Glass full of hope
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Sunday, May 10, 2009
5/10/09 at 3:36 AM
It's a good thing that Mykah Adkins isn't a glass-half-empty kind of girl.
First, her forearm was severed when she was still in her mother's womb. Her father committed suicide when she was just a toddler, and not long after, her mother left her and her baby brother with their grandparents for good.
A couple of years later, her beloved grandmother died, and a couple of years after that, her younger brother caused a major fire by playing with matches in the house where they lived with their grandfather. Then her mother ended up in federal prison.
Mykah has experienced more loss in her 10 years than some people experience in a lifetime.
But lately, things are looking up and Lucile Thierry, counselor at Alcott Elementary School, wants good fortune to keep smiling on Mykah.
"I've made it my personal goal to find someone or somehow to help her get a prosthetic arm before the school year's over," Thierry said.
Mykah and her kid brother James found a stable home when their aunt and uncle, Ramona and Craig Allen, took them in.
Ramona, who is the sister of Mykah's deceased father, gained legal custody of the kids in November, but that was one month after her company's health insurance enrollment period.
She won't be able to enroll them until this October.
"I went to Social Security and tried to get the process going to get her a prosthetic arm. But as far they were concerned, she wasn't disabled enough," Allen said.
Mykah hasn't had a prosthesis since she grew out of the one she was outfitted with as a tot.
"She used to put her hand with my mother's hand to see what two hands would look like together," Allen said, referring to Mykah's now deceased grandmother. "She's always wanted an arm because kids can be pretty cruel. She just wants to be normal."
Mykah said she most dreads the questions.
to your arm?"
"My papa (her grandfather) told me that a lot of stuff happened to people on his side of the family when they were inside the stomach," is all she knows about her congenital amputation.
A boy in the first or second grade teased her endlessly, but Mykah said he was the one with the real problems.
"I felt sorry for him. He wasn't the smartest kid and he didn't come to school a lot," she said.
Mostly, she would like a prosthesis to feel "normal" in outward appearances. She wouldn't mind having an easier time of holding things either.
"Holding things — I practice that a whole lot," she said.
Still, Mykah has found a way to do things you wouldn't think she'd be able to with an arm that extends just three inches below the elbow.
And she works and works at the tasks and activities she hasn't yet mastered.
"I can open doors. I can hold a pen and draw circles and lines — but not letters," she said. "I practice a whole bunch to do cartwheels, but I can't yet. In fact, I'm kind of scared of cartwheels now because I keep falling down."
Still, Thierry said she can't understand why Mykah would have been turned down based on the level of her disability.
"How would they know? They've got two hands!" Thierry said.
That company insurance enrollment period may be five months away, but Thierry is hoping to find a way to make something happen sooner than that because Mykah's getting ready to leave Alcott for middle school.
She's already been accepted to Carver Middle School, a magnet school, where she's elected to take art — because she has dreams of being a fashion designer — and home economics.
"It's where you get to take care of a fake baby," she explained.
She is just 10, after all.
Andrea Eger 581-8470
Ten-year-old Mykah Adkins talks with her school counselor Lucile Thierry about what it would be like to have a prosthetic arm. Mykah said her cousins told her she'd have to have wires installed between a prosthesis and her brain, but Thierry reassured her by saying, "It sounds like they've been watching too much television." Michael Wyke / Tulsa World