Thursday, June 25, 2009


I snuck in the last What If? as it occurred when I was only about 6 years of age and this one is when I was aged 12.
For a number of years I had been "not entirely well" with pains in my side etc., and had even been put on a non-red meat diet for a year or so as it was thought I may be suffering from kidney problems. You must remember this was in the 1940s and the tests available today certainly were not available then.
In January, 1944 I stayed for a week with a friend in Waroona and when I returned home my health really deteriorated quite rapidly. Really chronic stomach pain, temperature, vomiting etc. etc. A very good GP (Dr Guilfoyle) came to see me a few times but couldn't fathom out what was wrong. Finally, in the last week of January the pain stopped but I was obviously extremely ill. The doctor called an ambulance and arranged for a prominent specialist to operate that night. I was taken to St John of God Hospital in Subiaco and incidentally shared the ambulance with a lad from up the road who had rheumatic fever!!! It was war time and there was a shortage of ambulances in those days as there was with so many other things.
Mr Gill, the specialist, told my parents he would operate but did not know what he would find. He stated though that if he didn't operate before midnight then I may not live to see the following day as I was in a rather bad state.
My folks sat for an hour or more waiting and finally Mr Gill came and told them that I had suffered a ruptured appendix which would lead to peretonitis and a lengthy stay in hospital. The reason that no doctor had been able to diagnose appendix problems was because mine was situated up near my right kidney and Mr Gill said had it been much closer it would not have been possible to remove it without damaging the kidney. Mr Gill called in to see me the following morning after which he left on his annual holiday.
I continue to think: What if my GP hadn't been so on the ball. What if Mr Gill had already left on his holidays? What if the appendix had burst while I was still on holiday in Waroona? I spent four weeks in hospital and it wasn't for a week or more that the doctors were able to say I was actually out of the woods. It was not a pleasant experience with quite some pain involved but one thing I will say is that the nuns (all the nursing staff were nuns in those days) were so wonderful.
This is just a further example of What Ifs? in my life that remain with me to this day. Some results, as in this case, turned out to be very positive....others didn't, as you will see in further stories in this series.
I hope you enjoy them but I think it does me good to relive them. Sometimes refreshing memories can be very good for us....sometimes not so good.....but although I try and always live for the future all these experiences are what make us what we are today so why not go back from time to time and relive them?


  1. A bigger what if is what if you hadn't survived the operation - I believe it was touch and go from what Grandma told me when I was growing up. Who would have been my Mum then? xxx

  2. Maybe you would have had a really fabulous mother as I have never been sure I have filled the role to the best of my limited ability. I am glad though that I survived just for the fact of having you as my daughter who has given me such lovely children and subsequent grandchildren. xxxx