Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Christine Thornton ( nee Davies) - 1944-48 and 1952-53

Christine (left) on the balcony of Ward 2.

Extract from an interview with Christine, age 70, from Gorseinon, Swansea.

She recalls being: ”very ill” when she was admitted to Craig-y-nos as a 7 year old.

“I had TB in the hip and I was put in an iron frame with a bar separating my legs which were splayed out. I could turn my head from side to side and move my arms but my legs were strapped in this iron frame.”

She says it was Dr Huppert who discovered what was wrong with her and she believes she owes her life to her diagnosis. ( It is believed that Dr Huppert had herself suffered from TB of the hip).

“Dr Huppert was new in the hospital. She tried to straighten my leg and I remember screaming and screaming with the pain. She ordered me to be sent for an x-ray straightaway and the next thing that happened I was put in this iron frame in which I remained for a year then into a plaster cast and eventually into a calliper for my leg .”

Most of her time was spent out on the balcony.
“I was the only one in an iron frame, the others were in plaster casts. I was out there during the 1947 snow. The nurses were very good. They still came out to look after us.”

She used to eat by balancing food on her chest.

During this time she remembers there were parts of her body that were never washed though the nurses used to raise her up to put metholyated spirits over her bed sores.

:” I still have those scars today. As a child you accept it as a normal.

“It was either that or die. I believe Dr Huppert saved my life.
I know I nearly did die. The doctors told my mother that even if I survived I would never be able to walk again.”

Christine (wearing white hat) at a concert in the Adelina Patti theatre.

She was to prove them wrong. Despite a relapse in her late teens when she was readmitted to Craig-y-nos Christine went on to become a secretary in London, and later worked as both a secretary and store detective in Swansea.

“Folk never thought a lame woman would be a detective!”

Christine (left) in the "six-bedder" with Barbara Hughes.

Altogether she spent a total of 5 years in Craig-y-nos , 3 and a half years in the 1940’s and again in the 50’s when she had a relapse.

Christine with her husband .

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