Sunday, February 27, 2005

Tonsils...

   ...those little flaps at the back of your throat that in childhood tend to get inflamed at the least sniffle. It was almost a rite of passage, when I was young, to have your tonsils removed. As a five year old, that experience made a sufficent impression on my emerging psyche to have been retained for fifty years. I've heard others tell of similar childhood traumas as being their first 'real' memory. We woke up early, got into the old black Studebaker, and began the drive to the Swedish hospital (naturally) as the sun was rising. The steam over the Mississippi River mingled with the glow from the giant "Grain Belt Beer" neon sign as we drove past Nicollet Island. The lobby of the hospital was furnished in polished stone, giving it the look of a temple of healing and the wait there gave me time to think. I realized that I had no idea what was going to happen. When I was called, my dad brought me to the preparation room. I had to put on pyjamas and a gown and was laid upon a gurney. Wheeled down a maze of corridors, my father reassuring me, until I ended up in the operating room. Because of the bright lights, I could only see the team in their masks huddled around me. A nurse had a small sieve with a cloth over it. She poured some fluid on the cloth and as she held it over my nose and mouth I began to struggle and cry out "Mommmm...."

   Everything went black.

   I woke up in a large recovery room with dozens of other youngsters, who had, presumably, suffered the same fate. My throat was on fire, I tried to scream "Mommy" again. A nurse came with some orange sherbet. Then my father took me home.

   At home, I was allowed to have a day-bed on the couch, and my mother brought me some crushed ice for my throat. After a couple of hours of that, she had had enough of being my nurse. I received a little friction-powered motorcycle as a get-well gift, and the next day, while playing with it on the kitchen floor, my mother said: "OK, if you're well enough to play, you can go back to school. And the next day, I did just that.

   Where are YOUR tonsils tonight?

By Professor Batty



2 Comments:

Blogger Comica said...

I'm emotionally attached to my tonsils, so being the sentimental sap that I am, I've managed to hold onto them for nearly 19 years.

Although I do have the worst craving for sherbet right now!


Blogger Pessimistic Pollyanna said...

I was seven and I woke up in the middle of the operation . . . the tools in my mouth, which was proped open by a clamp . . . the white masked doctor shouting "oh shit, she's awake!" with this almost panicked look in his eyes . . . a female aniestesiologist putting a mask over my nose telling me to close my eyes and breath deeply while she stroked my hair. Two days later while fighting with my older sister . . . I start screaming at her and chunks of bloody crud start gaging me as I cough them up . . . very nasty, I'll never forget it.

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