Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Names of fellow patients and staff mentioned in `Judith's diaries and in the order they featured.

(I accept no responsibility for truth, accuracy or spelling - I was only small.)


Susan - must have been a good pal as features a lot. Used the pool (the only mention of the pool – was it really there then?).

Michael Reeves - off frame & onto traction Dec 62.

Charles Carter

Ian Britton - age 6, the Ian who rocked his frame? Off frame and sitting up. Might go home if he can walk (this latter 03/12/62).

Stephen Hill - age 6. His sister Diane was admitted later.



Derek Fell - his brother Peter arrived later. Derek was home by early 64. A Derek went ‘to live in Doncaster’. Was it this Derek?

Stephen Rouse

Cynthia - had her pots off. Didn’t get the caliper she was going to but went onto traction.

Elizabeth - aged 4.


Julian - had operation.

Michael Delvin - at his birthday party his mum brought lucky bags for everyone.

Joshua - arrived Sept 62?

Michael Sweeting - aged 8 when new patient. Came back for a party once home.

Mary - aged 12 when new. Pot off Dec 62. Pot back on 63. Operation 63. Came from a farming family (?) - they had hundreds of sheep at home.

David Tester.

Lesley - came back for a visit with Edward in Jan 63.


Pat - Lesley & Pat were in the paper 21/10/62. Home Dec 62.

Paul Hiskoe - walking outside Dec 62. Operation Feb 63 & home April 63 (or these could refer to a different Paul).


Mark - learning to walk Feb 63, home 63.

Ann - aged 12 when new. Operation & pot.

Graham Steel/Steele?

Tony Bennett - was still in MHH when I left.

Stephen Gelder - operation.

Steven Woods - was still in MHH when I left.

John - aged 9 when new in Jan 63. Left hospital then returned.

Raymond - new Jan 63. Home later 63.

Susie - home in April 63.

Peter Fell - Derek’s brother. On a frame.

Coralie - on frame. Aged 9 in 63.

Shirley Radcliffe/Ratcliffe - on Balkan beam. Had physio.

Joy - new in April 63. Wore a ‘collar‘.

Robert - on Balkan beam.

Jane - had physio.


Diane Hill - sister of Stephen. New May 63. On frame then off frame and onto calipers by Nov 63. Home by early 64.


Keith - new May 63. Picking conkers outside autumn 63.

Philip - home autumn 63.

Leroy Matthews - new Oct 63. Family from Jamaica. Operation. Pot off Dec 63.

Guy Grimmet - operation. Had chicken pox. Home by early 64.

Stuart - had pot.

Alan Ferry - Operation. On crutches. Home autumn 63 but back by early 64.

Neil Maclumpha (spelling!?) - had chicken pox.

Peter Hogarth - age 7 when transferred from Boys Ward in Nov 63. Operation April 64.

David - splint then walking by Dec 63.


Annette Robinson - transferred from Babies Ward. Operation. Walking pot. Pot off Jan 64. Operation April 64.


Trevor Wales - home early 64.

Joseph Blackesbourgh (spelling?) - transferred from Babies Ward aged 5. His birthday cake had a picture of the Beatles on it.

Philip (another Philip?) - operation early 64.

Karen - aged 5 when new.

Yvonne - operation Jan 64. Home April 64.

Jeanette - new April 64.

Diane Burrows - was still in MHH when I left.

Linda - knitted a carpet for the Dolls House on Babies Ward.

MHH Staff

Sister Gough - nicked my ear when she cut my hair!

Sister Lodge.

Mrs Cooper - teacher.

Mrs Western - head teacher.

Miss Lupton - no idea who she was but she went on holiday to Hong Kong in July 62.

Father Walker - gave out palm crosses on Palm Sunday.

Mrs Johnson - put the shades up and down.

Mr Johnson - swept up the leaves.

Mr Dennis - took all the wheels off the lockers.

Mr Williams - measured me in Feb 64 (must have been for calipers?).

Mrs Parker - was ‘back on our ward’.

