Violet Mackerel’s Remarkable Recovery
Violet Mackerel has an extremely sore throat.
It feels awful to talk, terrible to swallow, and horrible to eat.
Her older sister, Nicola, and her brother, Dylan, have just left for school. Violet has been home from school all week, and today Mama is taking her to see Dr. Singh.
Violet quite likes Dr. Singh because he asks good questions, such as “Would you like to hear your heartbeat through my stethoscope?” and “Do you want to see how my examination table goes up and down?”
Also, if you meet him for the first time when you are only five years old, and you wonder, since his name sounds like “sing,” if he might be a singing sort of doctor, he doesn’t mind making up a little tune such as:
When Violet and Mama get to the doctor’s office, they sit in the waiting room. Mama knits a few rows of a soft, rosy cardigan. She is a very good knitter.
Soon the lady at the desk says, “Violet Mackerel,” which means it is time for Violet and Mama to go and see Dr. Singh.
“How are you this morning?” he asks, feeling her forehead.
“My throat hurts,” croaks Violet, “and it feels as if there is a cactus in it.”
Dr. Singh presses a big, flat Popsicle stick on her tongue.
“Say ahhhh,” he says.
“Ahhhh,” says Violet.
“And again,” says Dr. Singh.
“Ahhhh,” says Violet.
“Hmm,” says Dr. Singh, who has been looking down Violet’s throat. “I’m afraid that’s a bad case of tonsillitis.”
Violet has had tonsillitis before. It is when two bits at the back of your throat, which are called tonsils, swell up and feel as though you have swallowed a cactus.
“I’ll give you some lozenges for now, to help with the prickles,” says
Dr. Singh, “but I think it would be a good idea to have your tonsils taken out.”
Violet, however, does not think this is a good idea. She generally prefers not to have things taken out.
“It’s a very simple operation,” explains Dr. Singh, “and you’ll be asleep all the way through it. And then you’ll need a while at home afterward, resting and eating ice cream.”
Violet has never been in the hospital before and she quite likes ice cream.
“Anything else?” she asks.
Dr. Singh thinks.
“Well,” he says, “some people find that their voices change a little bit after they have their tonsils out.”
This is very interesting to Violet, who always thinks about singing when she sees Dr. Singh, even though she knows now that he is not really a singing sort of doctor.
Violet thinks how exciting it would be if, when she was singing in the bath, her voice carried down
into the garden and all the way along the street. The neighbors would say, “Who is doing that lovely opera singing?” and Mama would say, “Oh, that is Violet. She always sings like that since she had her tonsils out
and soon she is going to be a real opera singer on the radio.”
“How soon could I be an opera singer on the radio?” croaks Violet.
“Well, most people feel completely better in a couple of weeks,” says Dr. Singh. “I’m not sure about opera singing, but I have certainly seen some remarkable recoveries in my time.”
Violet decides that hers will be the most remarkable recovery Dr. Singh has ever seen in his time.
“Until then,” he says, “would you like pink throat lozenges that taste
like strawberries, or purple throat lozenges that taste like grapes?”
Violet thinks it is an excellent question.
“Purple, please,” she says.
Dr. Singh pops open a packet of lozenges and gives one to Violet so it can start soothing her throat prickles
right away. The purple lozenge looks like a precious crystal in her palm.
And it gives Violet an idea.