I was born with a defective gene that causes an illness so rare that medical science cannot find a cure. It doesn’t affect many people, but when it does, the people who witness the effects of this disturbing disorder are totally baffled by the strange behavior of the afflicted.
My parents first noticed that something was wrong with me shortly after I began to walk. Up to that point, I seemed to be developing normally but this disease mimics the growth of a healthy child causing parents to be unaware of what is really happening. Once my parents did realize, that something was wrong with me the disease had taken hold of my brain rendering me totally helpless to its disturbing grip.
The initial symptom is that the little hands reach for a broom and then refuse to release it from their monster grip. The tiny hands strengthen to a point that a grown adult cannot remove the broom handle from the child’s hands. Scary! Then the young developing brain goes into a mindless wonderland as the child’s little arms begin sweeping with an ever tight grip on the broom handle. Over time, as the child grows into an adult the “sweeping” illness becomes so compulsive that the person must sweep daily or be driven into a physical and mental madness that is unbearable to watch.
The final symptom of this devastating illness is that not only must the person sweep with a broom daily but they must also use a garden hose and wash down the patio, driveway, front porch or any other cement area that is visible.
During my life, I have visited many doctors who just refer me to therapists because they are totally convinced that I struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). All the therapists who see me just shake their heads in bewilderment and tell me “there is no hope for you.” I’m actually very happy with their diagnosis and I love to hear them say “research is being done, but right now we can only hope that a cure will be found.”
There is something strangely peaceful about this bizarre illness of mine. Every day, as I hold a broom or garden hose in my hands I feel an immediate connection with these objects that others can’t quite comprehend. It’s a bliss that takes me away from my everyday stress and sweeps my mind into total mindfulness! I really do not want to be cured!