Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It's hard to think of our girl ever being "down" or even felling under the weather, what with all that energy and remember how physical she was with her comedy. But as a young girl, Lucy had a terrible health scare and there was talk of her never walking again.

As a 17 year old girl wanting more than anything to become an actress, Lucille Ball went to New York City with the intention of doing just that! Lucy worked hard, and did not find success easily. She struggled through theater school, worked as a chorus line girl, as a model and caught a break when she began working for Hattie Carnegie's famous dress shop as a model. Lucy then found herself in a world of rich society women and glamorous movie stars.

One day while standing for a very long fitting, Lucy felt horrible pain in both her legs, as if they were on fire. Several days before this, Lucy had a fever and a bout with pneumonia. Worried, Hattie sent Lucy around the corner to her doctor and the doctor told Lucy that the pains were possibly rheumatoid arthritis. He explained to Lucy that rheumatoid arthritis was an incurable disease that becomes progressively worse until the sufferer ends up in a wheelchair.

After being examined by an orthopedic specialist, the doctor asked for permission to try a new experimental treatment. In her biography, Lucy described this as "some kind of horse serum", but still, she agreed. After a couple of weeks of this treatment, nothing much seemed to change. Lucy's spirits were low, the pain wast still intense and her money was running out so she decided to return to her mother and Grandfather's home Jamestown, New York. There, Lucy tried to take better care of herself and her mother massaged her legs at night. Months passed by, and Lucy was still in such pain that she described the time that passed as a blur. The horse serum injections were continued. It was a highly experimental treatment, last ditch effort and Lucy felt like a guinea pig but gradually the pain grew less and less and finally one day she was able to stand up. After months of inactivity, Lucy's left leg was now shorter than her right leg and it pulled sideways. To correct this she had to wear a 20 pound weight in one of her black orthopedic shoes. Though Lucy had some pain she was able to take a part offered her with the Jamestown Players, and then later returned to New York City in search of her dreams.

Just goes to show with determination and strength of mind, as Lucy had, you can overcome pretty much anything you set your mind to. Lucille Ball. A courageous and determined woman.