Monday, 25 August 2008

Edward Green, at MMH 09/56 to 03/57. At aged 14, he was the oldest patient!

I came across your blog re. the above hospital. I was a patient from September 1956 to March 1957. I had an orthopaedic problem with my knee. I have lots of happy memories from my stay.

Aged 9 I took a really hard bang on my knee from a roundabout in a children’s playground. In the following 5 years the knee would repeatedly lock and I was back and forwards to Leeds General Infirmary to see an orthopedic specialist.

He eventually admitted me to MH Hospital for 2 weeks observation in September 1956, so that if it locked he would have a "reliable" witness. I thought "Great, 2 weeks off school”, as my Mam and I drove down the lane leading to the hospital in an Ambulance car. I saw all the kids on the veranda doing school work, and my bubble burst! I was 14 years and 2 months old, the next oldest boy was just 12.

MH. Hospital at that time was a probationary training hospital for nurses having to do a 2 year course then going onto larger hospitals, like Leeds General Infirmarly and Pinderfields [in Wakefield]. They started at age 16 then moved on at age 18.

Up to that time I had rarely come into contact with girls and couldn’t understand why I seemed to get more attention than the other kids. There where about 20 boys on ward 2, as it was known then, and I was the only one not confined to bed. I was amazed to find out some of the kids had been in hospital for years, being treated for TB, Polio and Perthe's disease. I became scared in case I caught one of the diseases until I was assured this could not happen.

I spent most of my time picking things up off the floor that had fallen off the other kids’ beds and passing comics, toys and any other item from bed to bed. On the day the orthopaedic specialist visited I was confined to bed. All our case-notes lay at the base of the bed. I picked mine up and tried to read it but couldn’t understand it, until I turned a page, and written across the full page in large letters were the words "TRUTH DOUBTFUL". I felt my face redden and quickly threw the case-notes back on the bed. I suddenly felt so alone and afraid. When the consultant came to me Sister told him I had been very active and very helpful on the ward - in other words there’s nothing wrong with him!

Two days before I would be discharged I was bouncing on my bed when my knee "locked". Ii screamed for Sister, she and 2 nurses came dashing from the office and witnessed my knee locked with a pea sized piece of cartilage protruding from the side of my knee-cap. The outcome was I had an operation, 12 pieces of shattered cartilage were removed (along with "that" page from my case-notes). I spent the next 6 weeks in a plaster cast, groin to ankle, but was still fully mobile, doing all kinds of jobs helping the nurses hand out and collect bed-pans and bottles. One job I enjoyed was rolling up the dozens of bandages on a small mangle like machine after they had been washed - they where used to strap all the kids’ legs into their frames and splints. Thirteen years ago, aged 53, I had a total knee replacement.

Christmas was a great time, with a doctor dressed as Santa handing out presents to us kids. The Registrar was a Mr. Yeomans, the Physio was Miss Anne Berry. I can only remember one nurse who I had a school-boy crush on, Margaret Brett, and Mary the cleaning lady. I have enjoyed writing about my 6 months in M H Hospital and many other memories have come flooding back. I do hope you have enjoyed my small contribution.

No comments: