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Uphill Both Ways

Volume 9 - Boston 1956


fairly frequent -compared to normal kids anyway- visits to the hospital. I was about 16 so was really embarrassed at the accident not just because of the stupidity but because of the location of the lesion. Can you think of any place on your 16 year old body that would embarrass you more to have injured, knowing that people had to look at it and touch it and treat it? I doubt it.

When I got to the ED, of course the first thing I had to do was to go into a room and under the supervision of a pretty nurse -had to be pretty- take off my jeans and briefs. Now was I humiliated? In addition to hurting so bad I couldn’t stand the pain I had to lay on a table on my back, exposed to the cameras and lights of all the TV stations and newspapers in - at least that’s how it felt- for this 16 year old when the nurse and doctor came. I was spread eagled on the table without any under wear over my sensitive embarrassing parts as they cleansed and poked at the spot right there where the hair was torn out.

The crowning insult was that the doctor, who meant well, decided to experiment with a new “spray-bandage” he had just received from a salesman. It was a clear plastic that one just sprayed out of the can like spray paint onto whatever needed to be protected. The doctor apparently thought that this would obviate the need for lumpy bandages that would come off and would be unsightly, sort of suggestive even. Nice of him. Really. The problem was that while the plastic did make a really nice tight seal, it only worked for a day or so. Then it began to crack. And get infected and the only way to get it off was to tear it off a tiny bit at a time taking bits of tissue.

I don’t know how it is that I had so many bad experiences with my health like this, but I did. Mom said it was because I was too impetuous and wouldn’t wait. I’d just rush out to do things regardless of the risk. This accident was entirely my own doing, however, not to be laid at Dad’s feet. It was the sort of thing kids do while they are learning what not to do. But the drilling episode wasn’t the only excitement I had while working on the skull with dad.

Acetylene Torch Hell

Ever stood in front of an acetylene torch that’s cutting steel? I don’t recommend it. But my dad was like Christopher Plummer in the Sound of Music - without the whistle. So when he told me to do something, I did it, in spite of my fears because his anger could be worse than whatever experience awaited me. This torture involved an operating acetylene torch.

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