#80 Booster Shot

I wrote in #4 Straddling The Bumper about being left in a hospital alone for surgery as a little girl. It was the most sweeping experience of my mother’s confusing behavior to that point, and likely I’ll stare at it again until there’s nothing more to see. 

After the surgery my father took me back to the Seattle hospital for follow-up exams.  When I was there for the surgery I was pretty numb not knowing what was ahead. But by that trip I so dreaded the dreary place, the painful tests and the heart pounding fear, I was sick by the time the two and a half hour drive was over. When we walked toward the old brick hospital complex, I grabbed on to the skyward rod iron fence that guarded the entrance, with both hands, and vomited into the weeds. I vomited again and again. My dad was impatient and annoyed. Or maybe he just didn’t know what to do. When we went into that antiseptic institution I was subjected to more of the long needles stabbed inside me, not understanding a thing. I had just turned ten. There was no discussion, ever.

Then my mother took me to the base doctor in our town. Not wanting more painful tests I started to cry in the waiting room and resisted going in. Turned out, he was just giving me a booster shot. She told him that this was what she had to put up with all the time. So he offered her a book on child psychology. She loved to tell, and often did tell anyone and everyone how I humiliated her that day.

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