Four Fingers and Thirteen Toes

I must confess that blogging is a whole new ball game to me. I want to say so much about so many things that I’m not too sure where to start.Born and brought up in Cardiff South Wales (UK) I am the eldest of three children from parents who are of Irish decent. But what makes me unique is that I am one of the 1960’s generation of so-called Thalidomide Children, who are now fast approaching middle age. What a thought. Those kids from yesteryear looking so cute on the television doing all sorts of “tricks” — are now entering a mid-life crisis.

I’m known to most as Rosie. A regular forty-something, who likes to think I’m still eighteen, with just a subtle difference, in the form of Four Fingers (two sprouting from each shoulder) and Thirteen tiny Toes, on legs that end just about where the average knee happens to be.

I’ve learnt to drive, I run my own Disability Issues Consultancy, I’ve been happily married for over 20 years and I have a gorgeous teenage son. So, having achieved all this, I decided it was time to put pen to paper and tell the world about me.

My book, aptly titled “Four Fingers and Thirteen Toes” is the story of my life, interspersed with the history of the drug Thalidomide. It’s not littered with “what if’s” and “may be’s” but rather it tells the story of (as Lord Morris of Manchester puts it) “triumph over devastatingly severe disability”.

What I have tried to do is to emphasis that you make the most of what you do have rather than what you don’t have.


Here are some snippets from four of the chapters:

Chapter 1

: … I doubt that there were three happier people in the whole world than Stephen, James and me. And then our joy was shared, if not quite so personally, by everyone that had known us through my pregnancy.

“So what’s so wonderful about all this?” you say. “Lots of women have babies.”

But …

Chapter 6

: … my mother told me of the first time that she had taken me out shopping with her. A woman, looking into the pram said, “Oh, what a beautiful baby.” Then, pulling back the covers a little, she saw my little stumpy arms with two fingers sprouting from each shoulder.

She screamed, “My God, it’s a freak,” and went running up the road as though afraid that I might be contagious. …

Chapter 8

…Solicitously, they treated us with crash helmets, transforming us into ‘Metal Mickey’s’, a process that rather defeated their avowed purpose of making us less conspicuous in the world. One particularly ingenious device involved artificial arms powered by compressed gas, carried in a cylinder on your back, hardly something that could be easily concealed. …

Chapter 22

… The pharmaceutical departments of the IG Farben cartel used the victims of the concentration camps during human experiments, such as the testing of new and unknown vaccines and drugs. In the Auschwitz trials, correspondence was discovered…

I would welcome comments on the snippets and of course, any comments you would like to share if you have already read the book .


I have a whole host of views on most things in life, and look forward to sharing these views with other interested people. I like a challenge, and am not afraid to say what I think, even though my views may be controversial.


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3 Responses to “Four Fingers and Thirteen Toes”

  1. Ferjo Noronha Says:

    I totally agree with your “Make the most of what you do have instead of what you don’t have” philosophy.
    In the book you clearly show an emphasize-what-you-can-instead-of-whining-about-what-you-can’t mentality, something a lot of people with ten fingers and ten toes ought to show more!
    I have a tremendous admiration for all you have archieved in your life defying prejudice and narrowmindedness…
    And, last of all… I’m sooo jealous of you for having more toes than me…
    Rosie, your perseverance is an example to me! Thanks…

  2. Martin Says:

    As I have read threw the chapters on this website it looks very interesting and a good read. I will buying this book as it has taking a big liking to me. In chapter 6 there are people who are so cruel and don’t think about what they are going to say which offends other people.

    • Martin Says:

      Four Fingers and Thirteen Toes
      This is a must for all to read. If you saw the news the other week, and you have read the book you will see that what it says in the book, is true. I think all the Governments from all over the world are just like what Hitler’s government did to all the Jews in the early 1950s. I myself I’m not happy with the British Government and what is happening to all the Thalidomide people. The Government should stop saying sorry for their mistake and give the Thalidomide People all the help they need like Housing and Mobility. I would like to say when I read the book it opened my eyes and you get drawn into the story and find it’s very interesting. It’s what the Government was like in the 1950s, nothing has changed and now it’s 2009.

      I would like to say I have met and know Rosie and she is a remarkable lady, and she had a fantastic mother and father. Rosie has never moaned about her Disability. She has got on with her life, got married to a great man, and is a Mother herself and went to University. I could go on about Rosie as she is a great friend to have who is always there to help me if I need her.

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