Chapter 3 - Close Call:
Stealing an Angel's Life That Won't Die
With squinted teary eyes, I looked at my parents and when they spoke to me I responded yet again with cooing, giggles and even laughter. Life seemed normal for my parents, all appeared as if it were well. As far as my mother and father were concerned they shared in the experience of giving birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl. I had all ten fingers and all ten toes. My lungs worked and my heart beat was normal. Little did my parents know, chronic illness, sickness, disease and even predators lay waiting and lurking for an opportunity to steal their baby girl’s life.
My parents were ecstatic to take their beautiful baby girl home but my big brother, well, let’s just say he was not a happy camper when I came home from the hospital. Time passed rapidly but somehow moved slowly at the same time, for I no longer wore infant apparel but instead I grew quickly, barely fitting 6-9 month baby clothing.
One day while my dad was at work, my mom laid me and my brother down for a nap. According to my mother, he was just about two years old and was still having issues coping with me sharing his space so he climbed into my crib with me. Mom says when she came into the room and didn’t see him in his bed her heart began to race. Immediately she ran over to check on me in the crib and found my brother in there with me. His pillow was completely covering my face and he was laying on it. My brother looked up innocently with his big brown eyes as mom reached in to pull him off of me. When she took the pillow off of my face, there I lay with a huge smile, never realizing my brother almost killed me. To this day, I say he was just trying to take a nap with me. He figured if he could share his space, I could share mine – However, auntie and mom noted otherwise.
After a few years I was mobile. My big brother learned to love me and to protect me. He also taught me how to get into plenty of trouble. One day when I was about two, mom went to the front door to talk with a neighbor. She left me and my brother sitting nicely in front of the television. In a brief moment I was up exploring the house, specifically, the kitchen. Somehow I decided that cooking would be a great idea and turned on the eye of the stove. I don’t remember all the details but what I do remember is burning up the stove, almost killing me and my brother with smoke
inhalation, a spankin’ and well, I never did receive any food.
By age four, my mother had seen more hospital visits for me than she cared to or even thought she would. Tonsillitis and strep throat were the culprits. With body temperatures exceeding 102.8 degrees and persistent nightly cries due to pain, my mother dragged herself from her bed heading to the nearest emergency room with me toddling beside or straggling behind her. Each occurrence was followed by isolation from my siblings and other family members, crushed Tylenol, cups of jello, scoops of ice-cream and loads of Kool-aid in its assorted flavors. The doctors suggested surgery to remove my tonsils many times but my mother declined after reading the possible repercussions; cutting vocal chords, bleeding to death as well as the possibility of needing a blood transfusion.
If tonsillitis and strep weren’t enough to contend with one night my mom had the wonderful pleasure of finding me at my grandfather’s house laying on the back porch with the dogs, Trip and Misty and what I thought was our new cat. She found me delusional with a fever of almost 104 degrees petting our new house rat. I was immediately rushed to the emergency room. Thinking back, I can easily see how my brother was frustrated about having this new sister around but now he had two other new additions he was forced to share his space with.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was completely lethargic and was rushed to the back having intravenous tubes inserted, blood drawn, given antibiotics, Tylenol and placed in ice water to bring my fever down. Later my mom learned that I had developed several childhood diseases all at the same time. I had mumps, measles and chicken pox’s. The doctors told my mother that it was a close call, they could have lost me.
Somehow, I lived, but my mother had no clue what other experiences sought to pick this peculiar flower from life, leaving only thorny bushes with pricked, bruised hearts.