Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Aural testimony

When I was 7, in the summer of 1976, I had post-aural lymphadenitis (this is what it said on the plastic tag around my wrist, and I memorised it, much to the annoyance of anyone who subsequently asked me why I'd been in hospital). I remember blinding pain in my ear, which started when we were at the beach, 1976 having been a long hot summer; and I ended up in "the Sick Kids", Edinburgh's children's hospital, crying with pain and fear at being separated from my mum.

Piercing little memories from that time come back to me. I remember them in much the same way as I can recall, as a three year old, not being able to read and looking uncomprehendingly at street signs (much like being in a foreign country). I had a room of my own, and it was the first time I had ever seen, much less eaten, liver, which wobbled alarmingly on the plate and which I comprehensively rejected; a neighbour brought me "Five Children and It" to read - I'm still, even now, unsure what or who "It" was, although I remember he/she/It could grant wishes which somehow had a Monkey's Paw-like tendency to backfire; I watched the diving in the Olympics on a tiny TV perched high in the corner, and really didn't comprehend that it was a sport; I cried hysterically when I was told that I had to stay in hospital for three more days; I fell in love with my nurse and insisted on giving her a mawkish plastic rose when I left, which has forever haunted me since as having been quite possibly nicked from someone's graveside tableau; and being transported, for one horrible night, to the general children's ward and lying awake, terrified, to the sound of others' breathing and moaning.

Afterwards, of course, as a manipulative little sod I turned the experience to my advantage as a badge of courage and source of stories, including an entirely made up tale of a child dying in the bed next to me and being taken away in the night. The thrilling story retold never, for some reason, included a description of a terrified 7 year old crying abjectly at being abandoned.


orangefrute88 said...

i'm wondering, what made you think of this now? great story

Anonymous said...

Fantastic story. Well done.
I thought I would blog whilst all were away on their European Summer Vacation. But I was too busy paddling. Now everyone is back and I still have no time to blog.

But you blog consistently. Hurrah.

LottieP said...

Hello, orangefrute88. A friend told me about having received a home-made birthday card featuring a child's scary Rorschach-style drawing of a large hairy wombat called a clubtail. For some reason this made me think of "It". And "Five Children and It" always makes me think ofmy only stay in hospital.

LottieP said...

Thank you, anonymous. You're too kind.

orangefrute88 said...

ahhhh. thanks for answering me, you could as easily have said "mind your business" but you were kind :)