Thursday, June 24, 2010

No More Tonsils

When I was very young I was sick a lot. At least that is what my Mom always told me. I do have many  memories of being sick though. One in particular was when I was about three years old. I had croup. I remember laying on the couch while my Mom set up the ironing board over me and made a little tent and had hot steaming water under it. Then heading to the bathroom for the regular steam treatment. None worked. I remember heading to the hospital with my parents and my Dad sitting in a rocking chair with me while we were waiting to be admitted and telling him, "Well, that's the way the cookie crumbles." No idea why. I was in the hospital for about a week (I think) and in an oxygen tent. I have memories of standing by the window and watching my parents drive away. I remember a little boy & his mom coming to visit and bringing me a stuffed Clifford dog. Yes, Clifford was around that long ago!

But today my memory is suppose to be about age 6. 

Being the fourth child of five, I'd like to think my parents knew what they were doing in regards to raising us and taking care of us. In fact, our family doctor used to call my Mom "Dr. Gillespie." She would bring us in and he would ask her what she thought was wrong with us. Nine times out of ten she was right. 

So when I was six years old my Mom suggested that part of the problem with me being sick all the time were my rather large tonsils. She pushed to have these removed and even though the doctor didn't think it would make a difference, he agreed. After all, she was Dr. Gillespie.

When you are six, everything seems bigger than it really is. However, back in 1978 having your tonsils removed was not day surgery. In fact, I'm pretty sure "day surgery" hadn't even begun to happen at that point.

I was admitted to the hospital the night before the scheduled surgery. It was a brand new modern hospital in the next small town over. In fact, I was going to be the first surgical patient in this new hospital or so I was told. All I remember is being scared. I was sleeping in a large room all by myself. I know for a fact I drove the nurse bonkers that night. I think I rang the bell every 10 minutes or so and told her I had to use the bathroom. I didn't want to be there at all. No matter how much ice-cream I was being promised!

The next morning my parents arrived and I was prepped for surgery. The lights seemed so bright above me as I was wheeled down the hallway into the operating room. I was allowed to pick out a stuffed animal to hold and I chose a Scooby-Doo doll because Scooby-Doo is cool as all six years know.

Then the anesthesiologist put the mask over my face and asked me to count backwards from ten for him. I was positive I wouldn't fall asleep. I think I made it to "nine."

Waking up from anesthesia for me is awful. Although, it's probably worse for those with me. I cry. Inconsolably cry. My Mom tried distracting me and it worked to some degree. New coloring books, crayons, and stickers hold great sway over most six year olds. I have a vague memory of some Colorforms too. Now those were cool!

I was scheduled to be in the hospital for two nights after the surgery. My father also planned some elective  surgery. If I remember right, it was to repair his carpal tunnel on at least one wrist. He was admitted the day of my surgery and we were roommates. I was much happier now that my Dad was there. 

However, the next day things changed. I remember my Mom sitting with me on her lap in a rocking chair in my room at the hospital. My Dad was in having his surgery. My Mom was crying while she held me. This had a huge impact on me because my mom was crying. This shakes every six-year-olds world just a bit.

I learned later that the hospital was essentially kicking me out a day early. My parents had worked out this surgery schedule so they could be there for me in the hospital. I was suppose to stay two nights so my Dad would have been there with me. I am assuming that at the time parents weren't allowed to spend the night in rooms. I wasn't on a pediatric floor either but on the regular surgical floor. Instead my Mom now had to take a post-surgical child home earlier than anticipated and her husband was in the hospital recovering from his own surgery. 

However, my Mom was right. After my tonsils and adenoids were removed I was never seriously ill again.

The bill for my entire hospital stay was $337.45. My parents had to pay $3 of that. The rest was covered by their insurance. My middle son had a T&A in November. Our portion of that surgery - after our insurance - was $2500. Thank goodness for payment plans.


  1. I too have a memory of being in an oxygen tent when I was younger. I was three- or four-years-old and am almost positive that this hospital stay (it was pneumonia) is what lead to my insane fear of needles. Ugh. Blood gases were NOT fun.

    Your mom sounds like a smart cookie too. :)

  2. That was such a fun story! I know I may be crazy, but growing up I always wished I could go be in the hospital overnight. I loved doctors and the big bright rooms we went to for checkups, but that was about the only time I ever went to the hospital! My first surgery was a few years ago for my wisdom dentists I fear!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. i was sick as a child and adult.. sucks.. but I remember colorforms... they did rock

  4. So interesting in so many ways...I am a mom of six and that is how my doctor treats me, because I too have usually figured it out by the time we get there.
    Yes, medical cost or insane, our son needs 15K of dental work, I am sure my dental for all the years as a child were in the hundreds and I had braces.
    I see you are a home school am I...home educated now 21 years.
    Stopped by from group 2 of Mommy Piggy Tales,

  5. Wow! What a story! You have sweet memories of your parents from it though!
    p.s. I'm following you now!

  6. That must have been SO SCARY seeing your parents drive away! Our youngest is 7 and I could never do that to him!


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