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Memories come in the strangest ways.

Cross-posted to WordPress, 2-14-2017

Brooke McEldowney, in his webcomic Pibgorn, just finished up a story arc that lasted a few days short of two years. That's not as tortuous as Freefall time, but still a good piece of slow-paced fiction.

The new arc which began last Tuesday is entitled (Note to Jef Mallett: Yes, that is an appropriate use of the word) "Pibgorn and the Volcano on 77th Street and Park Avenue." Members of the Order of the Couch immediately brought up satellite images of the intersection, and it turns out that Lenox Hill Hospital sits on that corner.

I grew up in New York, and that rang a bell. Ever since then, I've been trying to figure out why it was familiar, aside from the tragic recent death of Natasha Richardson). Was it where I was born? Nah, that was Lying-In Hospital, converted in 1981 to luxury condos (note the baby tondos about halfway up...)

It just came to me. It's where I had my tonsils out when I was around three. Unlike Bill Cosby and his ice cream, my memories are different. I remember being alone, shots, and starvation.

When you're three, you hate shots anyway. Somehow, my beloved pediatrician, Dr. Arthur F. Anderson, seen above on the occasion of his retirement in 1967, managed to avoid being associated with needles, choosing instead to send his evil henchman, the sadistic Dr. Charles Weymuller (in actuality, probably a very nice man) to my home for the requisite torture sessions. But in the hospital, I have this memory of an endless line of nurses armed with jackhammers, marching into my room like clockwork every five minutes to give me shot, after shot, after shot. It was probably only one, but hey, I was three, and alone in a strange crib in a strange place. I still don't especially care for needles.

Compounding the torment was the fact that they refused to feed me. I was so happy when they finally said I would get some chicken noodle soup. Well, if there was any chicken or any noodles in the soup they brought me, it must have been strained out by the underpaid kitchen staff to supplement their meagre diets, because "broth" would have been too generous an appellation. That hospital stay was not fun.

I was so hungry when I finally got home... they fixed me mashed potatoes with butter, and I was so famished that in my haste I accidentally bit the finger of whoever was feeding me.

And I hadn't thought of these things for at least 30 years...

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Mar. 21st, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
I've been changing "entitled" to "titled" in the documents I edit, but you're right according to the dictionaries I just checked. Well, I might still justify my practice as standardizing a company style.
Mar. 21st, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
Paediatricians and Shots
My own childhood associations with shots is not so happy (and, yes, i used that word with precision aforethought).

I'm old enough that i clearly recall the Salk polio vaccine and its boosters, which made my arm swell painfully (and made me a touch feverish, i suspect).

Can't recall if there were two or three boosters, though two seems likely.

Anyway, i must have been out-of-sorts for some reason when my mother hauled me to the office for the final booster, and i panicked.

As i recall it, i crawled under the examing table and began (literally) screaming over and over "I don't want a shot!"

My mother who, though she loves me and i love her, is not the world's best parent (though much better at the job that *her* father must have been), did not handle it well. I don't recall threats of the "Come out of there so I can hit you" or the "Your father will kill you when I tell him" variety, but i do recall that i was given to understand that this was Not Acceptable Behaviour.

Long story slightly shortened, i never did get the shot that day (though i did later), and i've been left with a *serious* needle phobis ever since - to the extent that even though a Navy corpsman who once gave me a shot was so good that i literally didn't feel it, i still fainted.

I had been getting over it gradually - helped along by a couple of clinical trials i did in the 90's that involved having blood drawn regularly (sometimes weekly).

And then our doctor decided i needed to start using a glucose meter.

I made three tries with the lancet, never managing to draw enough blood for a test, literally had hysterics for an hour, and am now rather worse about such things than i had been for years.



The Old Wolf

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