Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Day of the Tonsils...Removal In Progress


The Grandgirl has an important date with destiny on Monday, the 3rd of August. Following in the footsteps (throatprints?) of her forefathers and mothers, her tonsils have become her worst enemy. We have family stories about the trips to hospitals to have the offending appendages removed. None are pretty. No names have been changed. No one is innocent.

I was in the fourth grade. Having just gotten over my umpteeth bout with tonsilitis, I was told that we had to do something about the situation. Nothing was explained as to just what we were going to do about it, but the whispered conferences between parents and grandparents became more intent after the last round of penicillin shots and being chased down by the Grandmother so she could "mop" my throat. You see, there was a medication back then called Gentian Violet. My grandmother found it to be the best antiseptic for throats since Merthiolate. If you said your throat was sore, out came the big purple bottle and the big cotton swab. She's say, "open wide, let me look at those tonsils" and Bob's your uncle, you found yourself gagging and spitting purple. It dyed your entire mouth, teeth included. We dared not admit to a sore throat within her hearing. If anyone was being asked if their throat was sore by Mammy, there would be another grandchild behind her signaling like a demented windmill to say nothing!

Daddy said that Mammy was going to kill one of us with the Gentian Violet one day. I remember once when I returned home with purple teeth him saying to my mother, "she does know that's horse remedy for wounds, right?" Mind you, this is the same woman who gave us turpentine on sugar cubes before we went into the woods to prevent redbug infestations. I fully understand the concept of old wives tales and for the life of me, don't understand how so many of them attained the distinction of old wives.

So one day, Mama picked me up early at school. She told me we were going shopping. And we did. She bought me the cutest pair of pajamas and a nifty robe. Now, we were children who never slept in anything but our underwear and one of Daddy or Daddy Dwight's (the Grandfather) old teeshirts. Pajamas were considered a waste of money. When we left Belk's, Mama said we were going to visit Daddy at the Hospital. He worked at Hamlet Hospital, in Hamlet North Carolina with Dr. Bill James. So when we arrived, we went and sat in the office and Dr. Bill explained to me why I was really there. Okay, so there should be a cartoon of me about here......showing me with tears exploding out my eyes and wailing and foot kicking, arm thrashing and head twisting all going on at the same time. Okay, so after about 2 seconds of that (Mama had one of these looks that could wither a tomato on the vine) I agreed to the procedure but only if Daddy was the one who put me under. It was agreed all around and I was admitted. The next morning, the dirty deed was done and all hail the AMA, I was soon on the way to not being sick with tonsillitis ever again. Of course, my throat would still get sore every so often, but that's the way of life.

Michael was cursed with the same set of rotten tonsils as his mother. His ears stayed infected along with the tonsils and we were constantly at the Doc's. So, finally on his 12th birthday, they decided that the tonsils have to go. I took him to meet the surgeon, Dr. Firestein, who explained to Michael the situation he was now in. "You see Mike, your tonsils are your friends. They protect you by filtering out all kinds of bacteria and germs that would other wise cause you some sickness that we'd have to treat aggressively. " He pulled down a chart showing a little army, complete with helmets and guns, that was supposed to be the last defense of the body fort. He looked at Michael and said, "the bad news, son, is that your army has defected. They've turned on you, boy plain and simple. We need to pull out, now." And so that night, Michael was admitted to the hospital and the offending army was annihilated.

Arianna has had the misfortune to inherit the dreaded defecting army. We have known this for a while now. Michael and Anna have put off the surgery about as long as they can. The snoring and sleep apnea from the swelling has finally put paid to the situation. So on Monday, the last shot in the war against sore throats, inflamed adenoids and achy ears will be fired. We were going through some paper work today and I came across a card that I had written to Michael on the occasion of his Tonsillectomy. I wrote this (black ink as befits the occasion) for him to cheer him up:

On the Occasion of Michael's Tonsillectomy


Where oh where have my tonsils gone?
where or where can they be?
my throats on fire and my spitter don't work
why did they do this to me???

The Doctor said they had to go
did it have to be so soon?
they were all in a rush to get me tied down...
here in this hospital room...

Oh, here they are my tonsils
old friends
they really aren't very far
bobbing around and having a swim
by the bed
right here in a jar

Love Mom

So I find this ancient card and show it to Mac, who reads it solemnly, looks up at me and says
"don't show it to Arianna till Tuesday."

40 comments:

NitWit1 said...

I missed all the "fun" as a youngster. I had my tonsils removed at age 35.

However, it was not fun and probably not as a child, either.

Mushy said...

