Thursday, 17 May 2012

Susan Lee's Thorp Arch Experiences

My name is Susan Lee (formerly Susan Keeler) and I was in Marguerite Hepton Hospital at Thorp Arch in 1955 (aged 9 years) and again in 1957 (aged 11 years) following admission to St. James’s Hospital for hip problems.
I remember that on my admission  in 1955 a girl called Barbara who had TB of the spine and two years later when I was there again, Barbara was still there!  I could not believe that someone was in hospital all that time.
I also remember a song we all used to sing which was as follows:
There is a happy land far far away
Where we get jam and bread 3 times a day
Egg and bacon we don’t see
We get sawdust in our tea
That’s the way we family
Down Thorp Arch way
Some folks say it’s a very nice place
But I don’t think that’s true
As long as you’re a walking girl
You’ll have lots of things to do!
You’ll be up and down the ward
With a bedpan in your arms
.......................................can’t remember this bit!
Singing Mummy, Daddy take me home
From this orthopaedic home
I’ve been here a year or two
And now I want to be with you
I’ll say goodbye all the Doctors
Goodbye all the Nurses
Goodbye all the Sisters
And the jolly old Matron too!
There may be more to this song but unfortunately I can’t remember them.  Does anyone else remember this song?
I also remember the lack of visiting times.  I only saw my parents on a Saturday and Sunday and I know it was difficult for them to get to Thorp Arch as we had no transport and they had to rely on public transport.  My sister who is 4 years younger than me could not visit as you had to be over 12 years to visit someone in hospital then.  Can you imagine this happening now?
I also remember the sweets that visitors brought us were all kept away and dished out daily after lunch, but I’m sure the nurses ate more than the patients did.
I cannot remember the names of any of the staff but I know that my consultant was a Mr. J.M.  Fitton who was based at St. James’s Hospital.
I remember all the patients being wheeled out on to the veranda on fine days and also being taught lessons.