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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 08 Sep 2017, 09:30 
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Prior to 1948, and the arrival of a national health service, it also cost money to call in a doctor, which is why home remedy and home doctor books proliferated. I have a large collection of these and some of the advice is fascinating. And probably a lot of it works perfectly well.

It's noticeable that in this Czech village quite a lot of old fashioned remedies are still in use, and the older generation swears by them. Wrapping dodgy knees in a cloth filled with fermented cabbage, a wet cloth bound round a sore throat to name but two.

The one that really does work for many things is slivovice - gargling with straight slivovice for many ailments, drinking it down for upset stomachs even though you think it will kill you. Maybe that's what was in some of Jack's "doses". Or the local equivalent of it anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 08 Sep 2017, 13:15 
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The one that really does work for many things is slivovice - gargling with straight slivovice for many ailments, drinking it down for upset stomachs even though you think it will kill you. Maybe that's what was in some of Jack's "doses". Or the local equivalent of it anyway.[/quote]

No wonder Joey didn't object then.


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 08 Sep 2017, 13:59 
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Both Jane Bennet and Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen's books get ill from being out in the rain, and Katy Carr is pretty much confined to her bedroom after hurting her back. And Victorians were obsessed with the benefits of cold baths. It's all fairly standard stuff, and some of it seems to have lingered well into the 20th century. My primary school headmistress was always going on about how hot milk helped you sleep, and she was more the triplets' age than EBD's. And my grandad was rather obsessed with laxatives :roll: - but food probably wasn't very good, and proper medical advice difficult to afford, when he was growing up as one of six children in an area badly affected by the Depression. There are pictures from well after the war of schoolkids sitting in classrooms with windows wide open, to let "fresh air" in (although the air probably wasn't very fresh at all!).

The idea of doctors as heroes is popular, as well. There are loads of TV drama series (serieses?) about doctors, and doctor/nurse Mills and Boon type romances used to be very popular. The San does tie in well with the School, by bringing in new pupils, but I think it was the general idea of the strong male authority figure rescuing people that appealed to EBD.

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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 08 Sep 2017, 15:16 
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Quote:
my grandad was rather obsessed with laxatives

People ate a great deal more stodge in the past. And fresh fruit and veg were only available in season - and not always in great quantities even then if you didn't live in a fruit and veg growing region. If you had a big family and not much money you'd buy (or grow, if you had a garden or allotment) something like potatoes that would fill you up.

Quote:
There are pictures from well after the war of schoolkids sitting in classrooms with windows wide open, to let "fresh air" in

I remember reading something by a woman who was looking back on her schooldays, which would have been in the 1950s. She said her teachers were fresh air fiends. But she said with hindsight, they were a class of teenage girls and none of them had ever heard of deodorant....

And people didn't bath or shower every day, or change their clothes every day.


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 08 Sep 2017, 16:38 
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jennifer wrote:
[
And some stuff genuinely was part of the medical wisdom of the time, but has since changed. Leaving babies in a pram in the garden most of the time (and the idea that picking up a crying baby can spoil them), the treatment for strained backs and the whole fresh-air obsession were all official medical advice at one point.

Most definitely, Jennifer. My mother was told to leave me at the bottom of the garden in my pram in 1946, because I apparently cried so much!

In the sixties, at my teacher training college, a nun was in charge of our health, and no matter what was wrong, from severe period pain to bilious attacks, she gave us an orange.... No doctor, no medication. An orange! So nothing surprises me about the medical treatment in the CS. To me, it sounded about what I was used to.

Even in recent times, though, things can astonish. When we adopted our daughter in 1978, I was told by the adoption society that if her dislocated hip had been found at birth (which it should have been!) she would not have been offered for adoption! :shock: How that made me shudder. Thank goodness we didn't discover it till she was 6 months old. Even then, since we hadn't as yet been to court for the officlal adoption, they asked would we like to give her up and return her to the society. After 6 months!!! She was ours, for goodness sake! How attitudes change.

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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 09 Sep 2017, 23:29 
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MaryR wrote:
Even then, since we hadn't as yet been to court for the official adoption, they asked would we like to give her up and return her to the society. After 6 months!!! She was ours, for goodness sake! How attitudes change.


As if she were a broken toy? That's horrendous. :?

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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 10 Sep 2017, 12:20 
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Lesley wrote:
MaryR wrote:
Even then, since we hadn't as yet been to court for the official adoption, they asked would we like to give her up and return her to the society. After 6 months!!! She was ours, for goodness sake! How attitudes change.


As if she were a broken toy? That's horrendous. :?


You would be surprised at how many people who would have taken them up on it. Friends of the family adopted two children with disabilities and the second one came from a wealthy family who did not want him as he had a disability. It's terrible, but it does happen.

Thank goodness your daughter was lucky enough to get you, Mary as you wanted to keep her.

