I was really sick in kindergarten. I would get a sore throat and then it would turn into bronchitis and eventually tonsillitis. Mom and Dad would take me to the doctor and he would prescribe me some antibiotics. As long as I was on the medication, I was fine. The second I would go off of it, I would get sick again. I went to an ear, nose and throat doctor. His name was Dr. Trout and he had a big fish aquarium in his waiting room. He said my tonsils were red and slightly enlarged so he prescribe me some antibiotics.
Before we left, he asked me if I wanted to see his pet. Since I loved animals I said sure. He said her name was Charlotte and I had just finished reading Charlotteís Web. †I walked into his office and there in a smaller aquarium was a big hairy tarantula. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I am deathly afraid of spiders.
For the next six months, Mom or Dad had to sleep in my room. Every time my body would relax, my tonsils would close up and I would gasp for air. I also threw up every 24 hours. We made quite a few trips to the emergency room. I remember one time they had given me Gatorade and I threw up on the floor. One night I was so delirious, I asked Mom if she could bring the foxes into dance. I was constantly on some kind of medication. One I will never forget was called Tussin. It tasted the worst, but as soon as I swallowed it, it knocked me out. It was this way for almost a year.
Finally, I went to see Dr. Loy. He was Dr. Troutís associate.† He took one look at my throat and asked Mom and Dad why my tonsils hadnít been taken out.
Mom said, ďAsk your associate.Ē
†The reason I kept getting sick was the tonsillitis virus was embedded in my tonsils and until they were taken out, I would keep getting sick. I was scheduled for surgery on Good Friday.
I was excited. I heard people who had their tonsils out got to eat all the ice cream and Popsicles they wanted. I was too little to understand the risk involved. I was allowed to take a toy or stuffed animal into the operating room with me. I had planned on taking in a stuffed raccoon. One of the administrators in the engineering department at Purdue had sent me a present. I decided I wanted to open it that morning. It was a little white stuffed rabbit. Forget the raccoon, Iím taking the bunny with me. The person at the front desk gave me a bracelet with my name on it. She had also drawn a picture of a little girl. She asked me what my bunnyís name was. I said it was Thumper. She wrote Thumperís name on another bracelet and put it around his neck. When the nurse called me back, I just gave Mom and Dad a hug and kiss and then climbed up on the gurney.
I woke up with IVís in both arms and sticky heart monitors on my chest. My throat was also really sore. They handed Thumper to me and took me to my room. There was another girl in the room with me. Her name was Chastity and she had had her appendix out. My parents stayed with me the entire time while hersí only came to see her during the day.
I threw up blood three times. On the third time, the nurse came and gave me a shot in my thigh. That was the worst part of the whole thing. I only weighed 42 pounds.
Mom ordered me Jell-o blocks and ice cream for supper. I must have felt terrible because all I ate was one Jell-o block. And when I donít want ice cream, you know I must be really sick. All through the night, Mom kept waking me up to give me Sudafed. I was tired and just wanted to sleep. She and Dad were up and down all night to make sure I was still breathing since they were so used to hearing me gasp for air.
Afterwards I started gaining weight. My hair had been down to my waist, but because of all the medication I had been on, it was really thin. So I had to have it cut. I also noticed some things were louder than before.