I spent most of the last three weeks reading all seven Harry Potter Books. Until now I had been put off by the hype, but I finally succumbed to it after seeing and following discussions about the latest HP movie, the Half-Blood Prince.
I totally immersed myself in this magical world created by the genius talent of J.K. Rowling. When I finished the last book in the seven part series, I stared to wonder what Harry Potter’s life would have been like if he had RA. Harry has endured a tremendous amount of hardship, so I know it must be unfair to impart this horrid disease onto him. Yet I could not resist coming up with an alternate, RA-infused version of his tales.
The story obviously starts with Harry receiving only the basics in health care due to his horrid uncle and aunt not wanting to pay more than absolutely necessary. Sleeping in a cupboard and doing all the chores in the house is not beneficial in the least. But once he arrives at Hogwarths, he is sent to Madam Pomfrey, the equivalent to a school physician, who is aghast at how far this disease has progressed! He has to wear wrist guards, which are already too small and his hands are so disfigured, he can’t hold his wand properly.
You see in the magic world of Harry Potter, RA is non-existent. It is seen as a primitive Muggle disease. Magic has more ways for dealing with the symptoms of RA and spells could do a better job than Muggle made assisting living devices. Madam Pomfrey brews a potion, which will take about two months to be fully effective, because of the severity of his symptoms, but it will cure him nonetheless. Ron and Hermoine obviously help him out in this transition period, as best friends do. They would for example carry his books to classes and use a binding spell to attach his wand to his hand because he still has trouble holding it (Hermoine had naturally done lots of research on RA and had learned this trick from the artist Renoir).
Harry Potter’s most remarkable development though, is using RA to his advantage, when fighting his arch nemesis Lord Voldemort. He develops spells that inflict RA-inspired symptoms. The spell “Inflamallus” is so effective it makes Voldermort fall off his broom, because his knees and hands swell up so much, he can literally no longer hang on. And during their final battle Harry uses the “Disfigurmantus” spell, which disfigures Voldemorts wand-hand into a claw, causing him to drop his wand. And before he can pick up the wand with his other hand, Harry Potter finished the Dark Lord off with the harshest of all spells: “Fatigura Totalis”. It is a spell that brings on fatigue that is so intense it renders a person completely immobile. The horrors of RA create the Darkest of Magic.
I am not sure if I ever use RA to my advantage. But as a dad with RA I found I have to be more creative in looking after my son, just as Harry Potter and his friends used creativity to deal with the limitations brought on by RA. As a typical three year-old, my son does not always want to go where I want him to go. And when I have a bad day, I am then not able to run after him. But when I challenge him to a race to see who can gather their shoes the fastest, he responds. What a parent with RA lacks in physical stamina, more than makes up for by using creativity.
Thank you for your time, take care of yourself and remember to keep passing the open windows.
© Ferhaan Kajee, August 2009