Progress, not perfection

Dad never worried about transporting his kids in the back of his pickup truck until I went flying through the air one day.Micki and Dee, 1945I landed face first and smashed my mouth.  I was five and my permanent teeth were on their way through my gums, recently vacated by baby teeth.

My childhood ended that day and years of torment at the hands of dentists became my lifelong experience.  Two things reminded me of this lately, one being the panoramic X-ray of my mouth during a recent dental visit, the other being the MRI I had yesterday.

The X-ray showed all my root canals, caps, crowns and fillings as well as the permanent bridge that the anesthesiologist is careful to note before they knock me out.

The MRI showed a tear in the tendon in my right shoulder. I fell again three days ago, landing on my right arm.  I’ve had the pain in my shoulder, for over a year, but falling down doesn’t help.

My osteopathic surgeon, who has been patching me up for some time (you must have a hell of a garden he tells me) thinks I will improve with PT, so, this morning when I was at the hospital to have blood drawn for my physical, I signed up for several sessions.

Next week, when I have my physical exam, I will discuss my penchant for falling down with my GP. However, I’ve been falling down all my life, often landing on my right arm or very hard head.

The second thing that happened to me when I was five was a poor old dog chained up in GA summer heat, attacked me when I tried to pet him.  The attack was followed by a series of rabies shots.  (The neighbors disposed of him before the authorities could test him for rabies.)

The third, fourth and fifth things were tonsilitis, appendicitis, measles (both kinds), mumps, and several episodes of pneumonia.

Most of the ailments I experienced as a child have been eradicated or ameliorated, at least by sensible parents, who following rules and regulations put in place by caring and educated people, learned to use child restraints in automobiles, have their children inoculated, follow traffic safety laws, and demand communities enforce dog licensing with requisite shots for rabies.

When I was younger there were fewer laws, and/or lax enforcement.  However, poisonous air and water including DDT in food, lead in paint and auto emission pipes, arsenic in water, and asbestos in the air, were the norm.

My parents cared about their children, but adults were more ignorant before the 1960s.  I thought we had made progress overcoming ignorance, so what happened?

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Michelle, Mike and me missing my tooth, SC, 1947

 

17 thoughts on “Progress, not perfection

  1. Ohhhhhh OUCH!!! I’m so sorry for all you went through and are going through, Dianne. Yikes! You know what? Hawaii doesn’t have laws to protect children being transported on the back of pick up trucks either. Every time we see kids sitting on the back of trucks, it makes us shiver. It doesn’t make sense that you have seat belt laws, but people can sit on the back of pick ups. Sheesh!

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  2. It does seem like so many people are trying to go back to a time when we didn’t know any better — the “good old days”. Right. People died of falls like the one you took, smallpox etc etc….. let’s go back to that era. And I won’t even get into the people who want to go back to the era of hatred bigotry and misogyny. rampant in certain political campaigns.

    I am sorry for the pain you suffered — our parents really didn’t know better (until they learned the hard way). I can only imagine how terrible your dad must have felt. Love the scanned family photos. So sweet (and reminders of happy times too!)

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    • Dad felt very badly and tried to mke it up to me for a long time. Unfortunately, I took longer to get over being angry with him and lost the opportunity to really get to know him before he remarried my wicked stepmother, and later died.

      Yes, its scary how many younger people don’t understand that democracy takes work and electing a braggart and buffoon won’t do.

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  3. I saw your comment in Joared Along the way and came over. A lifelong experience with dentists does not make for fond memories I imagine. As for pick-up trucks, my husband used to drive one to work. He retired then stopped driving about 4 years ago as his Alzheimer was progressing – he would be at a stop sign, look right and forget to look left – we had some scary times and he stopped driving. His pick-up sat in the driveway. I just had it overhauled so I can start using it for our move to Nashville – I drove it today to the grocery store. It was not as easy to park as my little car, but it drove OK. By the way, I think in Georgia we can’t have people in the back of pick-ups – unless it is in small towns, away from the law … but I do see many dogs loose in the back of pick-ups.

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    • Times change and these days folks are more aware of the dangers to children.

      My SIL drives a pickup truck and his dogs ride in the cab with him. Daisy Mae, his bird dog, sits on his back and hangs her head out the window. Really funny to follow him down the road because it looks like a dog is driving the truck.

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  4. Another interesting read Dianne. The thought of you flying out of the back of the truck at such a tender age made me wince. I have ridden in the back of a truck but over fields on a farm. It was quite a bumpy ride and I look back and think maybe not such a good idea, but it was so much fun and I was in my 50s at the time and we were being taken a tour of the buffalo herd our relatives had. The thought of landing in the middle of them just gave me pause for thought too. Ah well, here I am to say thank you for telling us your life’s experiences.

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    • You could have landed in a pile of buffalo chips! 🙀

      At the time of my accident, Dad was running a logging crew in the Okefenokee Swamp and I am sure we were on a logging road. He took me with him many times to the sawmill, but this day was fateful!

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  5. Hahaha. Great pictures. When I was married and lived in Louisiana half of the population had pickup trucks. Now I admit that a lot of them probably needed them to either do hauling work or get through the mud to their homes. However, come the weekend you would see that backs of the pickups loaded down with kids, dogs, friends and family headed for the lake. Being from Houston I didn’t know that many people with pickups in the city. So I was always afraid when their was a truck full in front of us in case anyone fell out and we ran over them or they slammed on their breaks and someone came flying through out windshield. I think I had one of those worst case scenario ways of thinking. My ex just thought I was crazy – but you know I was right.

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    • Yes, you are right. The problem, of course, is that it’s the crazy people who drive with kids in the standing in back or on the seat as some little kids used to do. That’s why we need laws, to protect the innocent.

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