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FISH BAIT

FISH BAIT

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.

 

gurney

                 gurney

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.

 

ether mask

       scary ether mask

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.

sun shinning!

            sun shinning!

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.

Fish bait or tonsils?

     Fish bait or tonsils?

THE DAILY POST – CHILDHOOD REVISITED

~Elle

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About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

13 responses »

  1. I was three, but I have no memory of it. Though I’ve been told I actually threw the ice cream at the nurse. I never made that mistake again. Now I can’t stop eating it. 🙂

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  2. When my brother and I had our tonsils out, he was also circumcized. He said he wondered why I didn’t complain of pain down there!

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  3. Fish bait? That’s the first time I’ve heard of that. Wonder if you DFad ever followed through.

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  4. I also have strong memories of getting my tonsils out when I was a child. It seemed like almost everyone had them removed back then. At least you got ice cream. I remember expecting to get ice cream at the hospital, but they never gave me any.

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  5. What an image…a small you all alone. Wish as kids, we could remember our thoughts. I recall being promised ice-cream when I woke up, as much as I wanted.

    Your mother, who collected crosses and ornaments…the one who left you such tradition, whenever she’s mentioned, makes me wish I had known her.

    Nostalgia certainly comes a’callin this time of year. Nice essay Elle 🙂

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  6. Yikes …. though the removal of the body part, known as tonsils, was very common in fifties, sixties and seventies? At least that’s my memory? Mine was in 1952 or so. Falling down with a bamboo stick in my mouth was not conducive, to keeping them then. I remember travelling by bus, to the hospital with Mom.

    Being reassured on the journey that recuperation meant ice cream, for morning, noon and night. Which was right but not that much as I remember? Rice pudding and soup, more so.

    Now, the rationale was that the throat infections, so common then. Would be alleviated? Now that I cannot attest to? Because I certainly remember virulent infections through the decades. Would they have been worse with the tonsils left in? I have not the foggiest?

    Still you did have company then, Elle.

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