Friday, November 11, 2005

In Memory of my Fe Lungs

I didn't have the nightmares about iron lungs that Alex Gildzen mentions in the comments boxes below. Knew of them, not much about them. Mainly as put-down descriptors - "he couldn't work in an iron lung" - or as youthful jokes - Johnny turns up with a motorized billy cart. Billy asks him where he got the motor. Johnny says from his father's iron lung. Billy: "What did he say?" Johnny: "Aaaarrrrggghhh!"

My medical phobia lasted just under two weeks, the time I spent in a children's ward on a six times a day injection regime, being poked in the cheeks of my arse with the newly-commercialized antibiotic penicillin - now that really dates me - for an infection in my kidneys that had come about through falling on a rock.

The first morning I was there I saw all these kids, still out from anaesthetic, with blood all over the front of their gowns, being wheeled back into the ward. Asked what was going on, was told by a charming nurse - the prototype for Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? - that they'd had their tonsils removed, that everybody who was admitted had their tonsils removed. So, for two weeks, up until the day before I was discharged & another nurse was on who told me the truth, I lay there trembling, waiting for the nurses to come & collect me & take me away for a tonsilectomy.

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