Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The asthmatic attack- 1952

( Notes from my Craig-y-nos Diary)

A new girl called Gwyneth has just been put on the balcony. She's a distant relative of mine, so they tell me, and she comes from a farm too. She's older than us, 14 going on 15, and she's very clever.

She wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Nobody laughs at her when she says this. She is respected by everyone.

But Gwyneth has got asthma and Dr Huppert came up with the idea that putting her out on the balcony in midwinter would help her asthmatic attacks.

Gwyneth has been given a hand bell to ring if she feels an attack coming on. Well, we are going through a bad spell with dense fogs and lots of damp air around after all it is mid-January and the first night out on the balcony brings on an asthmatic attack.

It's frightening to watch. We've never seen one before and we are scared. Gwyneth rings her bell as instructed. Nothing happens. So we take it and ring it.
Still nothing happens.

“Look we have got to do something,” says Rosemary, my best friend.

We watch, petrified.
“Lets find night sister.”

Our shouts eventually produce night sister.
“What is it ? what is all the fuss about?”
She follows us out on to the balcony.

Gwyneth is fighting for her life.

“Oh my goodness!” Sister is shocked too and she rushes back to the office and returns with a gadget called an inhaler.

This helps Gwyneth.

“Where is Louise?” ( the night orderly) demands Night Sister.
We shake our heads.

Eventually Louise appears, smelling strongly of smoke, and squinting the way the way you do when suddenly confronted by bright lights for by now the whole ward is awake with the commotion on the balcony.

“Perhaps Gwyneth will be moved back indoors,” says Rosemary.

We stand by ready to help move her bed for the fog is swirling around the balcony.
But no, Night Sister leaves her there.

Next day Dr Huppert says Gwyneth must stay on the balcony.

It's three more days before she admits her experiment has failed and allows Sister Morgan to wheel Gwyneth back indoors.
By this time she has suffered several more attacks.

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