Thursday, 15 September 2011


Hearing of a hospital stay by a friend's young child recently, got me thinking back to my hospital visits as a child. My first recollection was of having my tonsils removed when I was about 8 years old and I think it must have been in a private nursing home as I remember being in a room on my own and my parents visited each evening. My father brought me a new book I had been wanting for ages, although I can't recall which one. My other main memory of this is what caused me to dislike marmalade for years! A crushed pill, which was obviously to send me to sleep before the op, was given to me in a spoonful of marmalade but I could still taste the bitterness of the pill, which I associated with marmalade until I was quite grownup.

My second visit (or it may have been my first - can't remember) was when I broke my collar bone on the beach, just by bumping into someone whilst running to warm up after a last swim. I can remember my poor father having to piggyback me up the slopes (known as the zig zags) from the beach to home and recall sitting in the hospital waiting room for hours before being sealed up in sticky plaster and given a sling. My doctor removed the sticky plaster after the due time and decided the best way to do it was to grab each end and rip it off, causing me to scream and my mother to be horrified by the blood which welled up from my skin! I never liked that doctor - he was a complete sadist!!

My third visit was when I was 12 and was suddenly struck down with appendicitis. I remember my Victoria grandmother was staying and insisted that I eat my Sunday lunch, whereupon I was violently sick. When the doctor came the next day, an ambulance was called, I was carried downstairs on a stretcher and was rushed into hospital. No-one told me what was happening and, in those days, my parents weren't allowed to be with me. I can remember hearing one nurse say to another, 'the operation will be at 11pm' and I assumed it was likely to be my operation! I was on a children's ward and the rules were so strict. You weren't allowed out of bed to wander around, a child with chicken pox was totally isolated in a separate room, family weren't allowed to visit - I could only wave to them from a window or I did manage once to sneak out of the ward doors and wave to them down a corridor. I was in there two weeks and although I probably coped with it well, my parents must have been distraught!

Things have changed so much for the better now, with parents being allowed to visit all the time and, I believe, in some cases being able to stay with their children at the hospital.

On a slightly different tack, I came home today to find a brown envelope on the doormat, containing the following leaflets:

Arthritis may not kill you, but it can take your life.
Are you losing your hair?
End the struggle to lose weight.
Enjoy life again using bladder control formula.

This ties in well with the occasional phone calls I receive where I am called 'dear' and asked if I have a problem getting in/out of the bath, using the stairs, getting out of the armchair when I've finished my crossword etc.

I suppose it's natural to assume that when people are of a certain age, their health begins to deteriorate and I have been very lucky so far, but it is quite depressing to have it rubbed in so much!!


  1. They ripped tonsils out at the first sign of a sore throat in those days, didn't they? I was forced to eat banana sandwiches (eurgh) which put me off bananas for many years. Apart from impacted wisdom teeth extraction, I've never overnighted in a hospital since. (*clutches small oak table* (made by father and now used as laptop park - he'd have liked that)).

  2. I always wondered why you didn't like bananas when you were younger! These days you're not allowed to eat ice cream and jelly after surgery as it can cause infection. It has to be sharp food like ... crispy roast potatoes - normal food I guess.

    Good that we have a woodwork legacy of things which are all still well used and loved.

  3. Just noticed that should have been 'VictoriaN' grandmother. I can remember her telling me about the removal of her tonsils, her lying on the dining table, no anaesthetic and the doctor cutting out her tonsils! Unbelievable, but perhaps that's why she always thought we were 'swinging the lead' as kids.