From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mastoiditis in the 1930s

My mother's ear problems as a child


Until Dennis got mastoiditis, I'd never heard of anyone having it except my mom. She had mastoiditis when she was about 8 or 10 years old. Obviously her ear or ears were badly infected because she had surgery on her mastoid bone. I think she had some hearing loss from it.

In the1930's, money was tight. I think that Mama got pretty sick before she finally saw a doctor. Her mom had passed away, and I am not sure whether her dad had remarried yet or not.

The doctor drove Mama from Gordon, Nebraska, to the Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings, Nebraska, for the surgery. It was a long trip -- probably over 200 miles -- and it must have been an exhausting and scary experience for a sick little girl. I am not sure how long she had to stay at the hospital, but surely they kept her for a day or two.


Mama said that they stopped on the way home and had ice cream. I'm glad she had at least that one little happy memory of the whole ordeal.

Infection-fighting antibiotics did not yet exist in the 1930s.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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