Page 75 - Pat's Tavern
P. 75

Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CraneDrawn To The LightAs I write this episode of my life I find that it is very difficult to recall in exact detail the sequence of events as they took place. I am referring to the time when I was just 3 years old and contracted Lobar Pneumonia. Little did I realize at the time how close I had come to dying, as my mother said that I ran a 106 degree Fahrenheit temperature. I do remember fading in and out of my coma or deliriums and each time that I did, I was drawn to the little lamp that I continually asked my mother to light. Whenever she did so, I was drawn to it as it offered such comfort. Between each episode when I slipped into darkness, I remember grasping each side of the bed as it seemed to keep spinning around. Like any other childhood disease, the young have little understanding of what is taking place. It is only after a period of time that the person, in this case, my mother, could tell me the ordeal that I had gone through. A child is not unlike what takes place within the animal world in that, for the most part, the patient is dependent upon the natural defense mechanisms to ward off or overcome the disease. That and including the medical and nursing care that the patient receives. In some cases it is just a matter of waiting until the disease runs its natural course. In my case, I was tended to at home and in an era when penicillin was not yet discovered. Sulfa drugs were the only medicine for Pneumonia at the time. This medicine was given to me by the doctor who made home visits. In later years I mentioned to a doctor friend that I had scarring in the corner of my eyes. He told me that was because the doctor who tended to me ran needles into my sinuses to restore breathing. The lamp came in the form of a Vapo-Cresolene Lamp that was invented at the turn of the 20th Century. As the name implies, it made use of Cresolene which is a caustic coal tar derivative. As modernists look back, they often demean it as, “Quack Medicine.” The only thing is, my mother used Eucalyptus Oil as a substitute. I suspect that she did so at the advice of my grandmother who was a registered nurse who was trained in the late 1800’s. “Eucalyptus Oil vapor acts as a decongestant when it is inhaled and is used to treat bronchitis.” Thanks to my mother, I was able to overcome my illness in time to celebrate Christmas in 1936. Needless to say, I have managed to acquire a Vapo-Cresolene lamp and whenever I light it the glow still draws me back over the course of time. God Bless my beloved mother for having led me out of the darkness.75

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