Saturday, March 12, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #11

This weeks challenge is:

Week 11: Illness and Injury. Describe your childhood illnesses or injuries. Who took care of you? Did you recuperate in your own bed, on the couch in front of the television, or somewhere else?
I was rarely sick as a child. However, whenever I was sick, I was brought to the living room sofa, and covered in homemade quilts. Mama always gave us Coca-Cola and saltines when we weren't well.  A soothing cool, wet facecloth was folded and placed to our forehead.

I had the usual ailments of a child born in the 50's. I suffered through measles, mumps, chickenpox, and my fair share of poison ivy outbreaks! We weren't taken to the doctor when we went through these ailments when I was a kid. Neither were any of my friends! Our Moms gave us baby aspirin for fevers, and kept us hydrated and fed. We were allowed to have the television on all day as we lay on the sofa, but it wasn't a big deal back then! What kid wanted to watch the stuff that was on during the daytime??? [I mean... unless you were into daytime game shows, and soap operas!] We didn't have cartoons, except for Saturday morning!

As long as a headache didn't accompany my illness, Mama always made sure I had my latest book with me. I read nearly all of the classics by the time I was ten or twelve. My Mama's father was a scholar, and he passed on his love of reading to Mama, who passed it on to me. I am never without at least 2 books going today! And as a kid... the worst punishment in the world was for Mama to tell me that I couldn't read!!! So, when I was sick, I'd curl up on the sofa and read the day away! [What could possibly be more fun than traveling down the river with Huck Finn on a raft?]

Once, right after we had moved from the last rental, to the new house Mama and Daddy had bought, I was running out the back door, which had a storm door, and I sent my hand and arm through the top panel of glass! I cut my wrist bad enough for a few stitches. But, other than sympathy for the discomfort, that did not require any time lying abed for healing.

My worst injury came when I was a mere two years of age. We were visiting my Grandma Bean in West Virginia. My cousin, Johnny, and I were playing together in the front parlor. Johnny was only 2 months older than I. He playfully pushed me, and I stuck out my hand to catch my fall. My left hand landed right on the red-hot wood stove that was used to heat the room.

You might ask how I can remember that? I can remember every detail! From the moment of the burn, to wetting pant from the pain, to screaming constantly, "Mommy, Daddy, help me! Somebody help me!" Mama holding me in her arms as Daddy drove the hour to the nearest doctor. The pain was so horrendous! I can remember even the smells in the doctors office! But more than anything else, I can remember the instant relief of pain when the doctor put the silvadene on my hand and bandaged it! He even teased me about not bandaging the tip of my thumb and telling me that I would need my Mommy to knit a stocking cap for my thumb when I went out in the cold!

And I remember the fascinating I had when we got back to my Grandma's house, and there on the stove was the skin from the palm of my hand and fingers! And yes, I mean all of the skin!!! Daddy took a pocket knife and scraped the skin off while I cried because I thought my hand was still on the stove, even though they tried to comfort me and show me I still have my hand that it was just the outer layer of skin! As a two-year old, I was sure he was scraping away my hand! [To this day... my right hand is noticeably larger than the left. The length is almost a full knuckle longer than the left hand, or about half an inch!

I had my share of bumps and scrapes. But the next serious item didn't come until I was 12, when it was discovered I had a cancerous tumor in the roof of my mouth. I didn't realize that the roof of my mouth was supposed to be concave, it had been flat for so long I simply didn't notice it. And the dentist didn't seem to be interested in that until I was 12. An x-ray revealed a dark mass had filled the cavity of the roof of my mouth. It required immediate removal. There was also a small one on my lower jaw, on the outside of the gum. I had these removed in the dentist's office. Afterward, the dentist informed both Mama and I that if he'd known what was going to happen, he would have sent me to a surgeon in the hospital. The removal of the tumor in the roof of my mouth involved bleeding. ALOT of bleeding. [My dress was ruined.] When it got out of control the dentist called for an ambulance, but it was slow in coming, so he did what he had to do to keep me from bleeding out. He cauterized the surgical site. And yes.... I was wide awake during this ordeal. And no.... to this day the smell of burnt meat will make me nauseas!!! As the cauterizing tip was applied to the roof of my mouth, the smoke from my own burnt flesh curled up and into my nostrils. And NOTHING could have prepared me for the pain of that!!! [Afterward, I got my first hint of how wonderful codeine is for pain relief! ha ha] I was coddled afterward with cold, non-acidic drinks and ice-cream for several days as my mouth healed! And this didn't require lying on the sofa, but I did recline on the recliner in the den alot. [With Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!]

And that's about it! I simply was not a sickly child, except for the normal illnesses. A few injuries, but nothing major.

What about you????

1 comment:

Alison said...

Wow--those are some experiences I am glad I was able to avoid. They certainly make for great stories, though! Thanks for sharing.