Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week 21 of 2012 - Childhood Surgeries

THANK GOODNESS this will be a short post...which means I was very fortunate with childhood illness, accidents and medical issues.  I do remember that in a family with six children, when one was ill there were five more that would usually pick up the germ and follow the lead.  It seems that when the six Smith kids were young, the common childhood ills included sore throats, croup, occasional stomach flu and more sore throats.  We also experienced chicken pox, mumps (which were not a big deal back then) and measles (which was a big deal) seems like we all had the chicken pox (baths with baking soda, lots of itching and scabs), a couple of us had mumps (fat, sore glands in the neck) and I really don't think we had measles...but I'm not sure.  I don't know what the fear was with measles, but I remember that was the biggee.

Sore throat, however, was universal.  It always meant a trip to the doctor in Romeo, and home with a bottle of penicillen filled from either the Rexall Drug Store or Morley's Drug Store in Romeo.  After 5 days of antibiotic, the fever would subside and the next child became sick.  When the sore throat was so severe that you couldn't even swallow saliva, it was strep throat.  Mom would look in your throat with a flashlight for the evidence...white spots on the tonsils...and a trip back to the doctor...and more penicillin.  It happened so often for Susie and I that the doctor gave Mom a guideline.  If the girls have more than five occurances in one calendar year, the tonsils and adenoids have to be removed.  This went on for several years, with neither of us making the quota, until we were teenagers.

Susie, age 13, and Pam, age 16, were scheduled for surgery as soon as school was out in 1967 at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester, Michigan.  I only remember being in the same room and waking up to this horrific sore throat.  I looked over at Susie in the next bed and her large, brown eyes were looking at me with horror.  WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME????   Like it was my fault or something.  It was the worst pain of my 16 years. 

At that point, talking was not an option, but the offer of ice cream was met with an affirmative nod of the head.  Sitting Susie up in bed brought the first major reaction....instant vomiting...and she wasn't getting ice cream.  I don't remember it, but she says I ate mine...and hers....right in front of her.

Long story short, we were released and were to take it easy and no talking for a few days.  No talking was not in my vocabulary and I resumed...or normal routine, only to find out that 3-5 days recovery time turned into 3 weeks of hell.  Sue was raring to go and feeling great in less than a week.

Moral of the story: 
 Get your tonsils out at 5 years, not 16.  Follow Dr's orders and DO NOT TALK.  In the end, all was worth it, as I have never had a sore throat since.  But the shared surgery was only one bonding experience for Sue and Pam.  More to follow in subsequent posts!


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