Nurses - Hickling, Newton, Hanson, Bose (her brother was one of the firemen who came to see us), Shepherd, Row, Lash, Hemsworth, Welner and Warden.

Further Recollections of Judith

I knew that other children had different things wrong with them and my diary is chock full of everyone’s medical notes. ‘Going to Leeds’, X-rays at Seacroft, ‘pots’ and ‘walking pots’ coming on and off, calipers, traction, Balkan beams (for suspending limbs high above the bed), physio, operations, splints and crutches. There are lots of wistful comments in my diaries such as, ‘Susie is going home on Wednesday’, and ‘I might be coming off my frame in three weeks’.

Time passed, marked by regular celebrations like Christmas, Bonfire Night and a succession of birthday parties which Dad said the parents were expected to organise and provide for. And every July there was the Summer Garden Party in the grounds with stalls, Punch & Judy and one year, a fancy dress competition. I had a lemon net butterfly outfit - a top with wire & plastic wings and antennae headress - made for me by what must have been a bemused dressmaker in Armley (“Has got to go on from the front, waist up only and wings not to be crushed by frame”).

Judith in Fancy Dress

Judith with cousin Jean, Mum and Auntie Lily

Judith and Jean

Judith, Mum and Coralie in the bed on the left

We also had regular film shows (Lady and the Tramp, Tommy the Toreador) and concerts. I do vaguely remember Billy Fury and Marty Wilde coming, as mentioned by Margaret Bailey, but I think maybe it happened somewhere else in the hospital and I didn’t go. I’ve a feeling The Bachelors came and sang their 1964 hit ‘Diane’ to a Diane who was on our ward. In my diary I mention visits by a ‘skiffle group’ called Barry Corbett and the Mustangs who seemed to visit at least once a year.

Eventually, I think in March 1964, I came off my frame and some calipers were made for me. This is where the bad memories start. The calipers, exactly as described by Fred, were horrible things and the leather rings upon which all my weight rested, rubbed up painful blisters despite a ton of talcum powder. Also, I spectacularly failed to walk in them despite having physio and trying to walk between bars. You were supposed to fling each caliper forward in turn, the bits of useless jelly that were your legs hanging down inside them, all the while attempting to maintain your balance. I remember being made to feel that I should have just been able to hop out of bed and walk and that I was failing because of my own idleness or lack of application. By leaving day I still couldn’t walk and Sister Lodge had to carry me out to my uncle’s car.

My parents had moved house (to a ground floor flat) since I’d been admitted, and once home, I just dragged myself around the floor or got lifted around by Mum. I immediately started at Potternewton Mansion School (along with quite a few ex-MHH patients), travelling by taxi, and at some point I abandoned the calipers and learned to walk with a mini-Zimmer frame. I was at Potternewton for a whole academic year before moving to my local primary school.

I’d been told by Mr Clark to, “Go and be normal”, but I felt I never quite achieved this. I had a shorter left leg, a slight limp, restricted movement in my hip joints and little strength or stamina for school sports or long walks. Despite my treatment, my femoral heads were mushroom shaped instead of spherical, and I developed osteoarthritis at 25 (imagine what Dad said) and had hip replacements at 42. (I loved Jane’s comments about learning to walk for the third time! I never thought of it like that before.) The replacements have mostly been great. My gait is shocking and I use a stick but I’ve done a hell of a lot of walking with my husband over the last 10 years and that’s been fantastic.

Personality-wise, I don’t know how such a long hospital stay at such a young age could not affect you. After MHH, I always wanted to go on school trips etc, but once I got there I suffered terrible homesickness and was deeply miserable. Now, I like my own company and have mainly solitary interests - art & crafts, reading and writing (thanks for everything, Mrs Cooper) - and I don’t feel that I mix well with groups of strangers, being hopeless at small talk. I’m also a complete homebody - my home is my refuge from the world and whenever I leave it I’m always secretly wanting to come home.

Oh, and I became a medical ‘ghoul’ of sorts - a State Registered Chiropodist - and spent 20 years trying to relieve my patients of their pain.