Writing about the day to day mysteries of life.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lost Track of My Veils

Last night while trying to fall asleep a completely unexpected memory/memories surfaced.  I hadn't thought about this in YEARS.  The summer I was fourteen my mother had me be a candy striper.  I think back on it and probably she just didn't know what else to do with a surly teenager.  I know I could not have wanted to do this, my grandfather died there the summer before.  I know I did not want to wear that horrible jumper of pink and white - ugh.  I got a badge for working over 80 hours that summer.  I would like to say I did the normal candy striper things like push around the library cart - who checks out a book in the hospital.  Three memorable jobs came to me.  I think maybe I really do have bad luck and have just always deceived myself into thinking myself lucky. 

My first candy striper from hell experience is wheeling a dead body to the morgue.  The nurse had me take it not just to the morgue, but into the morgue.  I had to ride the special elevator and go down the creepy halls. She kept urging me on to hurry so no one would see the dead body.  I saw it!   I am 14.  I report back to the candy striper office and get in trouble for going to the morgue.  They sent out a memo no candy stripers allowed in the morgue. 

My second experience was feeding an old, old, old man his lunch.  I just keep putting it in and he stored it all up like a chipmunk.  He did this rasping cough and coughed his entire lunch all over me.  I didn't eat baked pototes for a long time.  I am 14 - ewww!

The third lovely task set to me by a nurse was to change the sheets on a bed.  Now I had changed lots of beds, but not with patients in it.  The patient had his appendix removed that day.  Why did they make him get out of bed for clean sheets?  As deserved, he yelled at me for making him get up.  I felt awful, but changed the sheets as directed.  I was close to tears the entire time.  His family standing around watching me do this. 

The last event involved pushing a heavy patient through the tunnels to the adjoining medical building.  I pushed the huge guy for miles, I was gone almost an hour.  After that another memo went out saying candy stripers were not allowed to go to the medical building and be in the tunnels.

Funny how my veils are all revealing fears of medical things.  I guess I could move onto my mom dropping me off at the dentist for 12 fillings.  I sat in the office by myself all day and up until that appointment, with a new dentist, had never had a cavity.  I could move onto the orthodontist who removed the wrong tooth and all the dentists since then who have commented on the absurdity of my orthodontia. 

I think I am done removing veils.


  1. You're probably not done. I am often surprised by things that surface from childhood. It's like they were tucked away and forgotten. Like money in last winter's coat. And I like remembering them but I don't always like the memory. If that makes sense.

  2. Your childhood sounds like something out of a novel. Did you ever read Glass Castles?