Tommy in hospital

Tommy remembers his illness:

As Mam would say, I had been under the doctor ever since I was about eight years old and was often not well. One of my jobs was to go to Hopkins the Butchers on a Saturday morning and get the meat for the Sunday dinner. As nobody had fridges, the shop was full of housewives getting their roasts. I was at the back of the queue and already getting tired when some of the mothers looked at me and asked if I was all right, then pushed me to the front and made Hopkins serve me straightaway.

“I can also remember having to have a rest on our old fashioned ‘antique’ chaise lounge. Eventually I was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was sent to Poole Sanatorium. I didn’t see Coral or Raymond for five months and Dad and Mam came on Sunday afternoons. Actually, Mam used to say I had cured myself by this time, or rather that she had cured me by looking after me so well. When I think back and recall our little living room filled with Woodbine smoke, I am not so sure. At the time there was no cure for TB, and antibiotics were not in use.”

Elvis Presley – ‘Heartbreak Hotel’  1956
They’ll be so lonely, baby
Well, they’re so lonely
They’ll be so lonely
They could die

Coral and I were not allowed to visit Tommy in the Sanatorium. The hospital was way out in the countryside. Mam and Dad made the long bus trip each weekend. Mam had to take Coral and me to the General (Hospital) on the other side of town to have a series of painful injections.

 The Four Lads – ‘Standing on the Corner’ 1957
Brother you don’t know a nicer occupation
Matter of fact, neither do I
Than standing on a corner
Watching all the girls go by

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