Friday, March 11, 2011

Being sick

Last week, while I was in Minnesota, I came down with a sore throat, cough, and generalized body aches.

My sister was sick as well, and then my mother came down with it. I heard news reports that it was widespread, and nationwide. That didn't make me feel any better.

The good old winter crud.

It made me think back to being sick as a child, when it was almost fun.

On those occasions, Mom set up a metal TV tray in our bedroom where we were allowed to eat supper. This was a rare treat and made it almost worthwhile to be sick.

She would deliver our food, make us eggnog, something her mother always did for her when she was sick, and speak ever-so-gently to us.  We relished it.

I imagine we even drew it out a bit.

When we were really sick (running a  fever qualified), a house call was made by Dr. Hedenstrom at the end of the day. Hard to imagine these days, but true then.

And if a prescription was ordered, Dad would stop to pick it up at Lloyd’s Pharmacy on Snelling and Minnehaha on his way home from the office.

Routine medical care was also delivered by Dr. Hedenstrom. Mom didn't drive then, so she took us downtown on the Grand-Maria bus line to the Lowry Medical Arts Building on Fourth and St. Peter.  Dr. Hedenstrom's nurse, Audrey, would greet us first, in her white uniform and nurse's cap.

If we needed a shot for some reason, Penicillin, a Polio shot, or another type of immunization, we were rewarded for bravely enduring the trauma with a fresh stick of Juicy Fruit gum from the top drawer of the doctor’s desk.

Somewhere in the mid-1950s, oral Polio vaccine was introduced. Mom and Dad took us all to a large auditorium at St. Thomas College, where we lined up to receive the vaccine, administered in a small paper cup. It was a huge advance over those painful shots.

Somehow, nobody brought me dinner when I was sick last week, or spoke ever-so-gently to me, or called the doctor to come check on me. The dogs I was caring for seemed to have little sympathy, and the world and its obligations went on.

I am well now, back in Arizona, enjoying the sunshine and warmth. But next time I am sick, I just want to be a little girl again.

With my Mom making me eggnog and speaking ever-so-gently.