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[5] Kissing Monkeys

When I was five I had my second surgery (the first was eye surgery when I was three.) It was a typical tonsillectomy with adenoidectomy. Not a big deal, although when my own kids had this procedure, it was quite the adventure.

For the first, it was because he didn't tolerate the anesthesia well, so had a bunch of after-effects. Plus, one nurse yelled at me for for offering him an all-natural dye-free popsicle, whereas she wanted to give him a artificially-colored tube of frozen chemical water. (The other nurses were kind about altering the traditional hospital diet according to our concerns.)

For the second, it was that the hospital originally wasn't planning on doing the procedure, and they didn't have a pediatrics ward, so we knew that if there were any complications we'd have to travel to a different hospital. In the end, I think my son received much kinder care because the staff wasn't sick of kids!

I remember the overnight stay of my surgery (so lonely, since parents weren't allowed!) and of course the searing throat pain afterwards. Two wonderful things came out of the surgery though (aside from no longer having frequent ear infections): some soft foam slippers that I'm sure I wore until they disintegrated, and some excellent neon kissing monkeys which hugged me with their velcro arms.

Not so long ago, my youngest son got his own velcro-armed creature (a frog) when we went to Armed Forces Day during an ECHL's hockey match. During one of the period intermissions, the arena was silent while the faces of those local soldiers lost in combat since around 1995 flashed on the screen. The slide show ended with a spotlight towards the family members of the deceased. They smiled and waved at the camera. But my son was sobbing. He was still sobbing 45 minutes later. The rest of the audience was bellowing their chants at the opposing goalie, but my son whispered, "They are so young. And one died right near my birthday."

It took snuggling a brand-new frog stuffie to finally get him to stop crying. The frog's embrace was comforting to my sensitive son, just as those silly kissing monkeys could cuddle with me post-surgery, nursing me back to health.

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