A Trip Down Medical Memory Lane!

Today’s post is prompted by my daughter Caitlin asking what blood types my husband and I are. She read some research indicating people with Type A may be more susceptible to Covid-19.

I knew Scott’s was Type O (whew!) since it’s on his dogtag from 1971. Me? No idea!! I checked my online medical profile but there was no mention, despite the numerous blood tests I have had due to a long-standing diagnosis of low blood platelets. So I pulled out my “Medical History” folder. After spending almost an hour (and finding nothing about my blood type!) I decided it was important to document some of this information in an easier to locate format.

Mom did a good job keeping records!!

Thanks to my mother’s penchant for keeping things, I had an envelope labeled “Debbie’s Medical Records.” I actually found this years ago in the safe deposit box we shared. Mom also seems to have suffered with the same “disease” I do: FWIDSIDIA (Forgot What I Did, So I Did It Again!) All the cards have aLmost, but not exactly, the SAME information!

I reviewed all the information and now have a nice Excel spreadsheet on my computer titled “Deb – Medical Info.” (Take note of that, family!) Hopefully, I’ll remember to update it in the future.

I did discover a few interesting things. Since our “medical history” is also part of our personal history, I am including it here for posterity’s sake.

I suffered through pretty much ALL of the childhood illnesses typical for the 1950s-60s. Going through the list of illnesses, I realized perhaps my memory is not as accurate as I thought. I have told a pitiful tale of having to miss my birthday party due to the German Measles. My birthday is in February. According to my mother’s notes, I had the German Measles in May (and I was only 4!) So why do I have a vivid memory of sitting on my bed (in the “little room” for you family members), watching trees march down Goebel Road (fever hallucination!) and hearing the sounds of kids voices in the living room because my mom held the party anyway? No idea. But, guess I can’t tell that story any more!

One of my “favorite” diagnoses” is that of Screamer’s Nodules. I was diagnosed with that in 5th grade. That memory is accurate. The ailment causes nodules in my throat to enlarge when I talk too much. The treatment was that I wasn’t allowed to talk for a week. Yeah – that didn’t work. I still have issues with this – especially the first weeks of school every year,

6th grade – Bear Path School – Hamden, CT
Can you determine which one is me?? (Answer at end of blog!!)

I thought that was the same year I had the bone growth x-ray. My paternal grandmother was worried about why I was so short, so she paid for the test, the purpose of which was to determine whether I was growing properly or had some sort of medical issue. Diagnois: short for no particular reason. But – I guess I had the test when I was 13, not 10 as I had always thought. ( I was 4′ 3″ at the time. Average height for a 13 year-old girl is 5′ 1″ so…)

I was so annoyed to have contracted mononucleosis in 1974. (From a boyfriend… yup… the “Kissing Disease.”) Because of that, I had to miss my sister Sandy’s wedding. The upside was I got an A in Chemistry! I was diagnosed after I passed out and fell down the stairs at (then) Southern Connecticut State College. I was out of school for a month. The professor took pity on me and just gave me the A. We all know there was no way that would have happened otherwise!!

1974 – I’m wearing what became known as “The Mono Skirt.” I think I wore it the entire month of my illness! I still have it, of course. The same can’t be said for the dollhouse. The Yield House was my first REAL 1″ scale house. Mom bought for me when I turned 18.

I was smarter in my younger years. I got the Swine Flu vaccine in 1976. I’ve never gotten the flu vaccine due to my egg intolerance. You can bet I’ll take my chances and get the vaccine from now on! (Happy now, kids?)

My next “major” diagnosis, in 2002, was “Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura.” Quite the mouthful. It means “low blood platelets for no particular reason.” There seems to be a theme there. ITP is no big deal. In the event my platelets drop really low, I might bruise easily or have trouble healing from a wound. The real bummer is I can’t donate blood.

In 2005 I was diagnosed with a hearing loss. Interesting, because one of the few things my father ever shared with me (besides that we were Irish, which we aren’t!!) was to monitor my hearing as there is deafness in our family. His uncle, Benjamin Ostermann (1880-1955) was deaf-mute. I finally caved and got hearing aids a few months ago. It definitely has improved my quality of life (ie. no ringing in my ears when I’m wearing them) but life in the classroom is less funny.

And now I am “elderly.” And at the greatest risk of contracting Covid-19. Somehow my high bad cholestrol, low good cholestrol, borderline high blood pressure, rapid pulse, low blood platelets, slightly too high body mass index, can’t hear for crap, and shortness for no particular reason don’t seem quite as important. We are staying in and following the rules. Thankfully, I have technology and inside hobbies to keep me busy.

Stay well everyone. Do your part to “Flatten the Curve” and order takeout #saverestaurants!

Answer to which kid was me?? – I’m the girl standing on the far left – next to the row of seated kids.

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