Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Queen thanks Uncle Shelly for a speedy recovery

By Karrie McAllister

I guess technically it wasn’t a lie. It wasn’t even really avoiding the truth. It was just a simple statement that, while true, wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
But it was all for the good of my family.
Today, my five-year old daughter had a tonsillectomy.
And trying not to scare the living daylights out of her, I told her all about what her hospital visit would be.
I told her that she would be treated like a real princess, because when she walked in they would dress her in a gown and give her jewelry—namely, a bracelet.
OK, so a rear-flapping cotton gown is hardly ball worthy, and a hospital ID bracelet is hardly jewelry, but you can see where I was going with this.
I also mentioned that while she got to lie in a bed and be treated like royalty, I had to sit in a chair next to her dad for five whole hours.
Needless to say it worked. The night before the operation she was actually dancing around singing “I get to have my tonsils out!” and taunting her brother with the fact that he couldn’t go to the hospital.
The morning of, her tune hadn’t changed much. Her gown was blue, just like Cinderella’s, even though it looked more like Cindy’s work clothes than her fairy godmother’s fashion. And she was the biggest little girl I have ever seen.
She didn’t cry in pre-op.
She didn’t cry in the operating room.
She didn’t laugh at her mother who put the scrubs on backwards.
And as I held her little hand and she drifted off to La La Land, I didn’t cry either. For that I am extremely proud because I would have bet money that I’d have been a blubbering idiot and a nurse would have had to escort me out.
But I sat tearless in the waiting room until the doctor came and told us that everything went well, and that her enormous tonsils were gone.
We rushed back to recovery where she was hysterical, partly from the anesthetic, and partly because a little person had just gone through a big ordeal.
Seeing her upset, a mother does the only thing she can think of, which is focus all her attention on comforting her child. So I held her close and told her how proud I was and, grasping for ways to calm her down, told her I’d brought Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”
“Want to hear a poem?”
Yes, she nodded.
And so I started in on page one.
Drifting in and out of consciousness, every time she came to, she mouthed the word “poem” or just made the sign language sign for “more” that she was taught as a baby.
In the course of her recovery, I read the entire book. And if you aren’t familiar with that particular book, it’s quite long.
I read everything from Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too to the Crocodile’s Dentist to the one at the end where the little naked guy wraps his extra long beard around his body and runs down the road.
In a way, the constant of my voice reciting those silly verses must have giving my kid the comfort she needed to rest and recover, maybe even more than the medicine flowing into her IV.
The funny thing is that when I was a little girl I read that book non-stop. I could recite most of the poems, and reading them all again today in the hospital brought back memories of my own childhood.
What’s even funnier is that reading them all again next to a princess, dressed in her gown and jewelry, made a new set of memories all its own.
And for those memories and for a healthy daughter, Uncle Shelly, wherever you are, I thank you.

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