Sunday, June 08, 2008

Heulwen Chemist - (circa) 1953- inside Ward 2

Heulwen Chemist

It’s strange how a photo can reactivate a memory, even one as far back as 55 years.

So it was when I looked at this photo of Heulwen Chemist which arrived on e-mail.

Heulwen was in the right hand corner of the balcony. She was very quiet. Nobody bothered with her and she bothered nobody.

I forget how long she had been in, but suspect it was a long time. She had TB meningitis and it had affected her brain. She was regarded as “ a bit simple” and her parents from Ystradagynlais would visit her from time to time.
One day she took to “playing with herself”. This annoyed the staff, particularly Staff Nurse G. who was much sterner than the rest.

She would shout at Heulwen:
“ If I catch you doing that again I will tie your hands to the side of the bed.”

But Heulwen couldn't stop herself no matter how much Staff Nurse G screamed at her.

So they wheeled her back inside so the staff could keep an eye on her.

That’s what this photo shows: Heulwen inside Ward 2.

(I have just had a phone call from Margaret Howells who remembers Heulwen. She says she is still haunted by the memory of her and often wonders what did happen. And she remembers the bandages dangling beside her bed."I thought it was to stop her scratching herself.")

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