Great story gal...I still have mine and guess at this point I always will. Love the Supergirl outfit...I just had a towel!

Sally said...

Awwww, sweet little Arianna; I'll be thinking of her on Monday!

You tell the best stories, Sandi!! I remember when my daughter had hers removed; she was 11. I truly do believe though the earlier, the better. I've always been told the older, the harder it is.

Have a wonderful day!!

Lee said...

Sandi, I'm so sorry Ariana has to go through this but I remember my first hospital stay as pleasant enough. Those nurses are good at helping kids be okay while they are there. I'm sure you're gonna have lots of books for her to read and a stock of popsicles ready when she gets home. I must be blessed cause I still have mine.

My first surgery was a hernia operation when I was about age 5. They had cherry pie for desert that night for supper. I was pleased but that didn't last long because the anesthesia made me so sick afterwards that they had to dope me up with mophine so that I could keep food down.

Blessings and prayers for her speedy recovery and the doctors hands to be skilled and steady.

Hugs,
Lee

Finding Pam said...

I loved this story and it brought back many memories of my sore throats. Even though I was always sick with tonsilitis, I still have mine today. It was not the thing to do when I was a kid.

I pray that Ariana's surgery goes well and that she will be up and about soon.

Hugs, Pam

Moannie said...

Had tonsilitis every year of my life, till one year I had it so bad I was sent to the Isolation Hospital with suspected Diptheria. After tests they let me go home. Still have my tonsils in my head.

It was the fad then to take 'em out at the first sore throat, then the fad came to leave 'em in.

Seems to me they do a good job.

Good luck to Arianna

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Sweet memories......I still have my tonsils, as do all of my children. My oldest grandson, who lived with us until he was 11, had his out when he was 4. I will never forget the look of betrayal as he awakened from the anesthesia and demanded that we put them back!

Mickle in NZ said...

While your Super-Girl will end up being Super-Better, my heart goes out to her, and her parents and grandparents all a-loving and a-caring about her. yet there will be some pain and discomfort.

Have the ice cream ready for your Super-Girl. It has to be healing - a very experienced nurse recommended a full on milkshake for me after having most of the colon removed....

(Only Mickle doesn't like full fat milk - I got the needed (for me) protein levels up with craved for egg sandwiches!!)

Super care and gentle huggles to your lovely girl,

Michelle xxx, and sending purrrrrrrumbling from Zebbycat (heaps beter than his snoring!)

Brian Miller said...

still have mine secure in my throat...but oft dreamed as a child of all the ice cream. nice supergirl outfit. hope everything goes well for her on Monday.

Nessa said...

Rabbit, Rabbit!

Wow, what tonsil history :)

No one in our family has had their tonsils removed.

I loved the tonsil and that version of Over the rainbow is my favorite.

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Anya said...

Hi Sandi
So super cute picture ^__^
and a very lovely story ...
Thanks for the SMILE:)

Butterfly Gardener said...

Bless ya'lls heart. I've never had to go through anything like that before. Best wishes for your sweet girl and hopes she's feeling better soon!

Maggie May said...

My tonsils were yanked out when I was 12 and before they were, my mum was having a great argument with me for being naughty and she said, "And what's more next week you are having your tonsils out!" So I thought it was some kind of punishment.
I felt I could never fully trust her after that.

Hope little granddaughter gets over hers very fast.

jennifer said...

I never had to use Gentian Violet but I shuddered when you said "Merthiolate".

Sounds like y'all are a family of successful tonsil-less folks. I'm sure all will go smoothly.

Sandy Kessler said...

tonsils are nothing to a supergirl !!sandy

SandyCarlson said...

Oh the drama! I missed it when I was younger. Still have the rascals.

I hope all goes well for her on Monday.

John said...

Awww, Supergirl is so cute and I'm sure that she'll sail right on through this with minimal difficulties. And, I'm with Mac, I hope that she doesn't read any of this until several Tuesdays after the event. I'll be keeping parents and grandparents in prayer, Supergirl, too, of course.

Mima said...

Sandi, my thoughts will be with you all for Monday. I still have mine but remember being very jealous of my little sister when she had hers removed as she was given presents & chocolates to make her better!!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Great story Sandi - will be thinking of Arianna on Monday - hope the procedure goes well and she is soon fully recovered. A x

Jeanne said...

I was one of those kids that had trouble with my tonsils too. Maybe that's why I love ice cream so much that was my treat after, plenty of ice cream. hehe. Glad it wasn't any of the remedies your family had. Yikes!

Akelamalu said...

