Monday, 11 October 2021

My first Doctor.

 

The older one gets, the more reflective one becomes. I don't know what made me think of Dr S.

The UK's National Health Service was founded in the Summer of '48; two years after I was born. 

This, of course, means that I was born in the days of private medicine. I took my first breath in a private Nursing Home in Horley Surrey, not far from our home in Lingfield. 

Lingfield only had a District Nurse. Nurse Blunt was a wonderful Margaret Rutherford style woman who travelled both by bicycle and Austin 7 (?), depending on the distance to her next victim. 

Our Doctor was a few miles away in East Grinstead. Dr Somerville was half Grizzly Bear, half man, he looked a little like James Robertson Justice, and bellowed at his patients. He was actually very nice, and very good at his job. He always called me 'Face-ache'.

Also in East Grinstead was our Dentist. Dr White had been a Doctor before becoming a Dentist; goodness knows why. 

Either Sommerville or White (I can't remember which) had a six foot tall automaton drinking Bear in his surgery, which we all loved. Sadly I had a very unfortunate experience with Dr White (involving a broken syringe needle) and it instigated my life-long fear of Dentists.

I can remember when very young, just popping-in to see my Doctor if I felt something wasn't quite right. He was very understanding and patient with me. He probably said a few kind words, then, when I'd gone, phoned my mother to say I'd visited. I actually rather LIKED him.

The only online reference I can find to Dr Sommerville was a wartime tragedy where he was sent to attend a woman who'd been blown out of her home during a bombing raid. The poor woman was found, severely injured, in her garden, and taken to a Nursing Home where Sommerville offered his spare time. Sadly the woman died the following day.


34 comments:

  1. I love reading about such memories.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I was just thinking that such memories are probably only of interest to me!

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  2. I don't remember much about my childhood doctor, certainly just popping in wasn't done, not children on their own anyway. I remember being taken in the night with severe earache and having the doctor squirt in something to melt the wax I think, probably warm water via syringe, I was about 4. A later visit where I was carried in with an infected foot, the thorn of a large prickle had broken off and embedded itself then became infected. I had tiny blue pills to take for a few days after that visit. After mum left us (to live somewhere else) I didn't go to the doctor at all until I was 12 and had tonsillitis (strep throat) and got a prescription for one of the "cillins". There was no friendly relationship although I remember he was always nice.

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    1. I managed to get through childhood without too many incidents. I was asthmatic and often thought I would die because I couldn't breathe. There were no inhalers in those days. Otherwise I was quite healthy; thank goodness.

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  3. I remember our family doctor was Dr Smith in the GP surgery a 25 minute bus ride away. He was probably in his thirties, kind and gentle. I think my mother had a crush on him as we seemed to be taken off to the doctor quite frequently.

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    1. I think young male Doctors are often 'fancied' by their female patients. It makes for a good relationship.

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  4. Our village doctor was Dr Christmas, lived in the big house in the middle of the village, his surgery was built on the back in the old stable block, he was a lovely man and always had a jar of lollies on his desk, we always got one.

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  5. Yes sounds much like the set up where I spent my early years - our doctor Dr Harrison, was available day and night, chugging around our village and the next one

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    1. Dr Somerville used to travel the 20 miles to visit us; but I suppose he charged for it.

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  6. I'll trump you, Cro, and I am quite a bit younger than you: I remember a time when doctors still made HOME visits when the chips were truly down.

    Sorry to hear about your Asthma. I had no idea. Can't imagine what that must have been like without an inhaler. Though, again, dimly remember that the mother of one my friends would always be on standby with a bowl of hot water steam to assist her daughter.

    It's nice to reminisce. I do it often - not least with my mother as, me being her eldest by quite a distance, we share so many early family memories. Long may it last.

    U

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    1. The Asthma was unpleasant, and it lasted into my 20's; now totally gone.

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  7. Nurse Blunt and her new victim, haha. Doctor White came to the realisation that he was a sadist, and so changed from doctoring to dentistry.

    Tv is not true then. The poor woman blown out of her house did not raise her head blackened with smuts and stand up, but was sadly and fatally injured.

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    1. The poor woman had been in her bath too, so she must have been a sorry sight. Naked and blown to bits!

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  8. Our doc was a grumpy old so-and-so with no bedside manner. I think mum avoided taking us to see him as much as she could.

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    1. We did once have a big 'Caribbean' Doctor who had a booming voice. From the waiting room you could hear all about everyone's ailments.

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  9. My childhood Dr. was a Dr. Aitken, a lovely man. I remember him rubbing balloons on his tweed jacket and placing them on the ceiling of our bedroom. My brother and I thought he was a magician. That was in the days when Drs. still did house calls.

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    1. These days you can't see a Doctor for love nor money. Most of them only work three days a week too. Progress!

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  10. I grew up in the days, and nights, of home visits. We always had doctors who knew the family and history. It amazes me that you can remember their names.
    Great memory

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    1. I remember them well. I don't know why. I suppose over the years they became family friends.

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  11. I’m just doing a test as I’ve tried to comment four times !!!!!! XXXX

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  12. It doesn’t seem to want to publish my long comment ….. I’ll try later !!! XXXX

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  13. It showed it had published it then disappeared …. Sorry to fill your comments up but I didn’t want you to think I wasn’t commenting ! Will try later. XXxX

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  14. It was a long comment and it seems to only want to publish my short ones. Bloody Blogger ! XXXX

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    1. What a shame. I've had the same problem recently where a message came up saying 'Something's broken', or something like that. When I tried a second time it worked.

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  15. Medical care has evolved greatly. As far as I know, today, there is no such thing as a "house call." My MIL also had bad experiences with dental care and traveled to the US for her care. A drastic move but entirely her choice.

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    1. Doctors these days are all on £100,000, and only work 3 days a week. That's what I read!

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  16. These days people are keen to have Hollywood teeth. A dentist called White would therefore be preferable to Brown, Green or Black. Personally, I would be happy enough with Cream or even Ochre.

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    1. I had never thought of his name in that way, but now that you mention it, he was very well named!

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  17. To me, Hollywood teeth equals glow-in-the-dark teeth, a smile-so-white it can be seen from outer space. Shiny bright porcelain white. NOT natural. I much prefer the milk white most of us are born with.

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  18. My first doctor was Dr. Haines. He was so nice. Usually my Mom took me to his office for any ailments and vaccinations. Back in 1958, when I was 4 years old, moms dressed up their little girls to go anywhere, so I was all dressed up in a little fluffy dress, white ruffle socks and little patent leather shoes, and I carried my little black matching patent leather purse. We got to the doctor's office and I was always happy to see him. He prescribed cod liver oil for me. Before I left, I remember opening up my little black patent leather purse and bringing out my small green red eared pet turtle and showing it to him. He was so surprised he laughed and laughed. I was so proud that I had brought my turtle to show him. He was such a good, old fashioned doctor who still made house calls if the patient was very sick. When My Mom, Dad (who never got sick back then), and me, all came down with the "Asian Flu" in the late 1950's, Dr. Haines came to the house and it seems like he gave each of us a shot of some kind. Maybe Penicillin. That was the last time a doctor ever came to anyone's house that I remember. They must have stopped that around here in the 1960's.

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  19. I can't remember the name of my first doctor but I do remember he used to wear a suit and can visualise him sitting at his desk. I think there were home visits occasionally, too.

    An automaton would have been an amazing distraction, if not a magnet for all the kids! That's a very charming picture you paint, taking yourself off for a little chat about your niggling concerns.

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