Monday, July 27, 2009


It was a dark and stormy night---well not really for it was actually a bright sun shiny day but I have always wanted to start a story that way. I was ten years old and I put my self to bed around noon. My tummy really hurt and I just felt yucky all over. Parents always know you are really sick when you volunteer bed rest in the middle of the day. Especially if there is no school the next day then they know you aren't trying to dodging a test.

I am pretty stoic about pain but this really hurt so my mother called my cousin, JY Porter, who was a well respected doctor in the small town of Key West. He was where we went for practically anything medical. Though he was partially retired, he was always good about patching my brother and I up free of charge.

J Y's home and office

J Y examined me in the clinic, drew blood and when he saw how elevated my white cell count was, he feared acute appendicitis. Got to admit, I wondered how he knew my appendix was cute. He frantically started making phone calls looking for a surgeon.

I was on a bed in his office when I heard an awful scream. It was when they all ran to my bed that I realized it was me who had screamed. I didn't know why I had screamed for now the pain was gone and I really felt like I could go home. That is when JY got really worried. I heard the word "ruptured" as he hurried out of the room to make more phone calls.

My brother Jim was in the room with me and even he looked worried. That was not his normal sibling behavior. My scream must have really scared him. JY came back in the room to announce that he still hadn't found a surgeon. He said that a Dr. Lester was supposed to return his call but that time was critical. He looked down at me and said something that chilled me to the bone.

"If he doesn't call back in 15 minutes, I will do the surgery my self."

The look my brother shot me echoed my dread. We all loved J Y but at that time he was about my age now, his hands shook and he only had one eye. The way my brother and I could tell which eye was not glass was that the good eye jumped rapidly in the socket. The thought of him cutting me open and trying to find my appendix terrified me.

Fortunately, the phone rang and Dr. Lester had been located. He would meet us at the hospital. I was so relieved and pleased to see he was a young doctor with steady hands and eyes. I was hurriedly prepped for surgery and was tickled when they shaved my stomach. I was still just curious when they wheeled me into the brightly lit operating room. I was sorry they all wore masks for I had already formed a crush on the good looking young doctor.

A masked man put something over my nose and mouth and told me to breathe deeply. Ether took surgery out of barbarianism but if offered to me today, I think I would just ask for a bullet to bite instead. I felt for all the world like I was inhaling fire. I tried to struggle but I was strapped down. Each breath was agony and the only thing to save me was my first and only out of body experience. To escape the pain, I just left my body. I was suddenly above everyone and looking down at my twitching self. I was amazed at how different I looked from that view point but by leaving my body, the pain was gone and very soon after, so was my consciousness.

When I awoke, all was definitely not well..........


  1. Yikes! How old, OOPS. young were you? I was 11 when mine came out. I went to hospital in ambulance. In those days ambulances and hearses were one and same, operated by funeral homes. I got to choose which one brought me home; I chose a BLUE one. Spoiled rotten wasn't I?

    My appendix did not rupture.

    My favorite cousin (pre-school) died from ruptured appendix. Her family lived in rural Tx where medical care was not convenient. Her Mother became an alcoholic after her death as she blamed herself for neglect in not recognizing the severity of the illness.

    And not too many so-called antibiotics were available. About the most reliable antibiotic was from Above.

  2. Wow, what a story! Your memory of that day is quite vivid. And your description of ether is so interesting. I can't wait to read your next installment.

  3. "A cute appendix" - too funny. What a story! I look forward to reading the rest. enJOY your Monday!

  4. Don't leave us hanging. I'll be back tomorrow to hear the rest of the story.

  5. Awe Shucks Patti... Another one of those cliff-hangers, huh????? You had quite some experiences during your life, didn't you???? The only time I was in the hospital when I was a child was to have my tonsils out (back then when they always did that)... Then --I never was in the hospital again until I had my first baby...

    Can't wait to hear the outcome of your story.....


  6. Nitwit
    I was 10 so we were about the same age. People died of it often in the old days. It killed my grandmother.
    We did have penicillin but none of the new drugs. I was always glad mine was gone for then I never had to worry too much about a belly ache.

    I think we all pretty much remember painful times and out of body is hard to forget.

    Cheffie mom
    They always take your cute stuff don't they?

    So sorry but it was just too long for one post.


    Bet you got all the ice cream you could eat. I used to envy those tonsil kids but I still have mine.
    You just keep staying out of those hospitals.

  7. Oh! Yucky ether! Remember it well from age 7 and how awful it was. Just a whiff was enough to make you ill.

    Anxious for the sequel.

  8. Very intersting story and well told. I did not know ether hurt. Out of body experience - you must have been in bad bad pain.

  9. Some of this brings back horrific memories for me of a serious operation when I was nine years old. The Ether....The WORST!

    What a scary thing to happen Patti...And I understand the trauma these things can be at such a young age....I know you survived, but Part 2, I know will be really scary, too...!

  10. Pat,
    Youngsters today don't know how grateful they should be that it is now so quick, painless to be prepaired for surgery.

    It is something I have tried to recreate through the years when in pain, but I never did.

    I so agree and if ether were the only anesthesia today, don't think there would be a lot of elective surgery. Thank goodness we have progressed.

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