I look at the scar, I’m thankful my extra thumb was removed when I was very young. It would have been unbearable growing up with three thumbs. I lived in Hong Kong for the first five years of my life. If my family and I didn’t move to America, I don’t think the Chinese doctors would have removed my extra thumb. I would have grown up with three thumbs. Growing up is already hard enough with just two thumbs; three thumbs would have been awful.
Three thumbs are nothing compared to three arms. You can’t hide your third arm as easily as a third thumb. Jie-jie’s life would be very hard with three arms. I wish the best for him and I really feel for his parents.