Tuesday, June 5, 2007

TCC: The Second Crumb, Part II

My reign of terror came to a screeching halt when my tonsils were removed in Harrison, AR (I think) when I was 5 years old. For they failed to do a throat culture on me before preforming the procedure.

So? Well, it so happened that I had a Group A streptococcal infection (strep throat) present at the time; and I subsequently contracted a very serious disease by the name of: Rheumatic Fever, which was left undiagnosed for several weeks.

Thankfully: the next job was in Minnesota. For the doctors up there were quite familiar with the disease. Whereas: most of the doctors down south at the time were not. For Rheumatic Fever rarely reared its ugly head south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

My parents were advised to get me to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. For even in 1963: the medical facility had quite a reputation for going above and beyond the standard call of duty for their patients; and it was there that I was correctly diagnosed.

Alas, I do not have much of a memory of my earliest days. For what recollections I do have are mostly rather hazy at best; but the sight of that Mayo Clinic doctor coming up to my mother with the results of the tests that they had done is as clear unto me as if it happened just a few minutes ago.

I was so scared. For they had left me sitting all alone on an examination table in a room with large windows (kinda like being placed in a petri dish); and then I saw my mother put her right hand over her mouth, go almost completely limp, and start sobbing.

No, the news was not all bad. For I did have a slight heart murmur; but the disease had mostly attacked my joints. Therefore: it was quite treatable with Penicillin; and aside from not being able to walk very well for around 2 years: my life was expected to return to normal (for me) after a short stay in the hospital, which was really just to be on the cautious side.

I do not remember just how short of a stay I really had in the hospital up there in Minnesota; but I do have some very clear memories of actually being there. Perhaps it is because of the pain involved? For my legs did hurt a lot; and then there were: needles, needles, needles, and more needles. Nonetheless: I also have some good memories of my parents bringing me G.I. Joe stuff; and enough comic books to jam my over-active imagination into overdrive!

Yes, I can see now that my stay in hospital, along with my time of convalescence at home, was truly a great blessing. For it was during that period that I learned about the joys of reading; and not all of my reading material was about Superman, Batman, and Spiderman. For I practically wore the covers off of a comic book of Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe"; and the same can be said of another comic book of James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last Of The Mohicans".

No, not all of my time as a certified invalid was spent indoors. For I was sometimes granted a furlough to be led out into the sunshine; and I was told about my mother placing me on a limb of a tree that I could see from my window and cry about not being able to climb it. One would think that I would have some pleasant memories of such an auspicious occasion; but there are none to be found rattling around in my head.

Thankfully: my period of rehabilitation was greatly accelerated with the help of Lady, our 80 (+/-) pound German Shepherd. For she would drag me down the hallway of our 45 foot Spartan "mobile home"; and then I would drag her back the other way. I have a lot of fond memories of her.

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