the journey is the destination

I recently sent in a form to a hospital in St. Louis asking for my medical records related to the appendectomy I had as a lad. I have no hopes of receiving anything. Too many decades have passed, and I learned recently that in the state of Missouri, the legal requirement for hanging on to records is something like only ten years. My request is a long shot. A very long shot.

I’m not interested in the details of the surgery; I’m sure that was nothing special. What I hope to learn is whatever medical background my mother might have provided about me prior to the surgery. What I’m ultimately trying to find out is what it was I was hospitalized with as a small child of perhaps two years old, which I’ve spoken of in more detail in this post.

I asked my mother recently what it was that had afflicted me, and she could not recall. (Once before she told me I had pneumonia, but that was years and years ago, and she hadn’t seemed too certain at the time.) More recently I asked her what hospital I would have been in, and again she couldn’t recall though she thought it most likely to be the one where she had trained as a nurse.

So the long shot.

The point of this is to give me some experience for writing that story “Three Small Words.” In it the son finally acts on the old photo he’d found of his father as an infant that suggested the child had been gravely ill. His father has no memory of the time. The grandparents are long gone. He has nothing to go on except the approximate time and the city.

I suspect I’ll have no luck in my quest, and I’m sure I’ll work that into the story as well, concluding something like how you can never really know another person. So my actual frustration can inform my character’s.

Of course it I do get some solid information — and mostly likely it was pneumonia I had — that won’t work well with my story’s needs since whatever afflicted the father needs to have or suggest long-term implications for his heart health.

So we’ll see.


Explore posts in the same categories: Fathers and Sons

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