Tiny Tim: Looking Deeper Into the Illness Essay

Submitted By xostanner12xo
Words: 1439
Pages: 6

Tiny Tim: Looking Deeper into the Illness “Somehow he gets thoughtful sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” (Dickens 80) I’m able to relate to Bob Cratchit and his experiences with Tiny Tim. My neighbor has a very serious disease that has continuously failed to be diagnosed, despite efforts in seeing doctors across the country. She was perfectly fine until the age of twelve- an actress, dancer, model, and sports player. All of a sudden, she began having seizures very frequently and was hospitalized quite often. It has now reached the point where, at the age of 21, she can no longer walk and spends each hour of every day in bed watching television. The worst part of it is that nobody knows what she has. As I was reading the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I couldn’t help but wonder what caused Tiny Tim to be so ill. One passage that stood out to me very clearly and raised this question in my mind was the visual representation of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim after they had blessed everyone, which Scrooge described during the visit of the ghost of Christmas present. “He sat very close to his father’s side, upon his little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him.” (Dickens 82) I want to research what doctors today would diagnose Tiny Tim with, and how they would be able to come to this conclusion based on the information provided in the novel. My first source was a scholarly article from The Journal of Infectious Diseases, titled “Construction Crew Discovers Grave of “Tiny Tim,” written by Charles W. Callahan. In this article, it was claimed that construction workers in south London discovered the grave of Timothy Cratchit while renovating an 18th century church. “After moving several of the large stones, workers stumbled across a stone that read “In Memory, Timothy Cratchit. 1839-1884. Beloved Husband of Julia, Father of Robert, and Son of Robert and Martha.” (Callahan) Underneath the stone, skeletal remains of a man around the age of 40 wearing “a frame of metal and leather on his legs and lower back” were found. (Callahan) Dr. William McClean, a forensic anthropologist, stated, “…samples from the spine…have tested positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis by polymerase chain reaction…it was Pott’s disease, TB of the spine, which afflicted Tiny Tim as a child, and very likely it was TB that ultimately killed him.” (Callahan) The contraction of Tuberculosis spondylitis was described in the article as well. The article said that children are usually first infected with TB pneumonia, which they can catch from a contagious adult. The bacteria then travel through the blood and stay in the backbone, beginning to increase. Many cases of Pott’s disease are seen in children between the ages of three and ten, which would apply to Tiny Tim. Some of the symptoms include “pain and stiffness of the back, followed by gradual wasting, fatigue, and intermittent fevers. The legs may become weaker if the crumbling backbones push on the spinal cord…children often lose the ability to walk normally.” (Callahan) The article also stated that antimicrobial therapy wasn’t available for TB until the mid-1900’s; however, the importance of rest, proper nutrition, and bracing was recognized at the time. Scrooge’s generosity at the end of the novel allowed Tiny Tim to live to adulthood and marry. I found this journal article to be extremely interesting; I wasn’t sure if I completely believed it, but it supported my view of what happened at the end of the novel- Tiny Tim lived. My next source was an article from The Globe & Mail titled “Doctor