Poem Hunter
Tonsillectomy Circa 1950
AC (6th August,1945 / Melbourne, Australia)

Tonsillectomy Circa 1950

Poem By Alison Cassidy

A little girl with curly hair and a white face
A box of toys to be opened 'afterwards'
Two stern nurses in crisp white uniforms
with crisp white voices and disinfected hands

Lying on a narrow hospital bed
Trying to sleep without sucking her thumb
The embarrassment of a soapy enema
and not enough time to get to the toilet

The sweet suffocating smell of ether
She thought she was going to die...
Waking up with a throat of hot needles
and a fierce determination not to cry

Seven long days of pain and loneliness
and the niggling fear of abandonment
A tearful reunion with Mummy and Daddy
who believed they were doing the right thing.

User Rating: 4,3 / 5 ( 6 votes ) 9

Comments (9)

This threw up a lot of nasty memories for some of your readers, Allie, including myself. I remember as a 4 year old having to undergo this painful (and nowadays mostly unnecessary) operation, the indignity of having to sleep in a baby's cot as there were no beds left, and the pain afterwards, eased by gallons of ice cream. And wondering if my Mum was coming back to collect me. Oh, how things have changed..... Love, Fran xxx
...in hindsight a pretty crass thing for your parents to have done, as most agree.
i love the images of 'a little girl with curly hair'...your inner child still lives in you Allie..i see her when you dance...she is so beautiful...i too have had the ole tonsils removed...as a teenager...i remember it well...a frightening and painful operation at any age but particularly as a small child...and especially in the 50s...the images of the stiff white uniforms were very real to me...my mother who raised me was a midwife for 38 years..a real old school nursing sister...trained by the generation of nurses who would have cared for you...the smell of the disenfectant...also a memory i have had..but thats another poem! ! ! Love Sandyxxx
A heartaching recollection of such a traumatic episode. I still have mine but have been through the operation with both my sons. Watching them go through the operating theatre doors was the worst feeling in the world - I felt I had abandoned them! I'd signed the consent form and everything was out of my hands. The longest wait of my life... Superb Allie. Justine
Dear Allie.....what a frightening and painful experience for one so young......and trying to be so brave....I was more fortunate in that I was already a pre-teen when I had that surgery.....(and for whatever reasons, feared nothing) .it'd been thoroughly explained to me.....I was happy to know that the recurring bouts of tonsilitis would be no more.......and I loved the adventure of being elsewhere...other than home.......and was happy to 'abandon' my parents and sister.....I recall very little pain... the ice cream and jello diet got a little boring......it was a short hospital stay....I wouldn't have minded its being longer.........very different experiences, yours and mine...........you being a little one.....and I considering myself all but fully grown...... Love, D.
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