When my younger son was nine, he collapsed out in the yard while grabbing his side. It was a hot late October day. I saw him through the kitchen window and ran out and picked him up: He was blazing hot with a temperature. His father was out of town on a hunting trip and I was scared to death not knowing what to do for fear had set in both of us. I called a male friend that lived nearby for he was a drug representative and he dashed up here as fast as he could. “Looks like it’s his appendix and we need to get him to the hospital now.”
My neighbor kept my older son while the three of us headed for Memorial Hospital with my friend driving about ninety miles an hour. Immediately my younger son was taken into the ER where the doctor checked him and made him sit in an alcohol bath: His temperature did come down some but he still had intense pain in his side. “Doesn’t seem that bad to me” replied the doctor. “Take him home, give him some aspirins and he should be better.” That was said after three hours there while I was completely hysterical.
My friend drove us home and my son seemed to rally a little but later on that night his temperature shot up to 104 degrees. There were no cell phones then and there was no way to call his father but somehow someone managed to call a person that lived near where he was hunting. My then-husband did call and said that he thought our son would be fine. “Fine?” I asked. “He has a high temperature and his side still hurts.” “Take him back to the hospital” was all that he said.
Again I had to call someone but this time I called a relative that dashed to the house to stay with my older son.
I called my male friend about 2:30 in the morning; thankfully his wife was understanding and thankfully he came up and took us back to the hospital.
Back in the same ER and back seeing the same doctor who was completely confused with my son’s symptoms. “It might be his appendix after all; I want him admitted right now.” Thank heavens I had my pocketbook with me for it would come in handy the next few days. My son was in a private room, on an IV and nurses came and went. He had x-rays and nothing was wrong with his appendix but his temperature had not gone down but one degree.
A nurse came into his room and gave me one of the flip fold out-type chairs that makes into a bed if you are on the floor and that’s where I spent the night for three nights. There was no way I was leaving him but yet I had to in order to get food for although he was managing to eat some, the hospital gave me none. The downstairs cafeteria seemed miles away and yet I’d grab something, pay for it and head back to his room.
Any nine-year old is scared to be in a hospital and with his temperature receding, he was aware of his surroundings, asked me questions and calmness seemed to wash over him as well as me. He was sitting up in the bed looking at a kid’s book when all of a sudden a couple rushed into the room: The man was dressed up like Dracula and the woman was dressed up like a witch. They pounced right upon him as close as they both could get and that was bad enough but worse was what was said by “Dracula” for he screamed at my son and asked “Do you believe in God?” And while asking that, he was shaking a Bible right in my son’s face.
“Yes” replied my son in a shaky voice. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing or seeing. “Well good” Dracula told him “because if you don’t, you’re going straight to hell right now!” Now really can you imagine any adult saying that to a sick little boy? The “witch” was right there along his side. “You can both get out of this room right now” I told them both “and I’m calling security.” As they left, my son was sobbing and I was calming him. “Just ignore those people” I told him but a lot of damage had been done.
This happened thirty-four years ago and hospitals were not secure like there are today. In actuality, I wasn’t sure if anyone was available to get the two out of the place; luckily, I saw a nurse out in the hall and recanted what had happened. She stopped the dreadful dressed up couple before they were about to enter a room full of three-year olds.
My son’s temperature did go down later on that day but had shot up prior due to the action of that couple. By the afternoon, he was released and again that male friend came to take us home. Both of us questioned the doctor and all he could say was that he had no idea why the symptoms existed in the first place. Was not his appendix, was not some virus and really, whatever it was, was over by the next day thank heavens.
As I write this, I’m not sure if my younger son remembers any of it or not. He still has his appendix and never had any more flare ups like that one time but did he remember that horrid couple? Not sure unless I were to ask him and I just might for once again, it’s a late October day and my thoughts always go back to the terrible time in the hospital for him. Being sick and in pain is one thing but being pounced upon by a Halloween dressed up crazed couple is another thing. One can only hope that both of them got their comeuppance—they certainly deserved it and in big doses.
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I'm not saying that what the couple said was right or wrong: It was totally out of place and character.