Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jonathain Aitken and TB

I was surprised to hear former MP Jonathan Aitken talking on Radio 4 this morning ( "The House I Grew Up in") about his time as a three year old in hospital with TB.

The son of a wealthy, powerful Dublin family he caught TB from his Irish nanny and spent four years encased in plaster in the Cuppae hospital run by nuns.

He said his four years lying motionless on an iron frame taught him to be stoical, and time spent in this TB hospital proved useful training for his seven months in prison in adult life after being caught lying to the court.

He says he was happy there. He had become institutionalised and accepted that was the way life was. He remembers being wheeled outdoor for fresh air and how Sister Mary Finbar would order them to breathe deeply for the "fresh air treatment".

"It was all very theatrical. It was as if she was conducting an orchestra."

Life in the Dublin hospital though seems far less austere then in Craig-y-nos as our stories reveal in"The Children of Craig-y-nos". ( available from Amazon and a number of good bookshops.

Those of us in Craig-y-nos, including myself, lived out on the balconies all year round including in the snow - not wheeled out for a brief period each day.

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