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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 20 Sep 2017, 20:46 
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It's interesting, but since I started doing World War 2 re-enactment I've developed a certain respect for not being caught out on the rain. My vintage clothes are all incredibly thin, so much so that I have to wear a petticoat because a dress alone would show everything! It's easy to forget in these days of modern man-made fibres just how thin a cotton dress is. I've been caught in showers at re-enactment events that would usually leave my clothes a little damp to the touch but which have soaked me to the skin in 1940s clothes. Wool is no better in that respect than cotton either.

In those days of coal fires, which don't heat a room uniformly and can leave cold areas, it's easy to see how being soaked in a rainstorm and not being able to change immediately could leave you chilled to the bone and unable to get warm again. I think that's why hot baths and bed were so often the remedy - raising the core temparature to try to stave off chills, or chest infections.

Interestingly I also notice that in natural fibres I tend to sweat less (presumably because my skin can breathe) so maybe body odour would have been less of a problem.

These days it's almost impossible to find clothes that are 100% natural fibre. Everything on the high street seems to have at least some man-made fibres in the mix, except for the odd linen item at the peak of summer (as a case in point I was at my local craft store today looking through their fairly sizeable 'yarn' department but there is not actually any yarn to be had - a couple of acrylic/alpaca mixes but everything else was 100% acrylic). I think we tend to forget how different clothes were back then.


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 20 Sep 2017, 22:26 
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poetress wrote:
I think we tend to forget how differentt clothes were back then.


And other things as well. I generally get very warm at night and remember reading about people wearing night clothes and being well tucked in at night and thinking I would hate it. And wondering what all the fuss was about when people wandered around at night without their dressing gowns and slippers. And then I went camping at the weekend (where I was extremely grateful for my night clothes, extra layers and a hat!) and remembered that houses at that time would have been much colder than we are used to at the moment, with our central heating. I know they had those stoves in Austria and Switzerland which kept the rooms "summer warm" but I assume they would only be in the form rooms and common rooms. I don't think they could afford to have them in all the dormitories and I think they would probably be thought of as unhealthy in sleeping areas.


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 20 Sep 2017, 22:39 
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Alison H wrote:
My primary school headmistress was always going on about how hot milk helped you sleep, and she was more the triplets' age than EBD's.


When I was suffering from stress in the early 1990s my GP recommended hot milk before bed to help get to sleep. The same doctor advised 3 days bed rest when I hurt my back - absolutely the opposite advice you get now.

One of my aged ancestors who grew up in the 1940s still holds to some of the crazier home remedy ideas - such as don't wear spectacles as they make your eyesight worse. She remembers a relative keeping a couple of sovereigns on the mantelpiece to pay for doctor's visits when their father was ill.

Re. heating, modern houses are so much better. Our central heating boiler has a fault at the moment, so no heating, but the house is quite comfortable unheated if you wear a sweater. It's making me wonder why I've been paying gas bills every month for so many years!


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 20 Sep 2017, 22:41 
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I would agree that it seems unlikely that Matey would approve of heating in the dormitories, but there is an occasion in one of the later books when Len discovers that the heating is off at night and she and Matey go round with extra blankets.


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 21 Sep 2017, 01:55 
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Once you add running water to a house, you have to keep the temperature above a certain level or the pipes will freeze in winter and burst. So in Switzerland they'd need some sort of heating at night, given that they've got enough bathtubs for 400 people to have a 7 minute bath in the morning. In England, I don't think it gets cold enough for freezing pipes to be a regular problem, and in Tyrol I think they were still pumping water. So there, I could see them having stoves in the classrooms, dining room, common rooms and San, but not the dormitories.

Did EBD ever spend a winter in a cold climate? Because with the above arrangement, I'd expect that students would be in the dormitories as little as possible in winter - sleeping in between featherbeds with nice warm pyjamas, and changing clothes while shivering.

In my experience with wilderness camping, if you get drenched and don't dry off or get warm, the most immediate danger is hypothermia, which can happen well above freezing. I've also found that pure cotton breathes well, doesn't dry very fast, and damp or wet wool can be surprisingly warm, if you don't have wind blowing directly on it.

It is amazing how chilly it can be when you don't have indoor heating. In Taiwan, winter temperatures rarely go below 12 C, but there's no indoor heating, it's very damp, and apartments aren't all that well sealed against drafts. So a few days of 12 C in a cold spell, and I have trouble typing at work because my hands get cold. I tend to run warm, but I will still sleep under a duvet and an afghan, with a hot water bottle at the start. Of course, in the summer I can have the A/C on, no blankets or pyjamas, and still wake up sweating.

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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 21 Sep 2017, 10:36 
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I can remember the days when plumbers were kept very busy with burst pipes in England. I'm sure they had radiators in Switzerland though with Gaudenz tending a central boiler.


