Denbigh Hospital - David Williams

Denbigh Hospital

You asked me if I had any stories to tell about my time at Denbigh between 1959-62. Responding to this request is not easy for someone who has reached an age when phrases such as “thingummy” and “what’s his name” are increasingly being used to compensate for senior moments. However, I would like to make a contribution by paying tribute to two people who made a significant impact on my professional development. The first person was a patient, and I guess that after 40+ years I will not be breaking the confidentiality code by naming him. He was a wonderful old man whom we affectionately referred to as Taid Peters. Taid, who was blind, cut a striking figure in his hospital issue Victorian nightshirt, sporting a bushy white moustache and wearing a flat cap 24/7. I remember him being quite droll and very quick-witted. During the long day shifts he would regale us with astute comments on life and rich stories from his past. I don’t think he realized it at the time but he made a big impression upon me. In particular, he increased my awareness of the human being beyond the patient role, a lesson that served me well in my subsequent career.

   Still in a reminiscing mode, I have been browsing through the old photographs of PTS groups and they have reminded me of how raw some of us were when we first became students at the hospital. It took me a while to get my head round the fact that in nursing terms SOS did not mean ‘Save our souls’ and pc ‘police constable’. Fortunately, Norman Hughes, ever the consummate professional, soon knocked us into shape and tutored us to personal achievements that some of us had not thought possible. Ignorance, such as that shown by myself, made one easy prey to the resident pranksters (See Delwyn Evans’ guestbook entry on 29 June 07). In my second week at the hospital I was asked to trawl the female side for spare Fallopian tubes. Needless to say, I returned empty handed with the message that all the available Fallopian tubes were in use. There was always one sucker who would fall for this old chestnut of a joke.

  

David Williams