An Open Letter To My Neighbors (Because This is Better Than Actually Talking To Them)

Peter Ponsil's smile is a gods damned lie.   Photo Credit:

Peter Ponsil’s smile is a gods damned lie.
Photo Credit:


Dear Neighbors,

Hi.  I have something to tell you.  This may come as a surprise, but we’re actually not killing our kids in here.  I know that’s probably shocking, what with all the noises you’ve heard these past 10 days.   But seriously.  We’re not even attempting to kill them.  I just wanted to clear the air.  Remove your suspicions.  You know, since you probably are suspecting murder right about now.  Let’s back up a week or so, eh?

Remember last Tuesday when we left the house at like 5:00 AM?  We were bringing Johnny to the hospital.  We thought it was no big deal.  I had my tonsils removed when I was a kid.  I remember being given a record (a 45!) and a coloring book telling me all about tonsils and why they sometimes have to come out.  I vaguely remember the mask for the anesthesia being put over my face and being told to count backwards from 10.  I remember making a bet that I could TOTALLY get all the way to 1 and still be awake.  Then I remember waking up and crying for my mother.  My only other memory of the procedure was receiving a gift basket full of coloring books and pudding a few days after I got home.  Having been through this myself lo those many years ago, I was not concerned with Johnny’s ability to endure it.  Hey neighbors?  I’m so sorry about my refusal to listen to the doctors and the nurses who told me this would be a fourteen day recovery.  I just thought they were lying liars.  I thought my vague memories from age 8 were valid.  And I, as you know, was wrong.

So by using your context clues, you’ve determined that Johnny had his tonsils out last Tuesday.  His adenoids, too.  Full disclosure?  I’m still not really clear on what adenoids are.  Doesn’t matter.  They’re gone now.  Tonsils.  Adenoids.  Faith that he’ll ever feel normal again.  All gone.  When he woke up from the procedure, he made some hilarious comments about having visions of other worlds and then he went back to sleep again.  And again.  And again.  There was morphine involved.  Morphine!  He’s ELEVEN, neighbors.  Have you ever seen an eleven year old on morphine?  It’s funny and also sort of alarming.  There’s always that moment when you wonder if his brain has been broken.  Like, what if he STAYS this way?  So that’s alarming.  But then the morphine wears off and the pain comes on and you’re like “No, it’s cool.  Give him whatever narcotics you want to give him.  Seriously.  Make that stop right now.”  And they do.  And then they just send you home like you’re equipped to deal with this on your own.  And that’s what we’ve been doing since Tuesday.  Dealing with this on our own.

It’s a lot like having a newborn again, neighbors.  Our lives have revolved around his medication schedule, which requires that we rush to his side with three different medications every four hours, plus also ice packs and heating pads and desperate pleading to PLEASE JUST DRINK ENOUGH LIQUIDS SO YOU DON’T DEHYDRATE BEFORE YOU GO BACK TO SLEEP.  I’m sure you remember Wednesday and Thursday last week, just one and two days after the procedure, when he seemed to be doing okay.  We remember those two days fondly, as well.  They were the best, weren’t they?  Then came Thursday night.  And every day and night since.  There has been actual SCREAMING, neighbors.  But I guess that’s not really news to you.  That is, after all, what prompted this letter.  There’s also been fist shaking.  Quiet yet desperate sobbing.  Johnny learned to curse the universe this past week.  It has been one hell of a week, is what I’m saying.  But there’s good news.  Good news for all of us.

Neighbors?  Johnny seems to be coming around.  We know at least one scab is finally out.  We know this because he spit the giant thing into my hand.  It looked like a brain, neighbor.  Or, closer still, it looked just like the pictures of those tumors I saw that one time when I was worried that my ovarian cyst could be the kind with teeth so I googled “cyst with teeth” to find out just what that might look like.  After the scab was deposited in my hand, being the concerned mother that I am, I ran in circles with it in my palm saying “ewww, ewww, ewww, there are no tissues in here!” until I found a tissue.  And finally, taking an action I will regret until my final day on this planet, I looked at it.  I looked at it closely to ensure there wasn’t any fresh blood on it.  And I will keep that visual with me until my final day, as well.  Promise me that you will never look at a tonsillectomy scab, okay?  PROMISE ME.  Right, so, why am I telling you about scabs?  Because it’s a really good thing when those scabs come out.  It means he’s healing.  It means he’s almost through this.  It means he might be done with the random bouts of screaming in pain.  Did you notice that that didn’t happen even once today?  Yea.  Me too.  It was kind of the best day.  And did you notice it didn’t happen even once last night?  Yea.  That was even better.  There was still the waking of the parents to demand his medicine, but it happened without the usual blood curdling cursing of the gods.  And that, we can all agree, is just the best.

Anyway, neighbors.  I just wanted to let you know that we aren’t trying to kill him, and hopefully it will stop sounding like we’re trying to kill him really soon.  Also, I’d like to thank all of you for giving us the benefit of the doubt.  In your shoes, I would have called the cops and accused you of infanticide after the first day of this nonsense.  You guys?  You’re aces.  I’d like to say that I’m going to bake you some cookies or come thank you personally, but we all know that’s not going to happen.  Todd will drop by, as is protocol, to smooth this over.  But the next time you see me slip into my house when I see you coming so I don’t have to talk to you?  Please know that I did it a little bit slower this time.  I’ve lived here for six years now.  I might be getting used to you.  And after this?  I might even like you.

Warm(er) regards,


P.S. Please stop ringing my doorbell during the day.  When I say I work from home, I mean I actually WORK from home.  Plus also, I’d pretend I wasn’t here even if I didn’t have other stuff to do.  Sorry.  I don’t like surprise visits.


Filed under I should be taking this a bit more seriously, In the hospital. Again.

3 responses to “An Open Letter To My Neighbors (Because This is Better Than Actually Talking To Them)

  1. Totally sending my sympathies. My kids had them out as toddlers, but still. Eleven is rough. At that age, you imagine you can reason with them.

    We had the nightly fears that our neighbors would call the cops on us for murdering our kids when they were babies and we tried to bathe them. Holy cow. It was like the water was melting their skin right off. I don’t know how we didn’t get called in.

    Except that our neighbors have kids, too, so they probably get it.

    Hope he feels better soon! And that you get some rest. :)

  2. uncle Jeff

    Feeling guilty here…for laughing hysterically at a story which involves an eleven year old who is obviously in dire pain…..

  3. i can imagine that It’s actually not funny at all if you yourself are in the middle of this all happening, but, sorry, it makes a hilarious read😀 I hope the kid is ok by now and the neighbors didn’t press charges for the noise pollution.

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