Getting into a Bathtub Full of Ice Cubes

I have this very intense memory from when I was about 5 years old. I was standing in front of our yellow-beige bathtub not knowing what to do. I was delirious and discombobulated and my parents were talking about me very seriously, my mom’s clear-toned, concerned voice was filling the room, and my dad speaking in his low, serious tone. I don’t remember it but they were both crying. I was flailing my arms a bit, not knowing what to do but to trust them. The bathtub was about one-third full and had all of the ice cubes in the house floating and bobbing in it. They told me to get into the tub.

I recently asked my mom and dad what happened all those years ago and their memory is a bit more clear than mine. I thought I was just standing around confused but they said all three of us were crying before they told me to get into the tub. My memory was that I just got in and although I thought it would hurt, it didn’t really. But my parents both said I screamed a lot as the ice cubes swirled around my hips, knees and toes.

A little backstory: my father has two sisters, Rita and Marcia. Marcia passed away in 2014. She lived at home with her mother, my grandmother Irene, her entire life. She worked for the Sears Roebuck catalog company for as long as I could remember, working as a telephone representative. I’m guessing she took catalog orders and such. She had a raspy, piercing, crass voice that cut the air like a rusty serrated blade. When I think of Marcia, I think of her at family gatherings hollering to my grandmother like a wild mountain goat, “Maaaa? Maaaa! What are you doin’?” She always had that piercing, negative tone, but the rest of the family was accepting of it, so I was too. I often thought about the poor souls who called Sears and she’d tell them what-for.

Back to my story: My dad said that when Marcia was a little girl, she fell off of their bunk bed and banged her teeth into the dresser. The teeth were shoved into her gums and she apparently got an infection because she developed a high fever. My grandparents called the doctor but he didn’t know what to do. My dad said to me with supreme frustration in his voice, “talking to the doctor was like talking to a taxi driver. He didn’t know what to do.” The doctors eventually had Marcia take an ice bath to try and bring her fever down before her brain got cooked. But it didn’t work. The fever got very high and my dad said that Marcia was never the same after that. Before that accident, “she was just like any other little girl”. But the high fever gave her brain damage. It deeply affected her entire life.

So there I was with a fever, my temperature was 104 and climbing despite medicine. We were all rightfully scared. I was delirious. So into the tub I went. And I am forever grateful it worked!

Leave a Comment

Do not write "http://" or "https://" in your comment, it will be blocked. It may take a few days for me to manually approve your first comment.