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to be shocked by what my mil went through 60 years ago.

(170 Posts)

Talking over lunch I have learnt that my mil was admitted to hospital with pneumonia aged 12 months. She then developed double pneumonia followed by measles, chicken pox and scarlet fever. She was in for a total of 6 months and was only discharged then because her parents couldn't stand anymore and removed her with the support of their GP.
In the whole of that time they never held her or spoke to her. They saw her about three times through a window. To find out how she was they had to travel in to the city and ask at a booth. For 6 weeks all they were told was that she was critical. It was a considerable advance when the hospital started posting status updates in the local paper and you could read about how ill your child was.

I knew this kind of thing happened but to hear it 'in the flesh' is just so shocking. Mil's parents clearly did an excellent job making up for this deprivation as she achieved well at school, became a nurse and an excellent parent and grandparent herself. She is one of the most empathetic people I know.

Thinking about what that litttle baby must have suffered though - just about blubbed all over the dinner table!

Pollywallywinkles Sun 27-Oct-13 14:02:31

Quite different from what happens nowadays!

I was a year old when my younger sibling was born and children were not allowed in the maternity home. The nearest I got to my mother in the week she was there, was a look through the window.

Thewalkingdeadkr Sun 27-Oct-13 14:07:28

Yes my brother is 44 but had meningitis as a toddler. I was allowed to wave to him through a window a few times.
Ill ask mum later if she was alowed to stay

Graze8 Sun 27-Oct-13 14:08:38

When I had my tonsils taken out 35 years ago (age 7), my parents weren't allowed to visit on the day of the operation at all. I went into the operating room alone and was pinned down to be anesthetised. After the operation, I came to and was very thirsty. When I asked for some water over and over again, a nurse shouted and told me to shut up.

VenusDeWillendorf Sun 27-Oct-13 14:12:24

Wow northern, that sounds so tough.

Life was so hard those days, and there were very different ways of dealing with illness in the days before modern medicine, and antibiotics.

My own sister was admitted to a hospital when she was seven for infectious meningitis, and we didn't see her for months. As children we weren't allowed into the hospital, so played in the car park when my mum went in to see her. But at least she had my mum and dad going in.
To this day I avoid that area of the city- it gives me the shivers!

Little sickly babies are tough every time aren't they? Must have been so difficult for them to travel all that way, and then just to see your mil through a booth without being able to touch her.
I feel for all the parents with babes in neonatal icu, though at least they are able to touch their babes.

Well done on your DHs GPS for making up for that loss of contact, your mil sounds great.

FariesDoExist Sun 27-Oct-13 14:12:39

Bloody hell that's awful, I'm 38 and didn't know it used to be like that.

Its brutal isn't it? Thank goodness things are different now.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 27-Oct-13 14:14:50

Another person who twice had surgeries 35 years ago and remembers being pinned down whilst the black mask was held over my face. Number one on my list of things never to let happen to my child is for them to be anaesthetised without me.

Pollydon Sun 27-Oct-13 14:18:20

My eldest brother was in hospital in traction after a compound fracture of his leg aged 3 (48 yrs ago) . In for 6 weeks, visiting was 1 hr per day Mum still gets upset when she remembers him screaming for her at the end of visiting sad

DidoTheDodo Sun 27-Oct-13 14:29:13

I'm glad things have changed.

When I was 12 I was rushed into hospital for an emergency appendectomy. My parents had to leave me at the door (and get the bus home!) and were only allowed to visit for an hour each day. If they could get the time off work - I think visiting hours were 2-3 or something really inconvenient. I was in hospital for 10 days. I remember it as one of the most horrible experiences of my life - and I imagine my mum must have felt the same.

BlingBang Sun 27-Oct-13 14:30:23

Was in for appendix, about 11 days when I was 7. One visit for an hour a day. Still remember the day my parents were quite late and lay there with my lip quivering as all the other parents arrived. My friend had TB (I think) as a young child. She was in hospital for months and months and said the nuns were horrible. Used to hit them and be mentally horrible.

Besides that, my mums mum died when she was a baby, her two siblings had already died in their first few years. my dad had a sibling die and then his own father had an aneurism when dad was 14. Dad was the one who had to clean the blood from his dead father and then become the man of the household.

We really have no clue on the whole, though I do have some friends who have been through some horrendous heartache.

NoIHaventHadTheBabyYet Sun 27-Oct-13 14:33:59

My dad was very poorly as a child and was left in hospital for long periods of time, he tells me the nurses were very cruel, he was in a wheelchair and was not allowed to be taken to the loo overnight, they were also punished with no meals.
His mum, my nan used to break her heart leaving him but had no real choice.

festered Sun 27-Oct-13 14:45:00

When I think of some of the things previous generations went through medically, honestly it makes me want to cry!
My Dad was circumcised aged 5 on the kitchen table, no anaesthesia.
My Mum was held down to be gassed for teeth pulling.
My partner was held down by doctors to have his nostrils set on fire to supposedly cure frequent nosebleeds-he still won't let anything go near his nose and recalls screaming and being terrified and in a lot of pain (how a Mother can hold her child down like that to be tortured I've no idea)

Ugh, I'm angry now!
I wonder if people in two generations time or whatever will look back at how we're currently treated and feel as if we had it bad?lol

wonderingonenamechnge Sun 27-Oct-13 14:46:34

I remember being admitted to a mixed illness ward as a six year old about twenty years ago or so. The treatments were very different - e.g. my parents were shooed out of the room when they were doing IV/bloods etc, and I was restrained by the nurses so they could put an IV into my heel (I was quite badly dehydrated after vomiting non stop for a few days). X rays were done differently too iirc, I'm sure I was strapped in for one of them and then raised off the floor.

