18 May 2008

Earliest Memories

My friend, Allison, told me last week that her niece has a staph infection in her leg. That triggered quite a few memories for me because when I was almost three I had a staph infection in my knee, and I was in the hospital for 25 days! I recently posted about how I ought to write more about memories, so here are a few things I remember very well from my nearly-month-long stay in the hospital and a few other related events.

I recall very distinctly waking up for several mornings and telling my mom that my knee hurt. She would give me a Baby Tylenol, and I thought that was really great. Those things tasted quite good to me, but I want to make it noted that I didn't say my knee hurt just so I could have a tasty chewable drug. My knee actually did hurt.

I don't remember going to the doctor or arriving at the hospital, but I do have quite a few memories of being in the hospital. You might not expect it, but most of those memories are rather positive.

Since my parents couldn't be with me all the time, people from the ward came to stay with me. They pretty much always brought toys for me. Somebody brought me a plush mallard duck. It had a stick in the bottom that controlled the head so you could turn the head side to side, and you could tuck its head into its back like a really mallard duck! Then, all the kids in the hospital received white versions of the same duck I had, and of course, I thought it was great that I'd now have TWO cool ducks. But you know what? They (whoever "they" were) decided since I already had one, I didn't need a second! And I felt really gypped that I didn't get a white one.

I also got a plush panda bear, which I named "Michelle." I still hold a special place in my heart for that bear. I also have a vague recollection of getting some bath toys.

I pretty much always had IVs in me, and I got really accustomed to hearing the beeps of the machines, particularly when I was in a room with lots of other kids. Once we were taken to another room to watch Ghostbusters, and some kid started pressing all his buttons on his IV machine. I thought to myself that he was not supposed to do that (I must have learned early in my stay that touching the buttons was NOT allowed, and if I touched them nurses would have to come and fix what I had messed up and they might have to stick me again!). My dad says that when a machine would go off, I would look up and proclaim proudly, "It's not mine!"

I was quite a small child, so sometimes the nurses had a hard time getting the IVs in my veins properly. And sometimes they would fall out when I moved. I remember not ever wanting to get shots but also getting used to it. My mom told me that I could scream as loud as I wanted, but I wasn't allowed to move. I wonder if, by the end of my stay, I had toned down my screaming at all.

I was in the hospital during Halloween that year. Instead of going trick-or-treating, people came dressed up to us. Somebody came in an alligator costume, I recall. Like, a full-out mascot-style alligator costume. I happened to be holding a box of raisins when he (she?) walked in the room, and I jumped off my bed, spilling all the raisins, to go give that alligator a hug and a kiss. I think my siblings came to visit me that night, too.

I remember my mom giving me baths in the sink.

I remember getting new roommates. And I remember that my favorite one and I would toss nerf balls back and forth into each other's beds. It was great fun! And one day he or she had to leave.

One time I got taken to a big room to play with tons of other kids. But I couldn't walk yet. And I remember playing with a ball until it rolled away, then sitting there with nothing to do because I couldn't walk to the other toys.

And best of all, I remember all the people coming in and telling me how cute I was because, well, I was pretty dang cute. I guess it made me less cute, then, that I got really annoyed with all the heaped praise about my cuteness, so I started sticking my tongue out at anybody who told me I was cute.


Alice said...

i gave you the duck,
love mom

John said...

Thinking back as I read your memories, I felt sad. But I don't remember it as being a sad time, at that time. I remember how so many of the ward rallied around to help out. A great experience of the strength of a ward family.