Today’s memory challenge is inspired by me not feeling so great. I know it is emotional/psychological whatever, partial meltdown due to all the construction stuff across the last week and a half and a lot to do with not feeling like I can write anymore (which is slightly different for me than not feeling like a writer.) Anyway, I am going to try to NOT think about that and pretend instead that I am just a regular kind of sick, the kind you get over after you rest for a few days.
So today’s memories are about being sick as a child.
When I was little and I had the stomach flu or just an upset stomach (which happened with much regularity) my mom would always bring me the little pink plastic bucket. It was half the size of a regular bucket, just right to hold on my lap.
We lived next door to a family that owned the local Chinese restaurant (back then there was only one). When I was sick their grandmother would always send over my favorite foods – fried won tons and fried shrimp. My grandmother would worry that it would just make me sicker and that I wouldn’t be able to keep it down but it always made me feel better.
I have had a “nervous stomach” all my life. An ulcer at 5. I used to get so excited about activities at school that I would make myself sick and miss them completely.
The only time I was in the hospital as a child was when I was 4 and I had my adenoids taken out (but they left my tonsils because back then they still thought they did something useful.) I remember getting a new doll for the trip to the hospital. Her name was Suzy and she was one of those life-sized dolls that would walk with you when you held her hand. My mom left Suzy in my hospital bed when she took me for a walk and one of the nurses was quite surprised to find her in my bed.
What do you remember about being sick as a child?
I recall times when I could “make myself sick.” And it wasn’t to skip school for the purpose of “just staying home.” I’d worry myself into sickness.
But there was one time, when I was older –almost 10– when I made myself sick to “skip something.” It wasn’t school. It was the Ice Capades. The Ice Capades now seem like an “often” experience –seems like there’s always one going on. But back in 1964, they were fairly new. It was quite a BIG deal for my family to go to this event.
But I had found out earlier that week that the Beatles were going to be on some variety show doing a skit from “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” I couldn’t miss this! I had been bitten good by the beatlemania bug. I was obsessed!
I laid the groundwork well. Came home early Friday evening and said I didn’t feel all that well. When I awoke Saturday, I had brought on enough “symptoms” to have everyone fooled. My mom scuffed and grumbled that I would be missing this once-in-a-lifetime show. (But she didn’t realize I would be missing another once-in-a-lifetime show, if I did go!)
The ruse worked. I stayed home. (I don’t recall with whom). And when 9 o’clock rolled around, I convinced “whomever” –as I read from the TV Guide– “oh look, there’s this silly show — might as well watch this.”
Then I acted surprised –as surprised as a “sick child” should get– when the Beatles appeared for their skit.
It was really a rather silly skit at that. And was maybe all of 15 minutes long. And I had just passed on this two-hour show. With my “sickness.”
But this was The Beatles!
Re: SICK child…
Okay, that gets my vote for the best memory of the day and the most devious kid! Anything for the Beatles, I understand totally!
A great (but a little sad) memory you shared with us.
Thanks. Such is life….or at least the way mine is woven.
I remember having chronic tonsillitis in eighth grade and playing it to the hilt–I can’t believe I passed that year, I took so much time off.
LOL on passing in spite of!
My mother couldn’t handle a sick kid, so if we could walk, we went to school. If the school nurse sent us back home, we were banished to the bedroom, not allowed to watch tv or read or play with toys, etc. I think the two weeks that I had mumps and measles drove both me and my mother crazy. School was a welcome relief afterh that.
Interesting character trait there, that your mother couldn’t handle a sick child. Thank you for sharing.
I remember getting German measles when I was 9 and having to miss a piano recital (which I wanted to play at). It’s a very clear memory. I was so disappointed.
A doctor, years later, told me that I had never had German measles, and insisted on giving me the shot for it a few times. (German measles can be dangerous for a woman of childbearing years). I still think I’m right and she was wrong.
You know there must have been something weird going around because I also had German measles as a child but when I got pregnant the first time they told me there was no evidence I had ever had it. I was freaked out the entire pregnancy.
I had a sick shirt. It was so comfy! We also always got the couch and free reign of the TV when we were sick.
Love the idea of a sick shirt!
This was not that big a deal, but it stuck with me for some reason.
I was in about 2nd or 3rd grade, barely able to stay awake during a movie (and I remember it actually being a non-sleep-inducing film). I made it through the rest of the afternoon, put on my coat and started down the long school walkway, needing to stop a few paces into the blacktop to squat and catch my breath so I could cross the rest of the way to the carpool line. I didn’t know what was wrong with me — actually kind of scared — until my mom told me my temperature was 104.
I’m not sure how I made it through the day; I’d gone to the nurse with much more minor ailments. But I do remember being relieved that there was an explanation to the way I felt.
Ooh, I think this is neat the way this event has stuck in your brain! Thanks for sharing.
You made me remember my tonsillectomy! I think I was 8 but I’m not sure. Parents could only come for short visits in those days, and you stayed in a week — I still remember how horrible it was to be sick without my mother, who was at her very best with a sick child, lucky for me.
On the day I was to be let out, the MEAN NURSE (Ratchet’s cousin, I think!) upset me terribly by telling me that if I didn’t drink my gingerale I could NOT GO HOME. At that point, I was sure she bossed God, and I believed her totally. I managed to hold back the tears until she left the room, but I was devastated. I COULD NOT drink that gingerale — in my drama-queen sickly state, I was sure I was never going home. Another little girl, a bit older, who had something dire and had been in for ages, came right over and calmed me down. I will always remember her!