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 21 Sep 2017, 11:54 
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Mel wrote:
I can remember the days when plumbers were kept very busy with burst pipes in England. I'm sure they had radiators in Switzerland though with Gaudenz tending a central boiler.


Growing up in Yorkshire in the 60s, I well remember 6 foot snow drifts and frozen/burst pipes every winter, including the worst winter I can remember in 1962/3.

On one memorable occasion, we were due to have a joint birthday party for my sister and me (our birthdays are 4 days apart towards the end of January and there are two years between us). On the morning of the party, we woke up to find birthday cards floating in the flooded hall, due to a burst pipe. Of course, we were unable to flush the toilet until it had been repaired. We kids loved chucking buckets of water down the loo - it was all part of the fun for us. But it must have been a nightmare for my parents to have so many extra kids around on a day like that.

The party was on a Saturday, and I'm sure the plumber came as soon as he could, perhaps even on the Sunday, but he was too busy to come the same day.

That was probably not the winter of 62/63, as I remember the big freeze lasting until March and we still had snow on the ground in early April.

Incidentally, we had no central heating (or any heating at all in the bedrooms) when I was growing up. My parents installed it after I left to go to university. In spite of that, I can't remember either my sibilings or I suffering from any serious illnesses (and very few colds/flu), just the usual childhood ones.

I subscribe to the theory that central heating and the modern trend for hygiene has actually decreased people's immunity to diseases.

Perhaps I should add in fairness to my parents, that our house was certainly not dirty or unhygienic, although it did get untidy at times, as there were 4 children living there.

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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 21 Sep 2017, 15:05 
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We were having building work done at our house over the winter just gone, and unfortunately for me, the builders were working on the bathroom area in the coldest bit of the winter. We had exactly one room that could be heated, and did everything in there apart from sleep. I actually DID sleep in there, on the sofa, as the house was properly cold, with cold drafts blowing in under the doors that used to lead into rooms, but now led into the extension. All the hot water had to be turned off, so no heating and no baths either. I got one hot bath per week, when I visited my mum on Saturdays. Not fun, and I was the happiest person for miles around when it was all done :D


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 21 Sep 2017, 17:55 
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Quote:
I remember the big freeze lasting until March and we still had snow on the ground in early April.

That would have been 62-63. Our snowman in the garden lasted until March, just gradually shrinking.

The winter of 46-47 (which I don't remember!) was even worse, as it was even colder, everything was still rationed and there were severe fuel shortages. But my mother says she, living in London at the time, didn't have winter boots or an overcoat. (I suppose she must have had a raincoat or something to wear when she went out.)

We had no heating in our bedroom when I was growing up and we'd wake up to frost on the inside of the windows. We had a burst pipe, too, when I was very young; I can remember seeing the blankets that had got wet hanging out in the garden to dry. The one draped over the clothes horse made a tent of just the right size for me!


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 21 Sep 2017, 19:48 
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JayB wrote:
We had no heating in our bedroom when I was growing up and we'd wake up to frost on the inside of the windows.


I'd forgotten that. Our windows would get lovely frost patterns like fern leaves, and if you held your palm you could melt a little hole to look through.

Though, romantic though it sounds now, I think I'd prefer to have central heating!


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 21 Sep 2017, 19:49 
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No serious illnesses but who remembers the agony of chilblains? Do they still occur?


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 22 Sep 2017, 00:24 
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I remember chilblains. And I didnt live in a house with central heating until 1997 when we installed it in the house we were then living in. I remember frost on the inside of the windows.

I also remember one winter when we were so broke and cold (I think it was around 1976?) that we only had a coal fire on in the front room, and we put all the mattresses downstairs in the front room, and all the bedding we could find, and all slept together, my mother and 5 siblings, by candlelight, for several weeks.

I also remember my grandmother telling me about the 1919 flu epidemic and how so many died, not from the flu, but from secondary infections, as there were no antibiotics in those days. And many died from dehydration as there were no IV fluids available and, if you tried to give water or thin soup, you had to do it a half teaspoonful at a time in case they choked.

Sometimes people died because there was no-one healthy enough for the careful, round-the-clock nursing needed. Its hard to image it these days.

My mother lost her leg in 1951 because of infection, leading to gangrene, and no antibiotics to stave off the infection spreading, as she had an allergic reaction to penicillin and there was no alternative in the hospital.

I can understand, given the time frame for most of the chalet series, why Matey etc were keen to avoid any of the infections like bronchitis that we dont really worry about these days. No antibiotics, no IV fluids, it was a matter of life and death if a cold went wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: EBD's medical knowledge
PostPosted: 22 Sep 2017, 11:40 
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When I was having chemotherapy, I asked the oncologist if I could still use deodorant, or would have to use baby wipes if my underarms got sweaty. The answer was 'Yes, please.' But she also told me that it was possible to be too clean.

Is there ever any answer?

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