When I was 6 years old, I was hospitalized because of an earache.

It was a very weird experience, and I don’t remember the particulars too well.  But I did get a Chatty Cathy out of the deal.

First, it was a small, almost private, hospital, with private rooms.

In the middle of the night, I had to pee.

I started to get out of bed and in doing so broke a glass and cut my foot on the glass.

A nurse came in, yelled at me and told me that I was not allowed to get out of bed.

She was very scary (to 6-year-old me).

I was terrified.

So I bled all over the bed and eventually peed it too.

You can imagine how happy they were with me the next morning.

But at least, I had the self assurance to not feel a bit guilty.

I knew, it wasn’t my fault.

They’re the ones who told me I had to stay in bed.

If I had the vocabulary I do now, I would have said, “Fuck ’em.”

While in the hospital, multiple times a day, I had to have mega doses of penicillin.

By injection.

In the butt.

At that time, I did not know the secret of how to get a shot painlessly.

So I just bared my butt and gritted my teeth and took my medicine (so’s to speak).

Until just before I was being released, and I decided, it was enough.

No more shots.

The next time they came to give me a shot.

I was not in bed.

I was locked in the bathroom, hiding behind the toilet.

Nothing would persuade me.

They eventually had to take the door off to get me out.

And I still had to get my shot.

And then when I got back to school, my first grade teacher (Miss Dorothy) said she heard I had not been a “good” girl.  (The price you pay when your grandmother is best friends with the other first grade teacher (Miss Maynard), who clearly could not keep her mouth shut.)

I explained to her that I was a good girl, but I had simply had enough shots.

Again, if I had had the words they would have been,

“Fuck ’em”

Probably just as well I didn’t have those words at that time.

I don’t think Miss Dorothy would have approved.



  1. I had my tonsils out in 1973. The staff at that hospital traumatized me for life. I have never been able to trust medical people. Without explaining a thing about what he was doing, one of the nurses started drawing my blood. When I freaked out and tried to run away, he brought in another nurse who pinned me down and he scolded me and told me I made him have to start all over again. To this day I still hate him and hope that he had a terrible life.

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