chapter  14
32 Pages

The Paradox of Lost Fingerprints: Metaphor and the Shaming of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

In a dusty attic box, my mom has stored a book that chronic1es every detail of my birth. Amid newspaper c1ippings, between facts about the weather and historica1happenings, there is an ink print of my palms and the soles of my feet. On the yellowed reports of my birth, the historians breathe a collective sigh of relief when they use the modifier healthy to describe me. I know my parents wished those prints of my hands and feet would fix my well-being in time, keep me young and undamaged forever. A healthy baby girl, her fingertips ten hops ofa skipping stone, her palms ridged with long life lines, her feet engraved with the topographical swirls that would mark her distinction. More than anything, they hoped the sterile hospital room from which I was emerging would protect those personal imprints of mine forever.