If you've read my previous blog post, you'd know that my sister is currently recuperating in hospital after a surgery to remove her appendix. There were a lot of tears (coming from me) when I got the news but here's a more light-hearted (and freaky) side to her unfortunate story that dates all the way back to my childhood.
I've always been a bookworm. When I was a little kid, I'd read so many books in a day and my Auntie L from down south of Malaysia would send books all the way to me who's up north. I'd receive books by the dozen — the smell of untouched books was euphoric to a bookworm like me.
I grew up in a small city in Malaysia called Ipoh and back in the 90s there really wasn't much in terms of shops or facilities in my hometown. We had (and still have) lots of pretty mountains and limestone caves though!
Back in the day, whenever I'd receive books from my Auntie L, it'd literally make my day for months. She posted me all sorts of storybooks that I could never have gotten from my tiny local bookstore and one of my favourites was Madeline. The excerpt below pretty much sums up its background story:
Madeline attends a Catholic boarding school and in one of the chapters, she woke up in the middle of the night crying due to pains in her tummy. Her crying woke up all her other friends including her housemistress.
In a panic to help the weeping child, her housemistress, Ms Clavel, called up the doctor who then informed the nurse:
And that my friends, was how I first learnt the word 'appendix'. It was a big word for a pre-schooler whose second language is English so I had to ask my late grandmother to explain what it was. And, she did.
She told me how everyone has it but sometimes it gets filled up with icky things and if it wasn't removed it'll burst and make you very ill. Although intrigued, I thought the whole thing was just weird.
Madeline got a scar on her stomach as a result of the operation; she even showed it to all her friends.
There were other chapters in the book but that particular chapter is so fresh in my mind, probably because it left me the most curious. I guess you can say it was my early introduction to the 'medical field'. Appendix, doctor, nurse, operation, scar — you get me?
My sister texted me just now saying that her scarred area hurts. And that was when the story of Madeline suddenly entered my mind. Wait wait, I'm not done. There are so many similarities between her appendix story and my sister's — it's freaky!
Both Madeline and my sister were in boarding school when they found out they had appendicitis. Madeline was described as the smallest; my sister is the (second) smallest in her boarding house. Madeline received tons of get well soon gifts and so did my sister. Madeline's housemistress is FRENCH — so is my SISTER'S!! A French housemistress in Malaysia, come on, what are the odds?!
Hellooo freaky right?! It's as if my favourite story as a kid came to life — too bad it wasn't a happier one. So now I'm curious... which other stories that I've read will come to life next?