This brought back memories for me Sandi. I was five years old when I had to go into hospital to have my tonsils removed. I was only in overnight but I remember crying my eyes out wanting my Mum and Dad - they were told not to visit because it would upset me! How cruel was that? Even the ice-cream (the only thing one could eat after a tonsilectomy) didn't appease me.

I remember Gentian Violet too - I was unfortunate enough to have impetigo on my face and my Dad used to paint it with GV at night, though it was always washed off the following morning for school. I would only let Dad paint my face if he told me the story of the Little Gingerbread Man. :)

Mary said...

Sandi
Hope all goes well for her get her some fab ice cream for post Mary

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

Oh, I hate tonsil-pulling! I hope all goes well for the little one. I, too, had it done as a little girl. It's no fun for anyone -- except perhaps the ice cream and jell-o that follows....

Hilary said...

I think it was indeed a fad of the 50s. My sister and I shared a hospital room as we had ours removed at the same time.. geesh.

Sending best thoughts for your sweetie's speedy recovery.

Love Bears All Things said...

Best wishes to the sweetie. I hope you all haven't been telling her war stories and scaring her to death.
Loved reading your account of the dreaded deed. I remember that purple stuff being used for Thrush and also for wounds on the family hound. Loved the story of the little army in ones throat.
Mama Bear

Pondside said...

Your family story is ours. I argued with doctors in three counries before they finally took our our son's tonsils. He'd been on antibiotics for a ful year with infection after infection. After the removal he never had another throat or ear infection. His 22 month old son already has tubes in his ears after multiple ear infections - I see a trip to the OR in his future!
All the best to your wee grandgirl!

Jeni said...

My "army" defected on me when I was 7 1/2 -around Easter break that year. For my older daughter it happened about a year earlier than did mine. But for little Kurtis -my sweetpea grandson -his troops went south before he was even three years old -a year ago come September! Poor little fellow had no vocabulary at all then, couldn't tell us anything of the pain he was having, the fears, terror really, that he experienced in the hospital stay and we had no means of trying to soothe him either! A rough week that was for him and for the entire family! But, since then, the nasty colds and other infections have let up a lot. Now if only the allergy things could be removed as easily, huh?
Hope all goes well for Arianna when the deed gets done!

Expat mum said...

Maggie's comment brought a tear! Poor mite!
I distincly remember having my tonsils out at the age of four (in the 60s). Your parents didn't stay with you then, but I was in a room with one other child and I remember some really nice young girls (must have been nurses) taking me to the loo/bathroom in the middle of the night (probably 8pm) and commenting on how "canny" (ie. sweet) I was.
They seemed to have stopped it for a long time but I hear it's now being done again.

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

Would you belive I still have mine???LOL!! Have a great week ....hugs,,,m..

jay said...

Aah, poor Arianna! But she will be OK. Kids do bounce back.

My husband had his tonsils out at the age of thirty five. I'd never seen a grown man cry with pain before. Much better to have them out young. ;)

CatHerder said...

awww..wishing her the best, and a speedy recovery....oh yeah, and LOTS AND LOTS of icecream :-)

Merisi said...

Sandi,
I hope everything went well!

Luckily, my tonsils are a hardy bunch, they stayed with me through thick and thin so far. Maybe I should try drinking more? ;-)

Pam said...

Thinking of your granddaughter and hoping all goes well today. That photo of her with the cat is the funniest thing. The cat looks quite scared. lol! I have many of those of myself at that age with our cat Tiger.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Hope the little sweetheart has an easy time of it today!I don't know of anyone in my family that has lost their tonsils. Enjoy your story Sandi!

Sally said...

Have been thinking of little precious today. Hope all went well with the surgery! ((hugs))

The Muse said...

(joy to be back!)

oh goodness...i still have mine...but my love had his removed at age 4 and swears by the stories he tells...Not a nice time...!

hugs to that little one..what a trooper!

lailani said...

What a great poem in your card! That is great.
I still have mine - have only had one bout with them and glad was the only one.

Smiles!

Susie Q said...

What a wonderful poem! You ARE the best you know...
my brother had his out but I still have mine. I missed all of that fun huh? : )

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

I still have my tonsils...maybe that's why I am "lucky" and don't get many colds or flu...who knows? But I do remember being very ill with tonsillitis until my early twenties and then it just stopped. My oldest son was a mess with earaches and sickness until they finally took out his tonsils and put the tubes in his ears. What a blessing that was. Hope you are having a great week Sandi. xo Lynn

SandyCarlson said...

Oh, I enjoyed that. You are great