Diary Of A TB Patient Staying At The Benenden Chest Hospital (1976) Part 1

January 1st :  Bad start. Very Queer. Peter getting appointment for me.

January 22nd: 10 o/clock. Dr Lloyd Rusby. 80, Harley St.

January 27th:  Admitted to Benenden Chest Hospital, Cranbrook, Kent.

January 28th: Tests. X-Rays.

January 29th: Tests. X-Rays. Blood Tests etc.

Friday January 30th:  Letter from Pam & Babs, made me feel much better. Phone call from Peter. Good nights sleep.

Saturday January 31st: Eve goes home today. Just started lightly snowing. Managed to ring Peter. Had a nice salad supper. It’s now 6.45pm. Not been able to relax today.

Sunday February 1st:  Feel ok. Legs a bit weak. Ann took a chance  and visited my room. Not so cold (I think). Fine snow falling -9.45. Peter arrived safely, had a nice afternoon. He said I looked better, and was pleased about how lovely the hospital is. Think he feels better now he’s seen me.

Monday February 2nd:  Woke up at 2.30 with pain in head. Otherwise ok. Saw Doctor, I need more tests. I still have to stay in the room. News not good for Ann. Will never forget her kindness. Rang Peter.

Tuesday February 3rd:  Snowing lightly, it’s very cold. Had 4 letters today. Saw Ann, she is in better spirits today. Got my wool and everyone is kind. I can’t speak too highly of everyone. Peter rang.

Wednesday February 4th:  Saw the doctor. I need another x-ray today, but I still have to rest in my room. Ann leaves for surgery on Saturday. Goodnight, I have had a sleeping tablet.

Thursday February 5th:  Blood test. Days go by quickly. Had 2 nice letters from the children. Put them on my wardrobe. Get TV TONIGHT.

Friday Febraury 6th:  Glorious day here. Different treatment today. No reaction yet. Given news that I must go into (illegible) separate from others so MAY get news if it is T.B.

Saturday February 7th:  Misty this morning. Had a lovely little gift given to me by Diane, who leaves today. I had my first injection at lunch-time. No reaction as yet. Did crochet and felt very tired tidy. Letters. U.T.D (I don’t know the meaning of the letters).

Sunday February 8th:  No snow, it’s a grey day. Had a little gift from Ann. The one I’ll never forget for her courage. Pete came. I can’t ring him but he said ‘Don’t write’. Have you ever felt you’re not wanted????? So went out and had 2 fags and nearly passed out. Don’t feel so well today. It’s the new treatment I suppose. I’ve passed caring. It doesn’t matter what I’ve got, he’ll never MOVE FROM FLAT.  

Monday February 9th: The sun melted thick frost by 9 o’clock. Had my tablets and injection already. Ann popped up, her husband has gone back home. BAD NIGHT HARDLY SLEPT. 

Tuesday February 10th:  It’s a lovely morning. Got balcony door open. My legs are playing me up. (later) Been like summer. We had our beds out on the balcony. Just smashing. Like August. My legs are still bad.

Wednesday February 11th:  8.45: Sun bright so far. Had injection. Still eating well. Doctor has just been, I will have an x-ray 1 month from start of new treatment. That makes it about March 8th I think. I’ve been busy making toys. Wished Ann luck for tomorrow.

Thursday February 12th:  Rain all day. Finished first soft toy. Wonder how Ann is. Nice letter from Pam and one from Di who left last week. Goodnight’s sleep good?!

Friday February 13th:  Didn’t sleep so good. Weigh in- I’ve lost weight. Looks like rain again. Well, I have just lost my chicken I made. They want it for OPEN DAY IN JUNE.  I also got my first job to look after the plants. They must have known (my Nan kept and bred Spider plants and begonias) Rang Peter up.

Saturday February 14th:  Sun out, it’s lovely now. An old lady died last night. Had a lovely card from my favourite customer, and Trixie. Ann is depressed today. I’m dying for a fag.

Sunday February 15th:  Peter arrived very cold today. Still needed a fag. Had one. Getting fed up cooped up in here. The other lady died at 3pm. Most of the girls are going home this week. Pete seemed on thorns looking at his watch, unless it’s me. He don’t seem to be missing me much. Hope I get some more letters from the girls tomorrow.

Monday February 16th:  Worst night last night since arriving. I could have done with a ‘cuppa’. See doctor today. (later) The doctor gave me tablets for my legs. I’m still confined to the room. Hope he says what is wrong with my back on Wednesday.  FED UP.

Tuesday February 17th:  Hope Claire will be o.k. Miserable cold, damp, rainy day. Madge left today. Saw Ann, she hopes to go home in March. The tablets for my legs are o.k. Good night, rang Peter and Claire is o.k. John got FLU.

Wednesday February 18th:  Sister back today. Well, the doctor said the culture is still not ready. Saw MR WOOD for 1 hour about legs. Had heat treatment and massage.

Thursday February 19th:  Turned out smashing. Fog then sun all the afternoon. Heat treatment. Had a lovely afternoon with Peter. Had a W.DRY with that May. What a scream.

Friday February 20th:  Next Fri E.N.T SISTER’S MISTAKE. Cold and dry. Gained weight. Got to see Throat Specialist today. Heard the explosion of plane that crashed at Benenden yesterday. A couple of the girls have gone down with a sickness. I hope it’s not Flu. Heat treatment.

Saturday February 21st:  A thick mist today. It brightened up later. Funny how today (Saturday) always drags. Think they have found out…… Glad Pete is coming tomorrow.

Sunday February 22nd:  Miserable looking day. Good night. EATEN ALL BREAKFAST.  The old cows are being driven out 9 o’clock. Even they don’t like getting up. Didn’t want my dinner. Tensed up. Glad Pete is coming. He arrived early. Bought me the most beautiful cross chain. It’s turned out sunny. 6.30pm you’d think there was a party going on here. The radio is blaring out.

Monday February 23rd:  BLOOD TEST TODAY. Had some lovely news last night. Ann can sit with me for half an hour. Misty and cold. Room next door got Vera. That’s put paid to Ann and me. Exercise as well as heat today. Spoke to Pete early this morning.

Tuesday February 24th:  Fine rain. No letter from Maureen. Wish I was going to (illegiable) with them/this. Had a lovely surprise. The S.N let me go out for 10 minutes. It was great. Really made my day.

Wednesday February 25th: Doctor today. Going to have a chat with Sister. LOVELY DAY. A bit disappointed that I can’t go right out into the grounds. Tried to get a message to Maureen. O.K. BIG DAY OUT OF PURDAH.

Thursday February 26th:  Beautiful morning. Had a good day. Bit of a headache this morning. What a wonderful surprise, gorgeous basket of flowers from Sally. Spoke to Pete.

Friday February 27th:  Weigh In. E.N.T Doctor Today. Gained weight and passed throat test. Had a good day, I’m making a rabbit for Fred. Maureen’s house ok I hope. Rang Pete up.

Saturday February 28th:  THICK MIST ALL DAY.  Busy making Rabbit for Fred. Had another beautiful gift, a leather purse from May and Gladys. 

Sunday February 29th:  Turned out fine for a while. Had a good day. Peter did the rounds. Had an evening in the lounge. They played records for those leaving. One for me and Susie- ‘Nun’s Chorus’.




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