Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Dr. Sumers’ nurse called Mom the day befo...

Dr. Sumers’ nurse called Mom the day before my scheduled tonsillectomy and asked, “How will you be coming down to Jefferson City tomorrow?” Mom told her she’d drive me over in the Model T touring car. “Bring a man’s handkerchief along,” she replied.

Now this was about 1924 and the best way to deal with tonsils which repeatedly became red and swollen was to get them out. Also, I was a puny little thing and it was thought that a tonsillectomy would improve my general health. Everybody was advising that. It cost about $50 in our hospitals and Dr. Sumers did the work in his own office suite for half that.

Early the next morning, Mom’s good friend Mary, along with my brother and I, made the long slow trip to Jeff. When we entered, the nurse said “Mrs. Meyers, I forgot to tell you that Sue shouldn’t eat any breakfast. Did she eat?” Yes, I had sort of tanked up because friends told me I’d have an awful sore throat after the surgery. Therefore I was left in a dark room to rest for about two hours, alone.

I vividly recall finally having the nurse put a transparent mask over my mouth and nose and I tried to keep from breathing that awful ether, but soon felt that I was on a long slide, sailing down out of control. The next thing I knew the nurse was offering me some ice cream, saying, “You must be hungry.” One bite and I was not hungry at all!

I sipped a little water and dropped off to sleep. In late afternoon, the nurse said, “Sue, you can go home now.” That’s where the man’s handkerchief came in. “Hold this over loosely over your nose all of the way home.” Good advice. Every breath was like swallowing a sharp knife.

Dr. Sumers said, “Let her eat and drink anything she wants. Soda pop will be good to start with.” Mom wrote the $25 check and gave me the folded handkerchief to hold over my face. We loaded into the open car and Mom cranked it for the long trip back on dusty gravel roads.

The next day Dad bought a whole case of soda pop. The first one I chose was cherry flavor. Mom popped off the cap and handed it to me. There was that knife in my throat, again! By the second day, I could swallow more comfortably. There was also strawberry, cream and orange to choose from and, to this day, cherry is my last choice.

By the time our own two children had frequent sore throats and inflamed tonsils, Dr. Garrett advised, “I think we should take them out.” He removed several youngster’s tonsils each Friday, at Boone County Hospital. Nancy was the first one of ours to need this surgery. The date was set and arrangements made.

On Thursday, the day before she was scheduled to be at the hospital at 9 a.m., the nurse called to say, “Mrs. Gerard, I wonder if you realize that Nancy’s tonsil operation is to be done on Friday the thirteenth?” No, I hadn’t thought about it.

“Dr. Garrett said that if this makes any difference to you, he’ll be glad to change it.” I replied, “It doesn’t make a particle of difference to me.” And then I added, “I certainly hope it doesn’t affect Dr. Garrett in any way!”

It didn’t, of course, and by coincidence Walt’s had to come out a few years later -- on Friday the thirteenth. Perhaps there was a shortage of mothers to whom it made no difference?

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