25 April 2017 | 3 °C

Counting our Blessings

SallyB2
By SallyB2 Last edited 105 months ago
Counting our Blessings
2807.typhoid.jpg

Good times, these be. Hey, we know that it’s hot, the boiler doesn’t work, you’ve got a verruca, you’ve just had your credit card bill in and you need to lose half a stone in the next two weeks to fit into your swimming trunks. But you/we/any of us have really never had it so good.

Just look at health stuff. You wanna go pretty much anywhere in the world – they can inject you against it. You fall ill – well, they’re finding new cures for things every week. Now before you go accusing us of Pollyannaism, let us explain that this sudden outbreak of the Glad Game has been brought on by a reminder of things past.

Just imagine… You’ve been really, really sick with typhoid (Londonist has had the jab, and even that was rough – believe me, you don’t want the real thing) and you’ve made a miraculous recovery. Instead of thanking Him Upstairs and making a fuss of you, those around you have you locked away because you still harbour the disease. And because there are no quarantine wards available, you end up in a lunatic asylum. Banged. Up. For. Life. Now that’s rough. Unfathomably awful. Terrifying.

Thing is, apparently it really happened to around 60 women at Long Grove Hospital in Epsom at the turn of the last century. And because they actually ended up going mad, even when antibiotics became available in the 1950s, they were never treated and released back into the community. Bad times, those were. If you think this sounds too horrific to be true, you can check it out on Newsnight tonight.

So switch the fan on, have a cold shower, bazooka that verruca, shred the credit card bill and then ring them up in three weeks and ask them why you haven’t received it yet. And most importantly, we never liked you in those swimming trunks anyway. Quit grumbling.

Asylum horror from tractor pirate's flickr stream under the Creative Commons Licence.

Last Updated 28 July 2008