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
they really aren't very far
bobbing around and having a swim
by the bed
right here in a jar
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."