Hugh's Life Spared Twice
Contributor: jillpz Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
The summer of 1930 was spent trying to earn enough money for school clothes, spending money, etc. Jobs were scarce and low paying for a 16 year old. Lloyd Zezegai, Harold Law, Bill Loder and myself decided to go to Twin Falls and Burley, Idaho to earn extra money in the fall harvest We traveled in two Model “A” Fords owned by Lloyd and Harold, who were cousins. We had some interesting experiences but that is another story.
After about 2 weeks I went to work for my Fathers’ brother, Uncle Aaron. I lived with them, ate my meals with them, etc. During the harvest of picking spuds and topping beets, my hands chapped and cracked, and I got blood poisoning in my right hand. I had planned to stay and look after the stock while the family went on vacation; but the infection was severe. I returned to Bountiful by bus.
During my stay in Burley there had been a wide spread epidemic of scarlet fever. Thursday after I returned home was spent shopping for school. After shopping I went to a show—“Snow White and the Severn Dwarf”. After 15 minutes I started to burn with fever and then chill. I knew I had scarlet fever and went home immediately. Dr. Kessler could find no rash or other symptoms, but took the precaution of isolating me. Five days later there was no doubt, and the quarantine signs went up.
Dora, H.P. and those who had to be out of the house were scattered to other homes. The younger children stayed upstairs, and Mother and I stayed in the basement. My illness was severe, and Dr. Kessler credited mother with making the difference. She nursed me night and day for more than three weeks.
There was great concern for the other family members in the house. Everything was sterilized--dishes, clothes, etc. I can still smell the Lyso.l Food was placed on the landing leading to the basement (probably by Leah). Mother would sterilize the dishes, towels etc., and put them back on the landing.
During the height of my illness we had a setback. I started hemorrhaging through the nose, and we could not stop it. The high fever had thinned the blood so it would not clot. Dr. Kessler worked through the night packing the cotton into my nose (unbelievable amounts) and doing everything he could to stop the bleeding. This problem lasted several days and frequent nosebleeds have continued most of my life.
After about 3 ½ weeks the worst was over and I wanted to go to school. The law said that I could not be released until the skin had all shed. Because of the manual labor I had done there was thick calluses on my hands and soles of my feet which would not shed. As a result the quarantine lasted another five weeks (8 weeks in all). It was now Christmas.
During all this time Mother catered to my every need. I probably was not a good patient. Mother was able, during this last period, to spend some time upstairs. As my appetite came back I had a constant craving for milk toast (toast in white sauce, sometimes with sliced hard boiled eggs on top.) Mother made this for me several times a day. As a result I gained back the many pound I had lost and about 15-20 more.
When I returned to school the Doctor instructed there should be no exercise or sports. With my love of sports I was soon playing basketball, tennis, etc. I made the basketball team and played through the practice season before being declared ineligible because of the missed school The doctor was right. As a result of the activity that winter my heart developed an irregular beat which is still with me.
I owe a great debt to Mother for her loving care. I acknowledge the disruption my illness brought into the lives of other family members. I express my sincere love and appreciation to each of them for their understanding. They know who they are. I love all of you.
After my mission release in late December 1935, I accepted employment with my brother Ivan in Ely, Nevada. I operated a one man food distribution business for him while he entered the insurance business. I met many great people both in and out of the Church and enjoyed it.
Early in August I left Ely and returned to Salt Lake City to prepare for college. My desire was to go to the University of Arizona at Tucson. The next evening (Friday) cousins Wilford and Vilate Cardon came to see Mother and offered to drive me to Tucson where they lived. We drove straight through to Phoenix, arriving there about midnight. As were leaving town on the way to Tucson, we had a minor accident involving a drunk driver. While we were parked and involved with this accident, another drunk driver approached at high speed going the opposite direction. As they swerved across the center line and onto the shoulder where we were parked they hit me and two others who had been witnesses of the first accident. We all received serious injuries.
I was taken to the St. Joseph’s Hospital where three very fine doctors spent five and a half hours repairing a wounds to my back. WIlford called Mother (over my protest) and suggested that she come at once. This was Sunday morning early. Mother (age 55) gathered together money for train fare, but little else, and left immediately for Phoenix via Los Angeles with a stopover. The trip took 32 hours, and Mother ate little if anything during this time. She had been told that I would probably not live to see her.
She arrived in late afternoon in a 115 degree temperature. She was ushered into the hospital office where they demanded she make financial arrangements before they would give her information about me. She had no money, so they finally let her come to my room. She found me lying in a blood soaked bed, bandages from thigh to upper waist , white as a sheet from loss of blood. She got as far as the door, took one look, and dropped in a faint. The bed next to me was vacant. They put her on it and proceeded to revive her. She spent the rest of that day, and most of the night, unable to leave that bed.
After several weeks the doctors released me to go to Uncle Emerson and Aunt Irene Pratt’s home in Mesa where mother had been staying. It was necessary for me to stay lying down. Emerson took the back window and seat out of his car and transported me on a litter to Phoenix three times a week for treatment. This lasted until mid October.
I can’t begin to express the love and appreciation I feel for the care I received from Mother, Emerson, and Irene with their young family. They, along with Dr. Williams and assistants, saved my life. It was a miracle.
When it was thought that I could travel (still on a litter) H.P. & Merle, drove down and brought Mother and I home. Canning season was over and mother worried all the way home that she had no food supply for winter. When we got home she found everyone of her hundreds of bottles, jars, and crocks had been filled by her friends. As fruit and vegetables became available they came into her home and canned just as she would have done if she had been there.
I want to express appreciation to the doctors who took are of me. Drs. Williams, Smith, and another whose name I do not recall, operated a very successful clinic in Phoenix. They were considered the finest in all of the Southwest. Also the most expensive. As began to recover I was concerned about how I would pay their bill. All three visited me daily in the hospital and three times a week at their clinic. They showed great concern. When I left to return home they were still putting me off with ,”Get well and we will send you a bill.” The hospital bill was over $2000 even then and I was sure there would be more. When the bill came it was for $100 total and an invitation to come in on my next visit to Phoenix for a visit and complete examination at no charge.
A few months later I did visit them and tried to get a more realistic bill from them. They assured me that although most of their patients were wealthy and paid high prices, there were many also who were not wealthy and they charged them accordingly.