When I was a kid, there was a very routine operation done to treat repeated sore throats known as the tonsillectomy. As I recall, this procedure was so common that you could call it a rite of passage back in the day–like learning to ride a bike. I read somewhere that surgeons performed about 1.5 million tonsillectomies annually compared with less than half a million today.
Tonsils are little lumpy masses of tissue at the back of the throat that doctors just loved to remove. I lost mine on February 10, 1965. I don’t know why I remember the date. Maybe it’s because it was my cousin Alan’s ninth birthday and I was traumatized about missing the party. But I doubt it, because I am sure that by that time, as a girl, I was bumped from the list. Still, I am positive about the date.
The surgery was very painful and resulted in a very bad sore throat for about a week or two. Grandma promised me I could have as much ice cream or chocolate pudding as I wanted when I returned home. Well that was certainly a joke, because it hurt so much I had a very difficult time just swallowing my own spit.
What I did get was a lot of attention, a cozy spot lying on the couch in the living room, and a new record player. I remember falling in and out of sleep and hallucinating some kind of animal floating above me. Since you were all with me for Kelly’s 21st birthday celebration when we saw Wicked, I think you will understand why I believe what I saw while recuperating from my tonsillectomy may have been flying monkeys. It’s what happens to me when prescribed drugs.
I am guessing that a large percentage of my peers no longer have their tonsils or at least know a close relative without them. I think I will start asking about this when there is a lull in conversation at the next party I attend. It’s going to be my new ice breaker.