Todays assignment: Infectious
As I told you earlier, my parents had 6 children, and the first of us came in a nice rhythm: boy, girl, boy, girl. Then there was a slight hick up and a ten years break, and the last two of us were girl, boy.
There are almost precisely 20 years between my eldest and my youngest brother, five years between the brother in the middle and me and ten years between me and my baby sister.
Two of us, my older sister and my little brother, have their birthday on the same day. The brother in the middle has his birthday on Saint Nicholas Day, my little sister has hers on Winter solstice and I have mine on Christmas day.
We lived in our little town at the river and were all good swimmers from a very young age.
When I was 18, my parents bought an old farmhouse across the river, and my family got their very own beach. Or maybe beach is not the right word. There was no sand, just dark grey mud, and until my dad built a bathing jetty, it was a slippery affair to get into the water.
There also were (and are) fish in the river: eel, bream and pike amongst others, and mussels.
The mud on the ground makes the water muddy and dark, and it is good not to think about what kind of fish might swim beneath you, but in reality it’s mostly the mussels that can be a problem. Did you know that you can get jaundice from cutting yourself on the shell of a mussel?
When my baby sister was around ten, she got jaundice, and until the doctors knew, what kind it was, she went into quarantine in a large hospital 30 kilometers away from home.
I don’t know, how that kind of things are handled today, but back then it took the hospital what felt like for ever to figure out, what kind of jaundice my sister had, and during that time we were only allowed to get into her room with masks on our faces.
As I understand it, jaundice is an illness in the liver, which makes your skin and eyes yellow, and the only treatment they had for it back then, was to feed my sister very bland and boring food like bread without anything on it and cooked minced meat without any kind of spices; not even salt.
To make her forget about her circumstances, our parents brought her things to play with and books and comic books, and especially many Asterix and Obelix books. The last ones backfired though, because if you’ve ever read Asterix and Obelix, you also know, what’s their favorite kind of food: roasted wild boar!
Missing our moms cooking, my sister began fantasizing and dreaming about, how absolutely delicious roasted boar must taste, and she was convinced that when she was well again, roasted wild boar would be the first thing she would eat.
Luckily she did get well again, and it turned out that the kind of jaundice she had, actually was not contagious. She had cut herself on a mussel while swimming, and was send home some weeks later, but she still had to eat bland food for a long time.
I don’t know, if she forgot about the wild boar, but anyway, it was not something you could just buy in a shop back then.
I also don’t know, if she ever had roasted wild boar at a later point, but she actually saved two small pigs from one of those terrible pig farms last year and gave them a home in her own garden under a huge plum tree and with their own mud hole.