They still had limited visiting then, an hour in the afternoon, and some of the children on that ward were really quite ill.

There were two girls at the bottom who my mum remembers had swallowed tablets, and had their stomachs pumped. They can't have been very old as they were in cots, not beds, but they stood and cried all night. Bed next to me was a tiny boy, think he was 3 or so and he cried all night as well. His mum was allowed to stay but she was the only one.

At the bottom there was a girl who looked Annie (!) and she was stuck in a room with only a tiny window in the door, she stood there for ages watching from the window. Think it was isolation.

It was all very very frightening at the time and I remember the shock I got when my sister was admitted some years later, to a brand new children's hospital - what a difference in the way things were handled - playworkers everywhere, emula before injections, etc. Every single bed had a pull out futon for a parent. It must make the whole thing a little easier.

cory Sun 27-Oct-13 14:51:08

When my granddad developed cancer in the 40's, the hospital didn't tell him it was cancer or that he was dying, so he had no chance of organising his affairs or preparing his family. The letters he wrote to my gran make it clear that he suspected cancer but he was given absolutely nothing to go on- and no support of course. Nor were his family. His son, my dad, was just told one day out of the blue that his dad had died. He still hasn't got over it 70 years later, he freaks out over anything to do with medicine and hospitals and can't really talk about difficult things at all.

No doubt the hospital thought they were doing the best thing for him, "sparing" him.

A friend of mine died from cancer a few years ago, with children a similar age. She was told exactly what was happening at every stage and the MacMillan nurses helped her to prepare the children, the school offered counselling, their friends were told about it so they could support them.

None of those things needed modern medicine or specialist equipment; it's just a different attitude to people.

MarthasHarbour Sun 27-Oct-13 15:00:48

when I was 10 in 1983 I went into hospital for an eye operation. I went into theatre and the anaesthetist asked me what method of anaesthetic I wanted. 'do you want a huge needle in your arm or a little waft of air blown over your face?'

Obviously I went for the little waft of air. The last thing I remembered was the nurse pinning me down and this friggin huge black mask being put on my face. I can still taste that gas 30 year later. I don't remember if my mum was allowed in with me but it was bloody scary sad

bigbluebus Sun 27-Oct-13 15:10:06

I remember my brother (now 57) going into hospital to have his adenoids out. Mum & Dad definitely only visited once and I think I was allowed to wave from the door and had to wait outside.

I wonder when it all changed? DD is 19 now and has been in hospital many times from the age of 3 mths old. I have always been allowed to stay with her and parents visiting is unrestricted.

Euphemia Sun 27-Oct-13 15:10:34

There was a smallpox scare when my dad was born; he was taken away from my grannie at birth to be quarantined, and no-one even told her what she'd had, or if he was ok. sad

AndHarry Sun 27-Oct-13 15:17:51

I had no idea it used to be like this. How awful! DS had pneumonia at 11 months and I slept in his bed at the hospital!

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 27-Oct-13 15:25:53

My mum says the same. All of her brothers was in hospital due to a terminal illness.

My nan has never spoken about it.

Clawdy Sun 27-Oct-13 15:26:32

My auntie gave birth to a stillborn baby at home, in the 1940s. The doctor in attendance told her husband to wrap it in newspaper and put it in the dustbin. Afterwards he said "Never ever discuss this with your wife, it's the only way she will get over it. " The baby was never talked about until they were both elderly,and he told her how he had stood sobbing over the dustbin.

MammaTJ Sun 27-Oct-13 15:32:01

These tales are awful!

My DS has had a few hospital visits. When they are babies, you are given a room with a bed for a parent, and a cot for the baby. When they are a little older, they are given a bed for the child and the parent is given a bed in the parent part of the ward. It has a kitchen/lounge, showers and room for all the parents.

LalyRawr Sun 27-Oct-13 15:39:41

Jesus, I had no clue it was like that.

The day before my DD's first birthday she had an emergency op for intusussception. I held her the whole time they were inserting IV's and giving her anaesthetic and I slept in the cot with her the entire night. My OH slept on the chair next to us.

I cannot imagine leaving her. All those poor parents.

KittyOSullivanKrauss Sun 27-Oct-13 15:39:51

GMIL, who is in her late 80s, still shudders when she tells of being taken to hospital to have her tonsils out as a young child. They told her she was going to the cinema sad.

hellymelly Sun 27-Oct-13 15:42:37

Both my parents spent lengthy times in fever hospitals, in the 1930s. My father remembered his Grandfather coming to see him through the window, he could see his Grandfather out there crying. Dad was about 4.

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