Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Artificial Woman-pt. 4

It was sometime in First Grade that Rainbow needed surgery on her ears. This was discovered after several visits to an ear, nose and throat specialist, where her mom would talk with the doctor, and she would sit there with eyes glazed, looking at charts on the wall, and complicated machines.

She did however manage to hear the word "surgery" and went into panic mode, much to her mom's annoyance, as once Rainbow was in a panic, she didn't get out.

It was explained to Rainbow that because of her frequent ear infections, doctors were going to put in tubes to help fluid drain from the ears. And while they were at it they would take out her adenoids, with the goal of preventing further bad infections. Too many infections would cause hearing loss.

She stayed overnight at the hospital in a room with a boy who was even more afraid than she. A nurse came by taking dinner orders. Rainbow's dad was there and ordered toast for her. Her mother was in nursing school and couldn't make it.

When the toast came, Rainbow deemed it too dark, plus it was cut in half. She selfishly brushed it aside.

Throughout the night a stream of nurses came in, taking vitals. Rainbow didn't sleep well anyway, but it seemed like the nurses would arrive just as she was finally about to drift off.

Then, the next morning, surgery time--a shot in the butt and a foul-smelling mask and Rainbow was on her way to la-la land. She woke up unable to swallow without pain. Orange juice was requested and denied, but a Popsicle provided much needed relief.

Rainbow was surprised at how long the pain lasted. When she got home from the hospital, she immediately asked for toast.

Then she tried to swallow. Not easy, in fact, impossible with her throat dry, swollen and painful. She also had to keep her ears from getting water in them. Her mom washed Rainbow's hair in the sink, being careful to avoid the ears.

All told, she maybe missed a week of school because of the surgery and recovery. Whilst away, her classmates had made get well cards for her, and her teacher had finished her art project--an ashtray with a smiley face.

No doctor it seemed even knew about Turner Syndrome, let alone think Rainbow's problems with her eyes and ears were related to it.

Until she turned 13.

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