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Tuesday, 06 May 2014

Little Billy Weatherstone's Tonsillitis, Age Five

By Old Bill Weatherstone who blogs at The Diesel Gypsy

In the early days, the 1930s and 40s, doctors used to make house calls on a regular basis. (Not so today.)

Every time the doctor left our place, he would tack a bright red quarantine sign on our door for the measles, mumps, chicken pox and who knows what other exotic disease was discovered. I had enough red cards over a couple years to use as wall paper in my room.

It was time to get ready to sign into first grade in school but at that time, I had to have a medical check-up because of all the contagious diseases that I accumulated.

The search came up with tonsillitis and had to be removed before entering school.

The big day arrived and I had no idea as to what was about to happen.

My mother and I walked the 10 blocks to the Sarnia general hospital early in the morning.

I was led into a ward and assigned to a bed at the end of the room. A ward at that time meant at least eight beds, not like today’s version of two or three beds in the ward.

Redressed and in bed, (with the usual peek-a-boo back side) waiting my turn to go into the operating room, a horribly mean looking nurse came to me pushing a platform with wheels on it.

I was picked up and set on it. I travelled down the aisle sitting up and getting more terrified as we came to the door of the operating room. It was wide open and waiting for me. I could see the walls were painted a sick, dull green whose appearance alone made you want to throw up.

I was in full terrified mode and entering through the door, I jumped up and grabbed the top of the door ledge and as the empty cart entered the room I was left dangling from the top of the door.

The crap really hit the fan then Ms. Miserable nurse screamed for help and two male orderlies and another nurse caught me and held me down on the cart.

As I was driven past a glass and metal cabinet, there was displayed all kinds of operating instruments, saws, knives and assorted unknown procedural gadgets. It took the whole gang to get me down.

We're talking about a kid who saw the Frankenstein movie in terrifying black and white. I assumed that the same doctor was going to operate.

The first thing that they did was to put cotton batten over my eyes and then a rubber blindfold. The next thing was a small flour sifter with a cotton cover was put over my nose and then sprinkled with ether.

That was when I saw myself in an all black space lying down and then slowly spinning and rising until I was out of sight and then all was black.

I had asked my aunt previously what it was like to be put out and that is how it was explained to me. Perhaps it was the power of suggestion that I had that particular experience.

I awoke back in bed and the first experience was to start filling up a bucket with vomit, until I felt like I was turned inside out.

I fell asleep for about an hour when my mother woke me up and dressed me.

As we were walking home, I said that I was very hungry and she responded that I was not allowed to eat until tomorrow. My head dropped and felt like it was time to finish dieing when she said, “The doctor told me that you were only allowed ice cream for today.”

I woke up and started to drag her to the restaurant for the promised food. It was the best five scoops of ice cream that I ever had, even to this day.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


It's been 70 years, but I remember the sensation of holding on to the end of a kite that was in the sky, going around and around. My "ordeal" was in the doctor's office but I didn't have to walk home.

Well written! Poor kid!

I'll bet the staff that attended you told the story of prying you off the door jamb a good long while!

what a well written story of an agonizing experience.
While it's easy to understand the terror-stricken moments, it was grand to see that you can chuckle about it now.

The inside of the nose piece had ribs which looked like train tracks and that's how I went under the ether, traveling on those tracks. And what fun when I woke up to have ice cream. However, one bite was all that needed to cause me to vomit. I was so disappointed as we didn't get ice cream very often.
Great story for bringing up the very distant past. Thanks.

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