By Pam Fowler
I have many memories of Southmead Hospital, my first was when I was admitted to have my tonsils out. This was in July 1947. I was 11 years old. I was put to bed in a prefabricated building which later became John Milton Ward. There were several other children who were also having tonsil operations, we were wheeled to the main building and upstairs in the lift to the operating theatres. I remember being asked to count down from 10 when given the anaesthetic and the next thing I knew was being in recovery with other children who were moaning, I probably was too.
The porter was a cheery chappy who said, “come on, the first to sing gets two shillings!” which was a lot of money. Needless to say, I gave a very woozy rendition of “she’s too fat for me”, and I got my two shillings!
Back on the ward the nurses were running around with buckets (zinc ones then, no plastic!) as it was pouring with rain and it was coming through the leaky roof. Nobody could eat anything apart from Walls’ ice- cream, delicious!
I went on to have my first and my third child at Southmead (the second was born at home). My first was born on K Ward in 1956, one of the last births there as they had opened the new maternity wing separate from the main hospital. Only Dads were allowed in, and as my Mum and Dad were desperate to see my son they came up at feeding time and I held him up to the window, my Mum cried.
I went on to work at the hospital four separate times, at one time my Mother, my Sister, and I all worked there together. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, especially working on E Ward for two years with Mr Ricketts the Staff Nurse. I was an orderly but you had to put your hand to lots of other duties as Mr Ricketts was a hard task master but I was very fond of him – firm but fair!