Thank you to Val Turner, formerly of Colinton, Edinburgh, and now
living in Queensland, Australia for recalling some of her experiences as a
child in Edinburgh.
Val wrote this note after spending three weeks recently in hospital in
Royal Hospital for Sick Children
used to love seeing the nurses and sisters in their white starched
uniforms, looking so lovely, cool and sterile. It must have
been very difficult for them, but with their black stockings and
little red capes which they wore when going outside, I used to
think, this is for me!! But
then, when I was told of the bedpans, slops, and eternal hard work,
it somehow wore off!!
Nowadays, they wear coloured blouses
and shorts, and slacks in the winter, and we have to remember their
first names, which makes it all so very friendly and lovely but a
bit hard for the patients to remember so many names instead of
calling 'Nurse or Sister' and of course with all the fellows turning
to nursing, its all so different but very nice too.
"I had my tonsils out, when I was young, in
the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, in Edinburgh.
I remember, as a small child in the Royal
Children's Hospital, being in one bed in a row of perhaps 20 on one
side of the ward and 20 on the other.
The nurses would sit at their desks
in the middle and I remember at nights when all the lights were off,
seeing the nurse sitting in a pool of light over her desk, with her
head down, writing away.
I was always scared, away from home and my
mother and sisters, and being in this very strange world of
whiteness. I remember visiting hours were once a week, on a
Wednesday afternoon for 1 hour.
We were told if we started to cry an d
carry on, our mothers wouldn't be able to come again, so I just sat
in the little chairs and tables (the only signs of catering to
children were these little chairs and tables) set out in the middle
of the long ward) and didn't talk or even look at Mum is case I
started to cry.
I had to eat porridge with salt.
I still hate porridge!! But I realize that their 'was a war
on' and the food was the best they could do and afford.
Another time in hospital I had
pneumonia and spent the entire summer holidays from school out on
the balcony, way up on the 5th or 6th floor. I was in
a 'cot', and when it rained they threw a tarp, over my 'cot'.
Children's Wards Today
These days, in Australia, the
children's wards that I saw were just beautiful, with all the
characters from TV, superman etc. suspended from the ceilings, and
the doctors and nurses wearing Batman and Superwoman outfits!!
Just wonderful, and the children loved it. They had
hamburgers for lunch and the kid whom I was visiting with his mum,
cried when we tried to get him to come home again!!!!
They were all sitting down at a
table, kids with their broken legs, arms bandaged up to the hilt,
sick children, sitting beside their stands with blood and other
medicines trickling into them. They were all having such a
great time with a fully trained teacher, teaching them how to enamel
jewellery to take home for their mums!!! How things have changed!!
Val Turner, Esk, Queensland, Australia: April
Thank you to Davy
Turner for sending me a copy of one of the Visitors Cards used by
the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in 1967.
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Hospital Visiting Card
across this Hospital Visiting Card among some bits and bobs
belonging to my late grandmother. I have never seen these
Please click on
the thumbnail images above to enlarge them.
Turner, Craigmillar, Edinburgh: December 10, 2009
Bob Henderson wrote:
Hospital Visiting Cards
"I remember these hospital visiting cards, well. I
think we could do with going backwards in time and reintroducing
these in the interests of discipline and hygiene."
Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh: December
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Danny Callaghan wrote:
Hospital Visiting Cards
"I remember the hospital visiting
cards. Each patient was issued two, and rules generally where
adhered to. Friends and relatives used to have to swap the cards
Often, one person would be waiting outside
to get the card from the leaving visitor. The visiting hours were
worse, I think, than at a prison - and only 30 minutes in an
Two at the bed was rigorously ruled, and no
sitting on the beds! I am sure that children were not allowed."
Danny Callaghan, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland:
December 11, 2009