The vision of being stretched out on a gurney and rolled down the corridor of a hospital has stuck with me since I was two. I’m sure it was because a tonsillectomy was a traumatic experience for a two-year-old, or should have been, but with family and friends in the mix the traumatic part was lost in the shuffle.
I remember it vividly. There were three of us having our tonsils removed that morning. My older stair-step sisters, Naomi (four) and Debbie (three) were going under the knife right beside me.
The hospital was across the street from our house – it was a small town – and my Uncle Rigsby (Dr. Hargrove) was the doctor presiding over our surgeries.
I know what you are thinking. Why would my mother have the tonsils removed from her three small children all at one time? I’m guessing convenience and maybe lack of consciousness from working night duty as an RN with three little girls under the age of five and a baby on the way. I’m not sure if Chip who is two years younger than me was born at this time or not.
Be that as it may, I envision my mother looking forward to a day or two of life without kids underfoot even though those kids would be spending the time in a hospital. I don’t blame her one bit! She trusted the hospital and the staff entirely with her wee ones. She had worked with most of these professionals and some, as the doctor, were even family.
That gurney being rolled down the hall with stiff white sheets pulled snug across my small body was the first memory I have of this event. As the door opened at the end of the hall, the nurses wheeled me outside and down the catwalk to the surgery room, and a huge scary black mask with ether came towards my face. To this day I can still remember that ether smell.
That was all she wrote until I woke up to sun shining through the windows of a hospital room with both my sisters in beds next to me. Ice cream and lots of it was on the menu for the next few days as we healed from the surgeries.
Uncle Rigsby, being the doting uncle he was, had put our tonsils in three little jars for us to see and Daddy swore he was going to use them for fish bait.