Saturday, September 4, 2010

Convalescent Home

This will be the last post about my time in the convalescent home.
After the first week I was moved to a unit generally known as "Runabouts" because all the kids there were mobile. I was one of the only two eleven-year-olds and all the others were younger, but many were from the inner city and more sophisticated than I was.
The kids had various kinds of conditions and, in most cases, I never found out what their disabilities were. Our physical activity was limited, we had to take boring naps every afternoon, and most of us were given meds often. Once the nurse came out and gave me my allergy shot in front of the other kids on the playground and they thought I was brave not to even to flinch. Of course I was used to shots by then and they didn't bother me.
Our classroom was similar to a one room schoolhouse, although there were actually two classes divided by age. The teacher was good and she thought I was smart because I could shelve books in according to the Dewey Decimal system, which I'd already learned while hanging out in the library at home.
We were cared for by nurses and, like teachers, they had different styles of working with kids. One was a pushover and the kids could get away with anything when she was on duty, one was just, plain mean, and my favorite was strict, but fair.
Although living in the convalescent home wasn't a bad experience and I had no asthma attacks while there, I was happy to be sent home at the end of my six week stay, which happened to also be the end of the school year. But the experience had changed me in ways I couldn't guess at the time. It helped me understand people who were different from myself and made me care about people with special needs for the rest of my life.

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