Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Barbara O'Connell (nee Paines) 1952-53
Craig-y-nos Castle (the red crosses mark Ward 2)
“The first time I arrived outside this big house, I said to my mother I'm not going in there. I started crying and said take me back home mum I don't want to go in there. But ended up being in there for about 12 months, from 1952-53.
Barbara O'Connell (nee Paines)
I'm not sure what happened when we got inside because I was crying too much. I was taken in a lift to the upstairs and put to bed in this big ward. Where I was left to settle down.
The following day I was seen by the famous Dr Huppert whom I took a dislike to straight away.
As time went by I did get used to being there, but it was a case you had to be because there was nowhere else to go.
When we graded on to so many hours a day, we were allowed to go to the pictures. I remember watching the “Scarlett Pimpernel” and “Tony draws a horse”. We were also allowed to go to a little shop that was down in the basement where you could buy stationery, toiletries and other things.
We did have nice food, I can remember waiting for the Wednesday because we used to have rabbit stew. I was turned off boiled eggs because they were boiled for so long that the inside was black and the yolk was all dried up. to this day I cannot sand the smell of them. Another thing that I liked was the moose it came in different flavours, I liked the chocolate one the best. But I had not tasted this until I came to the hospital. We also had pilchards for breakfast, which I thought was unusual to have for breakfast. But I got used to it.
Whilst I was in hospital my three older sisters were taken into hospital with TB. They were all in Denbigh, so my mother was back and forth between the two hospitals. Plus looking after my youngest sister who had been in a sanatorium with TB meningitis, so she really had her share of worries.
I used to have a gastric lavage every month, you used to be taken into this little room for it. I thought they were trying to choke me, when the tube was pushed down the back of my throat I thought I was going to die as I couldn't breathe properly .
That was the most terrifying that that had ever happened to me.
This is the first extract from Barbara's own written account -more will follow over the next couple of days.