Memories of a Young Patient

Memories of a Young Patient

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yp1Memories of Mearnskirk Hospital  (1952 – 1957)

Today it is difficult to imagine the regime which was in place for the children in Mearnskirk in the 1940’s and 50’s. I was three years old when I was admitted to Mearnskirk Hospital. Although it is a long time ago, I remember lots of details and some of the people who looked after me.

Here are some of my memories...

I was put in restrainers which were attached to the bars of the headboard.

Mearnskirk was classed as a Sanatorium.  I remember rocking back and forth as a child, and still do it to this day when I feel ‘low’. On reflection, I must have been institutionalised. Although for years I thought I had ‘survived unscathed’ as I get older, and look back, it has affected me in some ways.

yp2We were allowed visitors only on a Sunday for an hour.  I was always delighted to see my Mum, as you can see.  I never met my sister whilst I was in hospital as children were not allowed, although I remember on one occasion, my parents brought her to the window which was open.

My Mum passed away in Pavilion 1 in 1964, seven years after I left the hospital.  To think that she used to come to see me there and that’s where she spent her last days.

> My memory is that we had mince & potatoes every day, except Wednesday, when it was fish and potatoes.

> There was a statue of Peter Pan in the grounds. It is still there.

> We went to see films in the Picture Hut.

> There was a big garden with lots of empty red rifle cartridges lying around.

> I remember seeing cows somewhere and thought that you milked a cow by pulling the tail.

> Most of the nursing staff were kind and caring but I remember some, very clearly who were very strict in their regime – they would point  their finger and their brows would be lowered.  This actually made me feel frightened. In my opinion, this would be classed as bullying by today’s standards.

Doctors: Dr Alex Dale, known as Daddy Dale; Mr Guest; Dr Dick (lady doctor)

Nurses: Nurse Rodway; Nurse Lewis; Nurse Bones; Nurse Hope; Nurse Canter; Nurse Wallace; Nurse Fox; Nurse Omnet - we called her Nurse Omelette; Nurse Doyle; Male Nurse Winston

Sisters: Sister Aird; Sister Goodwin; Sister Moore

Matron: Miss Forsyth       

Patients: Peter McCallion; Hugh O’Donnell; ? O’Boyle

Staff/Adult Helpers: Johnnie - Polish orderly who wore big shoes; Mr Jamieson - Splint room - I remember that one lens of his glasses was opaque; Mr McAllister (Mac) -  worked in the plaster room; Rosemary - Cleaner - Irish; Jean – Theatre and Plaster Room; Mr Imrie  - the Sunday School teacher and also Akela of the Cub Pack; Miss Sutherland – Teacher


“Ham and Eggs, you’ll never see,
Dirty water for your tea,
How would you like to come with me,
to Mearnskirk?.

I’m tired of Mearnskirk and I want to go home,
Its weeks and weeks and months and months,
Since I saw ma home,
Mammy, daddy take me home…………..

Panto: Cinderella (in wheelchairs). I played  Buttons and I had to say: “Hi Cinderella, what’s amiss, I’ve never seen you look like this” . I then sang “Wooden Heart” by Elvis Presley to Cinderella.

Brian B Greef (2010)



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