Memories of Hospitals Past

I’ve caught a cold (at least that’s all I hope it is) and that’s got me thinking about how odd it is that two of my oldest memories involve hospitals.

I don’t remember the order they happened though. I also don’t remember exactly where they happened but I’ll try to tell them backwards.

I remember one time being in the hospital when I was around six or seven. I only remember this because I remember the TV show Toma coming on which usually happened around my bedtime. I remember calling the nurses’ station to ask the time because there either wasn’t a clock in the room or I had the worst powers of observation ever. (I’m leaning toward the latter.) When she told me it was nine, I shut off the TV and went to bed.

I don’t remember why I was in the hospital, but I remember having an IV and I vaguely remember seeing it in my arm after it was inserted. I also remember that the IV needle was held in place by a board, half of a medicine cup and most of the medical tape available in the USA at the time. It was, basically, the school age kid equivalent of a “cone of shame” for dogs.

I also remember learning the lesson about pulling the tape off quickly not slowly. I learned that the hard and painful way when the “arm cone of shame” was taken off.

Before that, when I was five or so, I had my tonsils removed. All I remember about that day was the surgery itself. I still remember the lights above the bed and the mask being put on my face and the ether being pumped through. (It might have been Halothane, but ether is cooler in a “Yeah, I’ve totally been doing ether since I was five” kind of way so I claim it was ether.) I remember it feeling, or perhaps smelling, like perfume and it definitely tasted like perfume. I count this as the only thing I ever remember smelling, but it may have just been the taste and the vapors in my nose tricking me into thinking I could smell.

I remember holding my breath and then finally giving in to the doctor’s instructions to take deep breaths and then count backward from 100. I think I got to 95, but I don’t remember.

The other thing I remember is gross. I remember waking up in the recovery room and that mom was there. I then remember throwing up blood.

(For the record, it’s the throwing up blood that was gross, not the fact mom was there. Also, it should not be inferred that mom’s presence caused me to throw up.)



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