Monday, March 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History - Week #11 Illness & Injury

When I was six to nine months old I came down with chicken pox. I obviously do not remember this, but Mom always told me that I would sit in my play pen and scoot back and forth as the ones on my rear end itched, I had a couple scars on my face even into adulthood from the pox.

I was probably about 3 years old when I had scarlet fever. This was a time when the doctor still made housecalls, and our doctor was there every day for at least a week to examine me. I remember having a rash, and also that with each visit the doctor would use that dratted tongue suppressor to look down my throat. I also received a shot with each visit. Our home was also quarantined due to my illness. There was a sign on our front door that alerted any potential visitor that no one was to enter this house. I remember that our doctor had applied a black ribbon to the sign. Hmm, did he think I was going to die? It was complete bed rest and we had no TV. I really don't remember what I did, maybe Mom had toys brought to my bed.

When I was four years old my family went to my Aunt's house to see her new puppies, which were in her basement. My older cousin decided it would be fun to carry me down the steps piggyback. She slipped and down I went off to the side of the steps. I fell face down with my left arm tucked in front of me. I remember this like it was yesterday. We had no car so I remember waiting for a taxi cab to take us to the University Hospital's emergency room. The wait in the emergency room seemed like forever. To keep my mind off of my arm, my Dad walked me around what at the time seemed like a very big room. I remember him putting me up on a window seal and pointing out landmarks in downtown Columbus. When they finally took me in to see the doctor I was told to lie on a table. I don't remember x-rays but I'm sure that they were taken. Another wait. Finally a nurse came in and wanted to give me a shot for the pain. Mom said that the nurse was about to give the shot in my arm that had been broken, and told her that it would be better to give the shot in the other arm. After I had the shot and the nurse left the room, I turned to Mom and said "Now they've got BOTH my arms a-hurting!". The break was very high, close to the shoulder. Due to that I was put in a cast to immobilize my left arm. I still remember them wrapping the cast material around my upper body, and that I liked the person who did it. Mom said that having one arm did not slow me down. I could often be seen riding my tricycle using just my right arm to steer. I do remember how uncomfortable I would be when I had an itch underneath the cast. Mom came up with a variety of tricks to try to reach the ithcy spot. I was very excited when the day came that the cast was to be removed. Mom made a big deal out of it too, promising me that we would stop for lunch afterwards. However, once the cast was removed I became alarmed at how funny my arm now felt. I could not keep it from wanting to go to my side and just hang there. This bothered me so much that I told Mom that I didn't want to have lunch, I just wanted to go home. Again, this was a time that we had no TV. I would imagine since Mom often talked about nothing slowing me down that I just did what I normally did. 

I don't know how old I was when I came down with German measles. I know that we did have TV at that time, but I was not allowed to watch it. I think I had to wear sun glasses when I did come downstairs during the day. I still remember looking at the big red splotches - each one running into the other. I just couldn't imagine how that could be! I also had the 3-day measles.

Again I do not know how old I was but my brother Pat, being the jealous brother, decided to drop a can of vegetables on me when I was lying on the floor. It split my upper lip and I still have a slight scar exactly in the middle of my upper lip. Another trip to the doctor was due to my brother Pat. He was chasing me with the threat of locking me out of the house. I thought I could save some time by jumping on the steps to the house from the side of them. That didn't work out very well as I slipped and ripped open my knee. It was early evening and Dad had to take me to our doctor. I remember the doctor's office was actually closed, and we went into his office through the back door. No stitches, just butterfly bandages.

I had to have my tonsils removed. I remember going to the hospital, and I still remember the smell of the ether and slowing drifting to sleep. I did not stay overnight in the hospital. I was only to eat ice cream for awhile ... yummy!

I grew up with what I now call a nervous stomach. I would have stomach cramps whenever I was nervous about something. I could not tell you how many tests I had to make up because of missing school due to this problem. When I was younger I would go to my Mom's side of the bed and tell her my tummy hurt. I had this problem clear through high school, but it just disappeared after I graduated. I obviously did not receive a perfect attendance award!

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