Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pat Mathoulin, age 5, 1945

People are starting to contact me following the article in 0639, the local community magazine.

Pat Mathoulin rang me yesterday from Yorkshire. A relative had sent her a copy of the magazine.
She was in Craig-y-nos as a 5 year old in 1945.

She said she cried all day after reading about the project because it brought back so many painful memories, like the times nurses held her hands behind her back while another pushed a tube down her throat (yes the notorious gastric lavages), to remove gastric juices.

Pat had no idea what it was for. She thought it was some form of treatment. But this unpopular medical procedure was the only way to test if you were still positive.

The contents were fed to guinea pigs. If they lived you could go home.

When Pat did return home she was under strict orders from her mother never to say in school she had been in hospital.” So I said I had been on holiday and my father had been killed in the war.”

But her father, a miner, had died of TB meningitis three months before she was admitted to Craig-y-nos.

At 18 she left Wales to go to London, got married and worked as a shorthand typist. She has written a book about her life though there is no mention of Craig-y-nos “I didn’t want to offend people.”

Only now does she feel the time has come to speak the truth and lay these ghosts to rest.

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