A bit of a Life Glitch along the Way.
I had suffered from severe period pains for years. Eventually my doctor said that I should have ‘a scrape’, what a horrible word. I would have to wait a while to have it done in a local hospital or if I wanted it done quickly I could go to The Royal homeopathic hospital in London. I opted to have it done quickly. I could go the next week and Betty drove me there.
I was in a long ward with beds down either side. At the end was a dais where the sister seemed to maintain control of the room. She seemed to be quite a fierce presence and the nurses and patients were half frightened of her. Later I got to know her and privately she was a different person. I was given homeopathic pre op pills and I was off to the operating theatre. I suppose I came to gradually, I can’t remember that bit. Shortly the specialist, whom everybody treated like a god, came round with his entourage. His first words were ‘I’m afraid we have had to perform a hysterectomy’ no explanation or expressions of sympathy. I was 32 and then just out of the blue I could no longer have children. I was stunned and numb. The crazy thing is that in those days you didn’t question things, there was still this attitude of slight servitude ‘they must know best’. I can only assume that they found something sinister or it was much worse than they thought. It did leave me with a grief that has never gone away. You don’t feel like a proper woman if you haven’t had as child.
Below. This is a men’s ward from way back but it looks much closer to the ward I was in than the contemporary wards of today.
Of course it meant that I had to stay in another 7 days. nowadays women seem to go home almost straight away. Fortunately I had decided to make a patchwork hexagonal quilt all in tones of red and pink. I had cut the material and the paper patches and had them in a tin by my bed. The other women started to be interested. One said she was bored and could she do some. Before I knew it almost everyone in the ward joined in, it was like a little factory. The fierce sister made us walk round the ward with a book on our head several times a day, we all moaned but I thanked her afterwards. When we left none of us were stooping.
Whereas previously I was thinking I might meet another man and remarry, I now felt rather defeated. Almost accidentally I was in an environment where I wouldn’t casually meet men.
However I am a fairly positive person and I just got on with what fate had handed me.It is true that it gave me opportunities that I wouldn’t have if I had had children, but the grief still surfaces.
When I got home my room had been redecorated, I still had to be in bed most of the time. Outside my window there was a rookery and I laid in bed watching in fascination as a pair of rooks built a nest from scratch! It wasn’t a very tidy nest but the bird certainly was discriminating about where to put the twig.