I was in Stobhill - ward 42B - with Rheumatic Fever round about 1956/57 and spent 9 weeks there. I don't remember much about the first few weeks - I suppose I slept most of the time - but I do remember the daily penicillin injections and the aspirins in orange juice 4 times a day. Luckily for me, penicillin had become available for the general public, instead of just the armed forces, by that time. The biggest fear with Rheumatic Fever was that it would permanently weaken the heart, so - being a chunky chappie even then - every time my weight went over a certain figure, they would admit me back intae ward 42B for a few weeks and put me on a diet, and check oot ma ticker before they released me back intae the wild.
When I first went into Stobhill, the wards were pretty much as in the photo - long rooms with a row of beds on each side, polished wooden floorboards and a coal burning stove in the centre of the ward. There was also central heating. I remember that because the radiators use to be crawling with an insect they termed "steam flies" - ah still don't know whit their real name wis. Every morning - apart from Sunday - the beds would be pulled out into the centre of the ward and the floors mopped and polished with a pink stuff that looked like blancmange. The fittings and fixtures would also be washed down, and the Matron was often there to see it was done properly. I remember one of the cleaning ladies well - a Mrs Scobie - a wee, dumpy, rosy cheeked wummin and a hard wee grafter. Ah also remember one of the Matrons or Deputy Matrons - she was a Teuchter and a very nice lady, if a wee bit fearsome looking. Kippers were often served at breakfast in thae days, and ah remember me pokin away wi a fork at mine, tryin tae be genteel, when she came up tae me and said, "Use your hands, laddie. If it was good enough for Mary Queen of Scots, it's good enough for you!"
I also remember a nurse Chambers - ah think she was a probationer - she had the most beautiful blonde hair and used tae sing the pop songs of the day tae us.
When I had recovered enough to get up, after about 7 weeks in bed, I had to learn to walk again.
Nae Zimmers in thae days - I had to use the trolley they served the meals from, pushing it in front of me while holding on to the big bar at the end.
I also remember a couple of really sad cases. One was a wee boy in the next bed to me called David - only 4 years old - who was dying from Leukemia. There was really nothing that could be done for him in those days. The other was a mentally retarded boy who had to be restrained in bed and who absolutely terrified me with his grunts and groans. (Ah wis only aboot 8 year auld maself, remember.)
On the whole, ah would say ah quite enjoyed ma stays in 42B, and ah certainly didnae find the nurses horrible - quite the opposite for most of them. When ah was moved tae the convalescent home at Lenzie for a further 3 weeks, that wis a different story.