Two People One Body
After seeing the new series of American Horror Story, Freak Show, one of the characters reminded me of a story I’d read about. The characters of conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler played by Sarah Paulson definitely isn’t something you see all too often. When I was in high school I remember seeing a documentary about two girls Abby and Brittany Hensel.
Born March 7, 1990 in New Germany, Minnesota, the two girls were born conjoined in the way that they shared most of their body. They may have shared a body but they had 2 hearts that shared a circulatory system, 2 spines which joined at the coccyx and the thorax by sections of ribs, 4 lungs although the the medial lungs were moderately fused, 2 stomaches and 2 completely separate spinal cords. They have 2 heads and 2 necks, 2 arms and legs. Mostly everything below the navel are shared. When they were born they had a third rudimentary arm attached to their back which was removed leaving behind the shoulder blade.
They each control their own half of the body which means that every task requires the other twin’s cooperation such as clapping and walking. Writing and eating are able to be done separately and simultaneously while other activities like running and swimming need to be coordinated alternatively.
Abby and Brittany were both successful in getting their driver’s license and graduated high school in 2008. They are very different people with different likes, dislikes, preferences in food and clothing etc. Some of their clothes are altered by their seamstress so that they have two separate necklines in order to emphasize their individuality.
-Claire de Lune