My memories of Sonic the Hedgehog mainly revolve around the Sonic & Knuckles release in 1994. While I was able to get the first three games on their release dates, none of those release day experiences quite compare to the Sonic & Knuckles release.
I'd had a pretty bad case of the flu during the first part of October, even having to take off work for almost a week because of it. The problem was that even though the flu had passed, the sore throat I'd had just wouldn't go away. The doctor basically told me that if the infection on my tonsils didn't clear up within the next few days, I was going to have to have them removed, a prospect I wasn't too thrilled about.
The school where I worked was putting on a Halloween carnival and when I began feeling a bit better I began helping my fellow teachers decorate the building where the carnival was to take place, even though I still didn't feel overly well. Even though I was still somewhat confident I could ride the tonsillitis out, deep down I knew it was just getting worse.
I remember telling my boss that I wanted to take off the evening of the 18th to go pick up Sonic & Knuckles from the Electronics Boutique store in the city. I woke up that morning feeling terrible, but I went to work anyway. I drove into the city as soon as I left work, but when I got to the mall where the store was I started feeling absolutely terrible and I honestly could barely walk to get to the store inside the mall.
I managed to make it into the store and bought the game, but during the 40 minute drive home, I continued to feel worse. Rather than drive back to my house, I went straight to the emergency room and once they checked my temperature and saw that it as 104 degrees, they immediately called the doctor who told me I couldn't wait to have my tonsils out any longer.
They called my mother up to the hospital and basically began prepping me for surgery at around 8pm. I remember them giving me an injection to calm me down, but all the while I was looking at the back of the television in the hospital room they'd assigned me to see if it had A/V connections. Once I saw that it did, I sent my sister to my house to get my Sega CDX system and asked her to connect it to the TV so it would be ready when I got out of surgery.
I don't remember much after that, but my mother did tell me that the doctor became a bit agitated with me due to my asking him repeatedly if my sister had connected my Sega Genesis to the hospital room television while he was trying to ask me how I felt in the recovery room. She said I refused to tell the doctor how I felt until he answered my question about the Sega Genesis system.
I had no sooner gotten back to my hospital room and popped the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge into my Genesis system when the nurse came into my room to give me another injection for pain. She told me that it would likely make me sleepy so I might want to wait until the next day to play my game. And since I always listen to medical advice, I continued playing the game anyway.
I'll admit, I was so loopy that I couldn't even focus on any of the objects in the game and I don't think I was even able to get past the first level, although I spent almost an hour trying. (My mother still says I was just sitting there holding the controller in my hands and staring off blankly into space) Of course it wasn't long until the nurse finally took the controller away from me, at which time I informed the nurse that if she wouldn't let me play the game, then I was going to check myself out of the hospital and go home and play it there. She basically called my bluff and even took the controller off of the system and took it with her to insure I wasn't going to be playing any Sonic & Knuckles until morning.
Thankfully everything went well and I was able to go home the following evening, at which time I was finally able to play Sonic & Knuckles all I wanted to and finally reach levels past the first one. Perhaps this scenario is the reason the game is still my all-time favorite Sonic release and every time I play the game, even still to this very day, it reminds me of that hospital stay.