Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Death of Dulcie Oltersdorf

I have just been informed of the death of Dulcie Oltersdorf who went into Craig-y-nos in 1948.

Dulcie Oltersdorf ( centre ) and friends in a rowing boat on the lake at Craig-y-nos. This was strictly against the sanatorium regime but the gardeners colluded with the young women.

Dulcie Oltersdorf (Lewis) – Blood tests and blunt needles

I was on bed rest at home for a year, waiting for a bed in Craig-y-nos. The night before going in I wanted to go to the local dance and my mother let me. She shouldn’t have, but I met my boyfriend that night, a German prisoner-of-war. He used to visit me in Craig-y-nos. I was admitted to the Annexe three days before my twenty-first birthday in 1948.

I had to lie flat on my back and do nothing. That was the treatment. Well, after three months I had an X-ray and they
said, ‘You will have to lie on your back for another three months, maybe six months.’ I was determined that I would get better and if that was the treatment then I would do it! Sister Outram was very strict.

We used to close the windows at night and she would come in first thing in the morning, fling them wide open and we would eat our breakfasts shivering with cold. It was for
our own good. She told my mother that a cure depended on the ability of the patient to settle down and do what they were told.

I was able to settle quickly. We had regular blood tests and we used to hate it when Dr Hubbard did them because she
always used blunt needles. Afterwards, our arms would be covered in bruises.

I was happy and comfortable at Craig-y-nos. It was a good hospital.
When I was discharged I married my boyfriend. We have been together now for fifty-eight years and have never had a cross word!

Extract from The Children of Craig-y-nos by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves, paperback £9.99, available from Amazon online or Waterstones

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