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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Get to the doctor, quick, quick, quick

Friday, July 6, 2012

Our parents and those of our friends during our growing up years did not take us to the doctor very often. My three older siblings had their tonsils taken out in what was apparently a marathon surgery as they were all in bed at the same time recovering. Personally, I don't think I was ever in a doctor's office until I had to go for a physical prior to my marriage. I don't know how I escaped the tonsil thing unless it was because I was talking so much they couldn't get a look at my throat.

My parents were away once and my cousin came to the farm to take care of us. She gave each of us an all-day sucker for a treat. It was a rectangle of hard caramel on a stick. I wanted mine to last more than a day so tried to cut a chunk off as a starter-treat. I was probably not supposed to have a sharp knife to begin with, but I was hacking away at the sucker. The inevitable happened. I made a deep slice at the base of the pointer finger on my left hand. Cousin Delores wrapped a towel around my hand to absorb the blood. Then she wrapped another one when the first one was soaked. I am not aware of her calling for help although she may have phoned her mother for advice. Getting it stitched at a doctor's office would have prevented the big scar I have on that hand. However, she probably did the same thing my own mother or hers would have done.

We were not quick to run to the doctor with our own children but there were times when simple home remedies were not sufficient. We took Dean in for stitches in his head when his older brother gave him a push, trying to hurry him up as they climbed the portable grain elevator. That piece of equipment was waiting in the middle of the farmyard, ready to be placed against the corn crib roof. The evenly spaced metal slats that held the grain until it dumped into a bin looked like a ladder. It offered a temptation too huge to resist. One of those metal slats made a big gash in Dean's forehead.

When you consider all the farm equipment our seven children, five of them adventuresome boys, played around and eventually worked with, it is amazing that the injuries and accidents were so few. We had a sprain or two, but no broken bones. The first time I came to any realization of how lucky we were was when our granddaughter, three years old at the time, jumped off a coffee table in their living room and broke her leg. Our kids occasionallly jumped off the roof of a building or two. That was a forbidden activity, just as jumping off the coffee table was. No serious injuries resulted from the roof jumping. We thought we monitored them closely but my adult children are confessing when their dad was in the field and I was taking care of a baby in the house, they had a barrel of fun breaking rules. We definitely did not monitor them as closely as we thought we did.

We didn't panic when they succumbed to the normal childhood diseases. They were vaccinated against the worst of them. One of the boys had some scratches on his tummy from a kitten. The next morning there were a couple of sores on the scratches. I dabbed on some salve and covered them with band aids. Later he got a couple more sores on his back. In my usual casual manner of handling their injuries, I slapped band aids on them, too. This happened during tax time when I was working a few days a week in the law office. I received a phone call from Rosy, the children's caregiver, asking about all the band aids on Dean. She countered my explanation by asking, "Are you sure he doesn't have chicken pox?" He did.

We were sitting at a ball game recently when my granddaughter came to me almost distraught. She had scratched a mosquito bite so much it had a drop of blood on the spot. Luckily, someone in the crowd had a band aid so she survived. Little did Sylvie know how much her grandmother credited her with wisdom - a band aid covering an ouchie makes it go away. Out of sight - out of mind.

I think a cold, wet wash cloth was as good as it got for children during the generation of children growing up when I did. The time I cut my finger was an exception to the rule. Once she ran out of towels, Delores wrapped and taped yards and yards of gauze around that hand. When mom and dad got home, they took a look at my injury, swabbed some stinky red medicine over it and wrapped it again with more gauze.

All of this raises a question. Are parents better at doing their job now or are we getting better at raising wimps?

By Mary S. Roder
Musing With Mary