Thursday, August 1, 2013

Face to face with terror .....

When I was very young, I had a number of health problems.  More on that later, but for now, a quick detour to tell the story of one hospital stay.
At around three years of age, I contracted pneumonia and was very ill.  So ill, in fact, that my Grandmother told me later that I almost died.
At the hospital, I was placed in Intensive Care and Isolation, and my grandparents had to wear masks in my presence.
They brought me little gifts or flowers each day I was in the hospital, and on one visit my Grandmother decided to bring me something extra special.
I was sleeping, but woke up when she arrived.  She, eagerly anticipating my joy at receiving this special gift, held it up in front of my face so I'd see it as soon as my eyes opened.
What I saw, through a haze of pneumonia-laced grogginess, was my Grandmother leaning over my bed, her cat's-eye glasses glinting atop a surgical mask, and this hovering in front of my face:
Barbie, ca. 1960
Terrified, I screamed and started crying.
Despite our less-than-auspicious first meeting, I did later come to love that Barbie™ doll.  (And, fortunately, today's Barbie™ looks much less menacing than she did in my day.)