At age 7, on the day my aunt graduated as an RN, I was very proud to be the only child to accompany my mother and grandparents to the fancy ceremony. Unfortunately I got sick — I can’t remember the details, just the sleepy, dreamy, surreal feeling, and knowing my skin was hotter than sunburn long before the adults realized I had a wild fever. Once they did, we left abruptly — I guess it was a pretty wild fever. My mother was stopped for speeding on the way home, but was in ‘a state’ by the time he got up to the window. When the cop got a look at me, he waved her on through.
Turns out I had scarlet fever — that was a big deal even then, in 1967, though I don’t think it was too dangerous by that time. This was one of my mother’s family legends — she was a storyteller that could keep the room spellbound with simple tales like this.
Great story! Very scary to think of having scarlet fever (glad you were okay!). I just loved reading this. Thank you!
At some fair, my mom had won a big, pink mouse that we (she?) named Rufus. I have NO idea where the name came from. If we were really sick, we got Rufus and the afghan (which I think was actually kind of itchy) and seven-up and attention.
If we were faking it, or she thought we were, we got to lie flat on our bed in a quiet dark room, without even reading, because clearly we needed to “rest.”
We didn’t fake it often! 🙂
LOL on Rufus! I love that idea. A sick shirt from meredith and a sick mouse from you.
I wouldn’t fake it often either. But then it never dawned on me to fake being sick since I made myself sick so often for real. 🙂
I remember when I was very little–I know I could talk, but I couldn’t have been older than four–and my mom gave me cough medicine. After ten minutes, I decided that it wasn’t working, so I needed some more, so I climbed onto the counter and pour myself another cupful. My poor mother (and I am the first born) called poison control in a panic (who wouldn’t have been?), who told her to give me some milk and chill out on the couch.
The next time I had an medical emergency, I climbed on a kitchen stool and it fell on my toe, fracturing it. My parents raced me to the ER where I got a really boring cast, but I got to stay home from preschool and watch Winnie-the-Pooh in the recliner.
I climbed things a lot as a kid. I’m surprised the toe incident was my only fracture.
Wow, you were an adventurous child!
I love your story about Suzy. Creepy! I was in the hospital at 2 to have my tonsils out, and that’s my earliest memory, coming home to Christmas! Well, not really Christmas, but ice cream whenever I wanted and presents, too.
My parents (ok, my dad) have issues with authority and don’t care for doctors, who they think are mostly not much good and out to scam you. We never went to the doctor unless it was unavoidable. I remember several occasions going and having the doctor chastise my mom: Why didn’t you bring her in a week ago? I would always get so many bug bites (bugs love me, and they live all freakin’ year long in Florida) and on a couple of occasions got staph infections in my blood, so my legs were covered with scabs that just wouldn’t heal. Ick.
I also remember my mom rubbing Vicks VapoRub on my chest/throat when I was little and was super-congested. No patches back then:>)
Take care, Susan. I’m so sorry this vacation hasn’t turned out the way you planned.
Love your memories, Laura, as they evoke a clear image of characters for me!
The vacation was good (any time away from the day job is good) I am just doing my normal doubting writing stuff.
When I was about five, my neighbor died of cancer. I remember when they took her to the hospital and my dad said that she’d gone there to die. My dad was a firm believer in hospitals being where you go to die — alone.
This was about the same time the television was doing a big campaign on the warning signs of cancer. I watched it avidly so I could be aware in case my time was coming.
Sure enough, I soon got sick. I was feverish and peeing blood — I think one of the warning signs was blood in the “stool” but dad called the toilet, the “stool” so there you have it. I clearly had cancer.
I didn’t tell anyone. I just quietly got my affairs in order. I gave my little brother some of my good stuff so my big brother wouldn’t hog it all when I died. I tried to be extra nice to my folks (just in case I was a little rocky on the good side of going to heaven). And I took my suffering like a good little martyr, looking towards my reward in the great beyond (my folks watched a lot of church stuff on TV).
Then I started throwing up — a lot. Mom finally noticed and hauled me to the doctor where it was discovered I had a kidney infection of some magnitude. I was running a nasty temp and in considerable pain.
The doctor asks me if my urine is pink. I say, no…it’s more orangey-red. He asks how long it’s been like that. I tell him a few days.
He was really not happy with Mom for not bringing me in sooner. And he says I have to go to the hospital. I promptly got totally hysterical. I wanted to die at home.
Finally the doctor relented and gave me some kind of shot and he actually CAME TO OUR HOUSE every day to check on me and give me another shot.
Right…the doctor made house calls.
Wow! What a picture you painted. Of course this is a scene right from a book you are going to write. 🙂
Isn’t it amazing how many of us were such good little martyrs as children? 🙂
Thanks for sharing your memory with me. It’s so good to see you posting around!
the tears and stress headaches
Oh my lord. When I was a kid I was frequently feverish. And when I was feverish, I got delirious. My mind raced and spun and I had to look for external things to slow me down and even me out — my record player, my mother’s voice. It felt very close to being completely crazy… so out of grasp with myself was I. And it somehow set an important tone for the perspective I stepped into the rest of my life with…
And as for you. I’m so sorry. That you’re sick. Get well. And that you feel like you can’t write anymore. You can. And all that. Breathe deeply, sleep tight….