Just over 78,000 words drafted and well into Chapter 1951 - the project drives me forward.
Research this week delved into the history of tuberculosis and its treatment in the 1940s and 1950s. As previously noted, Mum spent time working in the TB ward in Heidelberg Repat in 1949, although she didn't present with symptoms until her return to Adelaide in 1951. Initially disguised as a bout of influenza, a Mantu test and x-rays confirmed Mum had TB in the lower lobe of her right lung.
Tuberculosis has a long history stretching back to the earliest human times, found in Egyptian mummies, and reaching near epidemic proportion in the C18th/C19th period when it was described once as 'Captain among these men of death'. A simple summary of its existence is in a ScienceDirect article:
At the time of Mum's illness, standard procedure was to collapse the entire lung (pulmonary collapse) and send the patient to a sanatorium for up to two years rehabilitation. Such a sanatorium was run at Birralee Sanatorium, Belair. However, her doctor opted to do a resection - lobectomy - removal of the lower lobe of her right lung, partly because lobectomies were beginning to have greater rates of success post-war, and the antibiotic Streptomycin, introduced in 1944-6, was proving very effective in treating tuberculosis patients. Recovery from a lobectomy - no pun coming up - cut recovery time in half for patients.
All up, Mum spent four hours in the Repat theatre, a month in Intensive Care Unit, five months in Ward 2 confined to bed, and another four months at St Margaret's Convalescent Home in Semaphore before she returned to light duties as a nurse at the Daw Park Repat.
The plan is to complete this chapter by next weekend...