Monday, November 8, 2010

The Human Freak: Sirenomelia.

It's hard not to like mermaids. We have all seen The Little Mermaid at some point (you in the back, don't lie), and inaccuracy to the original story aside, it was an okay movie. If you have not seen it, a mermaid named Ariel wants nothing more than to leave her ocean home and be with a human prince named Eric.

He was vain enough to get his own statue...not really a good sign. Ditch him while you can, girl.

But y'know what Ariel's problem was? Humans are bipeds. (They also have lungs, but that's another issue entirely; complex marine biology has no place in a Disney story.) That is the problem that people with sirenomelia have. You're not crazy; this disorder did get its name from the tail of a mermaid:

Please don't make me Google this again.

Sirenomelia, also called Mermaid Syndrome, is a condition in which a baby's legs are fused together into a single appendage resembling a mermaid's tail.  It is 100 times more likely to occur in identical twins than in any other sort of birth; otherwise, it has the same likelihood as Siamese twins.

I'll take the two-headed goat from yesterday, thanks.

Besides having deformed legs, people with sirenomelia also have bad organs. The system containing the bladder and kidneys is often highly damaged in sirenomelia victims. Some of them also have very weak hearts. Surgery may or may not be possible on a case-by-case basis; fixing it is not a simple matter of just tacking another leg on. Nature has said "...yeeeaaah, sorry, humans are supposed to have two legs" pretty clearly.

[Millions of deformed babies + one morbidly obese survivor who died anyways = Kuro could not Google any more pics. GO LOOK FOR THEM YOURSELF, sorry.]

Survivors of sirenomelia are rare. I mean rare as in "Wikipedia only mentions three," and one of those three has already passed on due to another disease. It takes top-notch care and hours of surgery to have a baby with sirenomelia live past two days, let alone two years. Even then, the three survivors were lucky enough to not have some of the complications associated with the disorder. The longest-living sirenomelia victim was born in 1988 and is still kicking with new, albeit weak, legs. One really has to wonder if the surgery is worth it; another victim in Peru, though living, suffered severe trauma (to the point of losing her speech capabilities) and still has 10-15 years of surgery and rehab to go.

Contrary to what Disney told you, mermaid stories RARELY have happy endings. Even the original Little Mermaid sucked balls for Ariel. (Also, NOW do you see why I object to limb fusion, furries?)

In the original story, the Prince ditched her for a chick whose legs WEREN'T fused at one point, and she had to do a good deed every day for 300 years (and then some). You know, for kids!

1 comment:

  1. I was here for some regular info about this condition, as I was fascinated and you freaking idiot are poking fun at it. Would you poke fun at a child who had their leg chopped off and compare them to old Cinderella? Thought not. Leave this site.