Jun 4, 2012

Sisterly Fights: A Home Tonsillectomy?

Image via Flickr/D.Clow - Maryland
My sister and I have these stories about fighting when we were younger. When we shared a room, Mom told us to clean it together. She would sneak out while I cleaned the whole thing, and then I'd tell Mom I was ready to have her look. When we'd get back to the room, there was my sister...playing in the middle of a heap of toys that I'd just put away. Mom would wonder why I'd called her in to check a room that clearly was not yet clean. I'd get so upset with my sister.

When we had separate rooms we'd sabotage each other's stuff. One wrong word could start a war waging. She'd do something to me that irked me, and then I would plot my retaliation. Her favorite cartoon poster came from a Fruity Pebbles cereal box, featuring the Flintstone family, and a big "Yabba Dabba Doo!" emblazoned across it in bright yellow. To this day, she has not forgiven my scribbling on that poster as revenge for whatever it is she did to me.

As teenagers, our fights centered on one area of house--the bathroom. There was only one, and we both needed it desperately. One time in particular, I was in the bathroom trying to close the door, and she was outside the bathroom in the hallway trying to get in. She pulled on the door and I pulled back. Finally, I tired of the tug-of-war and just shoved her out of the doorway as hard as I could. When her butt went through the wall, our fight came to an abrupt ending. Instead of the overwhelming need to get in the bathroom, our thoughts were consumed with, "Oh ***t! How do we tell Mom and Dad about this one?" The fear made us get the giggles and pretty soon we were laughing so hard we were crying! The butt-hole in the wall has become one of our most cherished stories, and we re-hash it regularly at family get-togethers.

I remember sisterly fights very clearly. In fact, my sister just brought up the old Yabba Dabba Doo poster while she was in town this past weekend for my daughters' dance recital. In the back of my head, I wondered what stories my own daughters would have to relive with each other in the future. 

Well, I no longer have to wonder...

Yesterday we ran a bunch of errands in between sports/hair appointments/Brownie cookouts. My youngest daughter (8) used her allowance to buy herself a big bouncy ball for $2.50. 

At bedtime, my older daughter (10) was brushing her teeth. Youngest had her new bouncy ball in hand as she walked toward the bathroom (always the scene of the crime!) Older sister decided to annoy younger sister by bouncing the ball out of her hands as she walked by. Younger sister got mad and decided to retaliate by bouncing the ball in her face. Problem?!? Toothbrush was in mouth at the time of impact.

Immediately I heard screams and looked toward the bathroom. More screams and lots of blood. I assumed a bitten lip, tongue or cheek. The amount of blood definitely warranted a trip to the ER for stitches. I tried to calm the injured one down, but I also remembered that the ball bouncer was probably upset, too. I wished I could clone myself to deal with both girls, but the bloody injury trumped the emotional injury in that moment. I yelled at my son to call his dad immediately and make him come back from the gym )he'd left just moments earlier to go work out.) As soon as I knew he was on his way, we grabbed a towel to catch the blood and tears and drove to the ER.

Luckily, there was no wait. Doctor number one checked her mouth and called doctor number two. Doctor number two checked her mouth and called doctor number three, an ear-nose-throat physician. Ear-Nose-Throat doctors and I have a long history together due to my severe allergies and hearing impairment. I wondered who they'd send down to check on my baby.

There is only one time in my life when I was so happy to see a doctor--that is when my 9lb 1oz baby boy was lodged in my cervix for the 19th straight hour, and my body couldn't open wide enough to get him out. (I wanted to marry the anesthesiologist who gave me the IV that eventually moved the labor along. My husband may even have kissed him!)  Our ER visit was another such time--I was extremely happy to have my very own doctor walk through the doorway to the room where my injured daughter and I waited. He marched right in and gave me a hug, then examined the injured throat with a lot of Tender Loving Care.  The verdict: tonsil laceration. He decided that the bleeding was slowing down enough that it didn't need stitches. The esophagus was not punctured and the airway was not yet obstructed (but I'm supposed to watch out for swelling. If it gets too bad, he may decide to take the tonsil out.) 

Now we are at home with instructions for recovery from a tonsillectomy: acetaminophen, popsicles, ice pack on the throat, don't cough too hard, don't blow your nose too hard, and rest. 

Some day, they will look back on this and laugh. Some day. Until then, we'll enforce a no bouncy ball during toothbrushing rule and make sure that there is only one person at a time in the vicinity of the bathroom. Home tonsillectomies are no fun. Seriously, if there were a sisterly fight competition, my daughters would have my sister and I beat! I hope that this is the only fight of its kind, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is only the beginning...(pray for me...)

Do you have famous stories of sibling fights? 


  1. First of all, I hope both girls are doing better. Talk about trauma on both ends. Geeze. I grew up sharing a room with two sisters. So you can imagine the warfare that would erupt between our touching things that didn't belong to us and having to share a single bathroom. You know, it's the lack of the lack of these kinds of that saddens me when I think of our son being an only child. Then again, when you ask him if he'd like to have a brother or sister, he quickly answers, "No." :-)

  2. Ouch, so sorry to hear of the accident! I'll keep you all in my prayers.

    I grew up with an older sister too, and we had a few famous fights especially when we were younger. I remember my mother putting Skippy, a younger doll (some relative of Barbie, I forget which), up on the fridge for a week after we squabbled over who got to "hold" her.

    But now we're best of friends. Isn't it funny how everything somehow works out!


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