Sunday, December 23, 2007

Memories of Christmas past...

In the next day or two I thought that I would share some of my Christmas memories with you. Here's the first one:

In 1969 my dad was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease. He'd had it for many years so by the time it was diagnosed it had wreaked havoc with his back. The only real "cure" for his situation was surgery but my dad wanted to try everything possible before putting himself through that. Upon being diagnosed with this disease the first thing they did was put my dad in the hospital and put him in traction. His hospital bed had wheels and pulleys hanging from galvanized pipes that were attached to the head and the foot board. He had to put his head in a canvas sling that went under his chin and and up on either side of his head like bunny ears. The bunny ears were linked up to the pulleys and the pulleys had sand bags hanging down at the foot of the bed. The weight of the sand bags pulled his head up and this was supposed to elongate his spine and help take pressure off of his vertebrae.

This didn't really help his pain and so he was in and out of the hospital several times that year. Obviously he couldn't work and thus our income simply stopped. My mom worked at See's Candy store during the holidays but as you can imagine that didn't really bring in the big bucks.

We never had to do without, but things were getting pretty tight. Right before Thanksgiving our family was sitting at home when we heard a knock at the door. When my mom answered the door there was no one there but our front porch was covered with bags and bags of groceries. I don't believe anyone ever took credit for this wonderful gift but we are pretty sure it was her friends from the Mother's of Twins Club. I remember that this made both of my parents cry. I wasn't really sure what "happy tears" were all about but I took their word for it when my folks told me that they were crying because they were so happy.

My dad was back in the hospital in the first week of December. He relented and had surgery on his spine. The surgeon took a piece of my dad's hip bone and formed it in to a new vertebrae and fuse it in to my dad's spine. This was all done through my dad's neck. Once the surgery was over he was put in a 4 poster brace that held his head, neck and back in alignment. He had to lay flat on his back for weeks. They wouldn't even let him out of bed to pee.

My dad got to come home right before Christmas. When he came home I realized that he wasn't going to die and I breathed a sigh of relief. On Christmas eve one of my aunts gave me and Tori each a Madame Alexander baby doll. I had never been so shocked or so thrilled in my entire 9 years on this planet. My cousins all had Madame Alexander dolls coming out of their ears and I was always so jealous that I couldn't even see straight. I always coveted their fancy dolls but they were waaaaay out of our price range so I never, in my wildest dreams, ever, thought that I would have one. Especially that year. When I finally got brave enough to take my doll out of her box, (I didn't want to disturb her...she was just sooo perfect...) that's when I learned what happy tears were all about. I felt kinda stupid crying over a doll, I was 9 years old, far too mature to be crying over anything...but I guess everything changes when you become a mother. (Even if it is only to the most beautiful doll in the world.)

What? Pft! Of course I still have the doll.

**Footnote to 1969...during the course of this year not only had my dad been diagnosed with a pretty serious health situation and had to quit his job but we had an awful winter storm that actually blew the roof off of major sections of our house. We had rain leaking into just about every room in our house. The rain was leaking in to my bedroom from the overhead light fixture. During this monsoon of a storm we had to go visit my dad in the hospital. My mom got Tori and I into the car and started to back down the driveway. She didn't get very far before she put the car in park and just sat and cried. I thought the had just had enough of the stress of having a husband in the hospital, having the roof blown off of our house...etc, etc. It wasn't until the next day that my mom had to tell us that she had run over and subsequently killed our cat.

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2 Comments:

Blogger MinaG said...

Tina, your life has the makings of an engaging book to read.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

oh good God, all that and THEN killed the cat?

Wishing you the merriest of Christmases/Christmas'/Christmas's (I have NO idea how to spell that)

2:22 AM  

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