Story written and published in 2005
I've never done anything the easy way. If 99 out of 100 procedures are successful I will be the 100th one who fails. I couldn't have my tonsils out when I was a small child like most people do: I waited until I was 16. I had my share of sore throats, but my tonsils were never bad when I was little.
I can remember being so afraid, even if I was 16. In fact, being 16 may have made it worse. I hadn’t been in the hospital before and wasn’t sure what to expect, even though I had been with family members in the hospital many times. Mother promised me the nurses would give me ice cream after the surgery and that helped smooth things out. There was one more thing that encouraged me to make this trip to the hospital. I had a terrible crush on a boy at church. Of course, being the wall flower, it was a completely one sided infatuation. He was my “buddy” and dated one of my girl friends. It would hurt so badly when he asked me questions about her. I always wondered why he couldn’t see that I was the one who was best for him. It was obvious to me of course. In my 16 year old mind I just knew he would come visit me in the hospital and maybe recognize me as his one true love if we were away from everyone else. I was very careful to pack my best gowns so I would look pretty. I especially remember this because when the doctor came in to examine me he teased that patients always wore gowns in the hospital to make it difficult for the doctor. He didn’t know why they didn’t wear pajamas like they did at home. The idea that this boy would one day love me seems foolish now, but then it was a wonderful, hopeful vision. Naturally, he didn’t come see me and we never had a date.
This was way back when they put you in the hospital the night before surgery to get you ready. It was scary being there alone. I had been so protected and sheltered that I wasn’t nearly as mature and confident as some 16 year olds. I can remember Mother being with me before surgery. I’m sure Daddy and my grandparents were there too, but Mother is the one who made an impression on me. She actually kissed me on the cheek and told me she loved me. This may seem a small gesture that many of you experienced on a daily basis, but my mother wasn’t that way. She always told me she wasn’t shown affection as a child and didn’t know how to be affectionate with us. I knew she loved me, she just wasn’t demonstrative. She showed us her love when she cooked, washed, doctored, cleaned, taught, etc. This simple kiss was the first one I remember receiving from her. She told me later that she kissed me when I was a baby and I just don’t remember. Later in her life, especially after the grandchildren were born, she learned to give and receive affection and I am so thankful for that. We all would have missed so much: she more than anyone. When I woke up from the tonsillectomy, she was there and had bought me the most beautiful flower I had ever seen. It was a pink Cyclamen and I will never forget the beauty of the flower and the love it represented. I know I cried then and I usually cry every time I see one. They have come to represent love and the warmth of a mother’s touch. You know, I never did get any ice cream from those nurses, but Mother corrected that when she got me home. I got all the ice cream I wanted and was put to bed on the couch so I could watch television. She covered me with the “sick blanket” and took care of me for a whole week.
I miss my mother, that old couch and the sick blanket, amongst other things. Most of all, I would give anything to feel her lips brush my cheek with a kiss – just one more time.
April 9, 2005
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