Illnesses

On the farm with so many children we went through all the illnesses children get, measles etc., I, however, had two or three additional calls on the medical services, in part due to my unruly nature. The first one was when I insisted in helping my

sister to cut bread with a bread-cutting machine. I got my fingers in too close and my left hand little finger was cut off by the first joint, hanging on only by a piece of skin. I was taken to the doctor in Kibæk who sewed up the finger so that it grew together again, a bit shorter than the right little finger and a bit mis-shapen on close examination, but no-one notices! Another occasion was a lot worse and could have been the end of me. In the end of the new barn built by my father, where the unthreshed grain was kept, there was a stable for the horses on the ground floor with a floor above on which was situated a chaff-cutter, pulled alternatively by hand and electricity. Sheaves containing all the grain, mostly oats, were cut into short pieces for the horses. The chaff including the grain was the pushed down a shute that led to a box inside the stable from which the feeder of the horses could take scoopfuls of the chaff. To get to the roof of the stable one had to use a ladder which was not fixed but moveable. Now our game was to take a cat up on the roof and send it down the shute into the chaff box below and get down fast to catch the cat again and repeat the exercise! However in going down fast the ladder fell and I fell headlong on to the concrete floor below. This was more than my 6 year old cranium could take, I cracked it in two places. I was unconscious for several days and woke up at Herning Hospital with a bandaged head. However, no doubt due to many prayers from my home I soon improved and after one week began to enjoy hospital life. I must have been the darling of the nurses. They spoiled me and when I had to go home I was actually not desperate to go. At home I was not spoiled, and it was very hard adjusting to fighting one’s corner again. On one occasion I got so fed up I decided enough was enough and I was going back to hospital. I collected a couple of towels and a pair of trousers and walked out towards Herning. A neighbouring farmer, Arne Larsen, discovered me walking past and asked me where I was going and I told him “back to hospital”. He became suspicious and took me straight back home – ‘spoil sport’.!!

I had yet another calamity which is now used as a distinguishing mark -I lost half of the index finger on my left hand. This time there was no possibility of patching up -it was lost for good. It happened when I was 7. We were sowing grain, and the sowing machine had nine individual drills which were fed from the grain box and agitated by a rod with toothed wheels inside the box. Sometimes the holes from which the grains were entering the drill could get blocked with awns. I had seen our boy unblocking the holes with his fingers but did not notice he was only doing this when the drill was stopped. The machine was pulled by two horses and my job was to lift the drills if roots or straw were picked up by the drills. I   noticed that a hole was blocked and wanting to be efficient tried to clear it with my finger but my finger disappeared almost to the first joint. When our worker saw the extreme bleeding he became worried and hurried home with me and the horses. I got wrapped up and went by horse-wagon to the doctor in Kibæk who cleaned off the wound to the first joint by a knife. I had some local pain killers and found the process quite interesting but our boy who was with us fainted and had to be taken out of the doctor’s room! A little later I broke my leg in a fight with my cousins. In fact, one neighbour questioned if anything in that boy is whole!.