Friday, August 03, 2007

Joan, "deaf and dumb" girl

Christine Perry ( nee Bennett) has sent me the following email:

"I well remember Joan in Ward 2 even though I was an up-patient on the balcony. In order for her communication problem to be eased, Miss White brought in a sign language book in order for us to teach ourselves to sign between lessons. This we, the older girls, all did virtually without exception. I'm sure it gave the younger girl, Joan, a far happier outlook on her short time with us.

It was clear that she came from a more impoverished background than the majority of us. Her mother didn't visit too regularly. It could have been lack of finances but it just seemed to us that she didn't care too much about Joan's predicament. In fact, her behavior must have been rather embarrasing to Joan as when patients' tea time came around, her mother would eat Joan's tea & Joan wouldn't complain.

Joan wasn't in as long as many of us but she was resident over one Christmas. At Christmas, you may remember, relatives would bring/send in presents for their own family member patients & the staff would put them into pillow cases so that they could be left at the foot of each individual's bed on Christmas Eve night. Well, it was clear to us all that Joan wouldn't get many presents brought/sent in so we all contributed from our own cache of presents &, together with the staff, made up a substantial pillow case of presents for Joan so that she didn't feel left out on Christmas morning. I would hazard a guess that it was one of the more memorable Christmases that she had experienced in her short life.

Oddly enough, the signing that I learnt then I still remember & I can still engage/follow a conversation in sign( albiet slowly now!!)."

No comments: