Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Lola's Diary, Part IX

NaBloPoMo day three, and more tales from 1944. This one is pretty powerful to me for reasons that will become obvious. Here we go:

Saturday, June 24, 1944

Well we have been through a lot of anxiety and suffering since I wrote May 29. On Monday June 6th Charles woke me in the night groaning with his head. We doctored him for headache and biliousness all day Tuesday and Tuesday night the pain centered in his left eye. I had Dr. Woodward and he pronounced it acute frontal sinus infection and said it was serious. He doctored him until Monday, June 12 when he sent him to Dallas to Dr. Guy Jones. Dr. Jones made x-rays and announced that he would operate Tuesday morning, June 13.

He made an incision, bored through the skull, and inserted a rubber tube for drainage. Charles came out fine and did well until Thursday, June 15, when his temperature shot up. On Friday, June 16, Dr. Jones said he was in a very critical condition. He made two more incisions, inserted two more tubes, and told me that Charles had osteomyelitis in that bone over his left eye.

At this time penicillin had just been released for civilian use and Dr. Jones made application to Baylor hospital for it to use on Charles. He sent a smear of the infection to Baylor. They made a culture of it and allowed the amount of penicillin needed. They began the injections, given hyperdermically every three hours, Friday at 3:00 P.M. They have been giving them ever since.

By Sunday Charles was much improved and he has been clear of fever since Tuesday. I feel so grateful, so thankful for his recovery. He has two places in his forehead, but the doctor says they will grow back, he thinks. His left eye has been swollen shut since he got sick but we have hopes that it will be all right too. He has two grand nurses, Miss Threit and Miss Ponder. Everyone there treats him grand. I came home Wednesday June 21, and left him there at Jones & Jones Clinic.

Robbie and Wilbur and Martha were grand to me and to him all the time I was in Dallas. Robbie sent all my meals and did our washing and is still doing his. Martha sits with him during the daytime now.

Fred took me down and did everything he could for us. He and Bob came back twice. Mrs. Provence came and stayed with us from Saturday until Tuesday night and helped. Homer sat up all one night. Ida and Geneva and Pauline did what they could. Everyone was lovely and considerate. People prayed and his life was spared.

Mama and I are going to Dallas tomorrow. It is beastly hot today; has been unusually hot since Charles has been there - his fan has run day and night. We sent Wallace a box of cookies today. He has been so worried about Charlie, bless his heart.

Word comes that Toby Roberts is a prisoner. I am so thankful that he was not killed.


As it turns out, my father did fully recover from his illness, and his eye that had been swollen shut for weeks was fine once the infection went away. The places in his head where the surgeons had drilled into his skull did heal, and while he had a small scar near his left eye, it wasn't very noticeable at all.

Before I read this diary, I knew that Dad had a serious infection when he was growing up and had received penicillin for it, but I hadn't realized just HOW serious it was. Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone...that's how advanced things had gotten.

Dad did tell me that all the doctors couldn't believe how fast he got better once he started taking penicillin...and I can well understand after reading this how antibiotics were considered a "miracle drug" when they first were introduced. I'm very thankful it was made available for my father's use back then...since I'm pretty convinced that if he hadn't received it, he would have died from his infection, and I would never have come to exist.


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2 comments:

Thimbelle said...

Wow - he really was sick! It is startling to realize that penicillin was rationed as well; how we take such things for granted now!

Chuck said...

Thimbelle - We do take antibiotics for granted these days...I think too much sometimes. In Dad's case, it wasn't that it was being rationed so much as it had never been used before at that hospital.